The Bridging Nations Foundation is an extension of Dr. Prakash Ambegaonkar’s successful entrepreneurial past. Dr. Ambegaonkar’s first entrepreneurial venture, Frontier Technologies, developed a computer hardware product that was used in every IBM computer. Shortly afterwards, he helped establish the TCP/IP protocol, which was used, along with his recently developed hardware, by the United States Air Force as a part of their network solution. Not long afterwards, Dr. Ambegaonkar developed the company Elock, which established the secure digital signature technology still used today. Elock solutions was used by former U.S. President Bill Clinton to sign the US E-Sign Act in 2000, which allowed digital electronic signatures to hold the same legal weight as paper signatures. Dr. Ambegaonkar then moved on to develop the College of Energy, Environment, and Sustainability, an online degree program established long before the establishment of MOOCs. Around this time, Dr. Ambegaonkar foresaw that one of the greatest challenges of the internet would be data accessibility. He established Cybersearch, a web search engine born before Google, that was the second licensee of Lycos search engine technology.
It wasn’t until 2000 that Dr. Ambegaonkar established the Bridging Nations Foundation, but he has had a lifelong passion for higher education. He founded his first community foundation, Jagruti, while living in Wisconsin. Jagruti focused on the needs of women and children through Project MAHER. It was later renamed the Gauri Ambegaonkar Foundation, after his daughter. The organization focused on family values and local causes, and was instrumental in the foundation of a center and anchor for the local Indian community.
After moving to Washington D.C., Dr. P founded the Bridging Nations Foundation. The Foundation’s original focus was to function as a workshop and retreat co-organized with the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, entitled “Bridging India-Pakistan.” Eventually, the Foundation expanded into a broader goal of Indo-China peace and relations for a more prosperous Asia. The Foundation was involved with a number of projects related to these goals. In 2010, the founder, Dr. Ambegaonkar, founded the India-China Center in Pune, India, in order to further his plans for the future regarding Indo-Chinese initiatives, including academic exchange and Mandarin language programs in India. The founding ceremony was attended by a number of luminaries in Indian and Chinese business and politics, including Mr. Zhang Yan, the Chinese ambassador to India, who called the new Center’s role “instrumental and invaluable” for “promoting a better understanding between [India and China].” As an autonomous subsidiary of the Bridging Nations Foundation, the India-China Center is a key asset for the Foundation in terms of aims, motivation, and future expansion.
The latest initiative, E2E, is representative of Dr. Ambegaonkar’s current focus on building employment to education bridges. From 2010 onward the organization’s focus has revolved around bridging the skills gap in the workforce and enabling shared prosperity in the world. The Bridging Nations Foundation has recently hosted events on topics in IT, healthcare, and the emerging workforce and plans to continue its outreach to the community in the coming years.