Dorothy K. Gordon Joins the Linux Professional Institute (LPI) Board of Directors
I am very happy to introduce Ms. Dorothy K. Gordon as the latest Board Director for the Linux Professional Institute.
Born in Ghana, Dorothy also spent much of her early life in the United Kingdom and Nigeria. She is fluent in English and French, and is currently studying Spanish and Russian.
Dorothy has extensive experience with various organisations within the United Nations since 1987.
From 2003 to 2016 Dorothy was the founding director-general of the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT (AITI), located in Accra, Ghana. Over a little more than 12 years, she built a record of progressive achievement and advancement to establish and strategically position AITI as a Centre of Excellence in ICT with a global reputation and strong leadership within Africa on technology for development issues.
She moved the center from total dependence on government funding to financial sustainability through consistent growth and an expansion of activity in areas of training, consulting, community engagement, and advisory services with thousands of organisations and individuals benifitted from the work of the Centre over the years of her tenure. The Centre was run exclusively on Open Source technologies.
I first met Dorothy in 2008 when she invited me to IDLELO in Senegal, a meeting produced by the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA), a group in which she played an active role.
In August of 2009 I was invited to an IT development conference (WITFOR) held in Hanoi, Vietnam. This was not my first time to Hanoi (the first was in 1995 and the second in 2005), but I was able to be active in the conference due to Dorothy's invitation to attend. I showed the conference how to make live and installable special distributions on DVDs and USB flash drives.
I also learned to enjoy “Fresh Beer”, unique to Hanoi, while attending the conference.
At Dorothy’s invitation, I attended another IDLELO conference in Accra in 2010. I brought copies of Linux Pro Magazine, a book called “Internet Blackout” (a Hackerteen book written by my friend Marcelo Marques and donated by O'Reilly), and about 160 Hackerteen T-shirts of different sizes to give away to the attendees. The latter caused a lot of consternation getting through customs since I had no documentation on the cost of the shirts (they were given to me) or the price of the shirts (I was giving them away). We finally determined that the proper customs duty was one large T-shirt for the customs inspector and three more T-shirts in small and medium sizes for her children.
The conference was a great success, and I was impressed with what Dorothy was doing with the Centre of Excellence in ICT.
Dorothy had also brought in several other International speakers, including a gentleman from Thailand who was setting up Internet infrastructure in Thailand. I learned a lot from John over “beer talk” and we exchanged stories about Free and Open Source Software, “telecenters,” and “small industry”.
It was also the trip that I traveled to “Cape Coast Castle” on the coast of Ghana and learned about its infamous part in the slave trade, a visit I will never, ever forget.
I had one more customs issue with that trip. Red Hat had sent 500 DVDs with Fedora on it, and had marked them as worth 500 US dollars, which generated a 250 USD customs duty. I went to the Post Office and managed to convince them that 400 DVDs (100 had “disappeared”) were really worth about five cents each and had “free software” on them, so the 400 remaining were worth about 20 USD. I personally paid the 5 USD in customs duties.
Dorothy was impressed with my negotiating skills.
During her distinguished career, Dorothy has provided strategic and operational leadership to diverse consulting teams for major consulting assignments, including disaster preparedness and post-crisis training for specialized teams in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). She gave support to e-government initiatives in health, education, agriculture and public service reform, and provided training on open source solutions for development as a tool for growth and business creation in Sub-Saharan Africa.
She has continued to focus on these topics while she demonstrated technology leadership through the introduction of emerging technologies and related new training products and methodologies, including high performance computing (HPC); cognitive computing; data analytics and Big Data; 3D printing; IPv6 labs; mobile application innovation; cloud solutions; financial technology ; cybersecurity; and strategic use of licensing regimes including Creative Commons and the GPL.
Dorothy formulated strong partnerships in development with leading global IT companies such as Google, IBM, Oracle, and several major companies in Ghana, as well as the start-up community. She has received multiple awards for her work from civic groups.
AITI is a model for best practices for India's IT diplomacy and South-South cooperation. The Centre has inspired the establishment of many similar Centres globally.
Dorothy is on the Advisory council of Creative Commons Global and continues to support FOSSFA. She has degrees from the University of Ghana and the University of Sussex - Institute of Development Studies.
Dorothy continues to be one of my main linkages with the continent of Africa, and I am happy and proud to have her on the Board of Directors.