January 27, 2011

One laptop per child in Karabakh


The Prime Minister of the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh, Mr. Ara Harutyunyan and Mr. Eduardo Eurnekian, an internationally recognized Argentinean-Armenian businessman signed a memorandum of understanding, launching the implementation of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program in Nagorno Karabagh (NKR).

OLPC is an educational program developed at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in Boston, Massachusetts. OLPC develops state of the art laptop computers, which are equipped with advanced educational software for students in developing countries.

The program is aimed at providing laptop computers to elementary schools in Karabakh and connecting them to the Internet through wireless networks to be installed in their facilities.

The Government of NKR has welcomed Mr. Eurnekian’s initiative with great excitement and incorporated the OLPC program in its educational system. The Government has also committed to make telecommunications interconnection available in all schools, in order to enhance the educational impact of the OLPC program.

Mr. Eurnekian has asked the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) to assist in the implementation of the project. AGBU, the biggest non-profit Armenian organization of the world, have undertaken the responsibility of providing the necessary on-the-ground support to ensure the success of the OLPC project.

“The world community sees Nagorno Karabagh within the context of war and regional conflict. People fail to take note of the children who are born and live there. These children are entitled to the universal right of education and access to information” said Mr. Eurnekian. “Through OLPC, I intend to bridge the gap and give the children of NKR the opportunity to receive the best education the world has to offer” Mr. Eurnekian continued.

After signing the Memorandum of Understanding, Mr. Ara Harutyunyan, Prime Minister of NKR declared that the education of its school age children is a priority for the Government and a significant part of the State’s resources is directed towards building and renovating schools.

“The people of NKR thank Mr. Eurnekian for introducing and financing a powerful educational tool to the school system” stated Mr. Harutyunyan. “This is a capital investment in our future and its positive impact will be enjoyed in the decades to come” Mr. Harutyunyan continued.

During his meeting with Mr. Harutyuanyan before signing the Memorandum of Understanding, Mr. Eurnekian emphasized that it is the obligation of the world community to make sure that all children in the world have access to education and information. He further emphasized that Armenians around the world, individually or through organizations, must contribute to the cause of educating the future generations of the nation. “Today, I intend to plant the seeds of an international effort to integrate the children of NKR in the world community. They deserve receiving proper education and access to the world of information,” stated Mr. Eurnekian.

At the conclusion of his meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr. Eurnekian agreed to support several other development programs in NKR, including providing financing to small farms, making modern agricultural equipment available to farming enterprises, helping develop bioenergy resources and enhancing the meat and dairy production in the territory.

Before leaving the signing ceremony, Mr. Harutyunyan stated “I am certain, that today, we laid the foundation for a long term cooperation between Mr. Eurnekian and the Government of NKR, which will evolve over time to incorporate our compatriots in the Diaspora and Armenia in the effort to provide a dignified life to the citizens of NKR, young and old.”

Mr. Eurnekian, in his turn, stated “ The children of NKR deserve what I am trying to extend to them. I thank the AGBU for accepting my invitation to join the project. I hope that together, we will be able to achieve success in NKR and expand the project to Armenia with the support of the organization’s global network”.