Building Connections and Deploying Networks: Remembering Tadao Takahashi
On April 6, 2022, Tadao Takahashi, 2017 Internet Hall of Fame inductee and one of the most important figures in the creation of the Brazilian Internet, passed away in his home city of Campinas, Brazil. Takahashi was instrumental in the earliest planning and deployment of the Internet in Brazil and for more than three decades he dedicated his life to furthering Internet access in the country and beyond.
Takahashi was the founder of the National Education and Research Network (RNP) and the first director of the Brazilian academic network. He was a key player in the 1995 creation of the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br), an organization that continues to advocate for the coordination and integration of Internet service initiatives in Brazil. In 1998, he founded the Brazilian chapter of the Internet Society.
A true collaborator, Takahashi noted in his 2017 Internet Hall of Fame acceptance speech, “There are more than three hundred people who I could recall individually and with whom I worked with for ten to twelve years deploying the Brazilian Internet.” Through his work he fostered international relationships and inspired countless emerging professionals along the way.
The executive board of RNP reflects, “Tadao was the creator of the then CNPq research project that brought together government, academia and companies in the construction of the Internet in Brazil. He led this enormous challenge with energy and great success, thanks to his great capacity for strategic planning, institutional articulation, creativity, perseverance, and intelligence.”
In 2017, Takahashi shared these words of advice with the Internet Hall of Fame for future generations, “Dream on. Do not be afraid of going against the dominant way things are, and remember to strive. It takes time. In order for you to be successful with huge systems implementation, you need a breakthrough, and you cannot plan a breakthrough. So, you do what you think you have to do, you get connected with your allies, and just hope that somehow that the tipping point will be achieved. That was basically what we were able to do. It took many years.”
As we mourn his loss, our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends, and colleagues, whom we join in honoring him for his vision for the future and his commitment to promoting more equitable access to the Internet.