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Joaquin Alavardo speaks into a microphone while Mayor Gavin Newsom and the members of his digital media advisory council stand in the background listening.Connected With the Community

As the founding director of SFSU's Institute for Next Generation Internet, Joaquin Alvarado keeps a careful eye on the future of high-speed networks and runs at a pretty fast pace himself. His days are packed with meetings with educational leaders, technology execs and government officials.

During the past year his work has brought the University powerful allies in its efforts to use emerging computer technology to improve education, employment opportunities and economic development throughout the Bay Area.

"We've helped affect the conversation locally and internationally around priorities with the next-generation Internet, and broker a diverse range of stakeholders -- something we didn't have the chance to do with the first Internet," Alvarado says.

One key partner is San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and his Digital Media Advisory Council (DMAC). Similar in design to the Biotech Advisory Council, which helped bring the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to the city, DMAC is working to support and grow digital media business in the Bay Area. The University's Institute for Next Generation Internet is a charter member.

Jeff Fino, cofounder of Bay Area animation studio Wildbrain and chair of DMAC, says that SFSU's participation has been key to the council's initial progress. "Joaquin is a very positive guy with an uncanny knack for bringing people together from disparate backgrounds. He's able to cut through a lot of bureaucracy and create consensus."

Last year, the University joined forces with DMAC to launch the Digital Sister Cities Initiative. The initiative has since brought representatives from Canada, Ireland, India, Macedonia, Mexico, Singapore and France into the Bay Area discussion of the future of collaboration using high-speed networks.

-- Adrianne Bee

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