Watch a Video Report from Shant TV about the OLPC project HERE (2:19)
Yerevan – On January 26, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, Ara Harutyunyan, and the world-renowned Argentinean-Armenian entrepreneur Eduardo Eurnekian signed a memorandum of understanding which launched the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program in Karabakh, which aims to provide laptop computers to elementary schools throughout Karabakh. The innovative technology program will be implemented by Eurnekian in partnership with the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU), the world’s largest nonprofit Armenian organization, and the government of Karabakh.
OLPC is an educational program first developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which equips laptop computers with educational software for students in developing countries. The program will connect students to the Internet through wireless networks, known as Wi-Fi, which will be installed in all of Karabakh’s elementary schools.
“The world community sees Karabakh only 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 rights of education and access to information,” said Eurnekian. “Through OLPC, I intend to bridge the gap and give the children of Karabakh the opportunity to receive the best education the world has to offer.”
Eurnekian has asked AGBU to assist in the execution of the project, and the New York-based nonprofit has undertaken the responsibility of providing the necessary on-the-ground support to ensure the success of OLPC.
“We are here to bring our experience in education and innovative technology to make this program complete. Together with Mr. Eurnekian, we will bring this program to fruition,” said AGBU Central Board of Directors member Yervant Zorian. In addition to being a member of AGBU’s governing body, Zorian is a Silicon Valley-based executive in the hi-tech industry with extensive experience in online education, including the chairmanship of AGBU’s Armenian Virtual College.
The government of Karabakh has embraced Eurnekian’s initiative with great excitement and is working to incorporate the OLPC program into its educational system. As part of the arrangement, the Karabakh authorities have committed to making telecommunications interconnectivity available in all schools in order to enhance the educational impact of the OLPC program.
During the ceremony in Armenia, Eurnekian emphasized the obligation of the world community to make sure that all children have access to high-quality education and information. He further emphasized that Armenians around the world, whether individually or through organizations, must contribute to the education of future generations of Armenians.
“Today, I intend to plant the seeds of an international effort to integrate the children of Karabakh into the world community. I thank the AGBU for accepting my invitation to join the project. I hope that together we will be able to achieve success in Karabakh and later expand the project to Armenia with the support of the organization’s global network,” Eurnekian said.
Established in 1906, AGBU (www.agbu.org) is the world's largest non-profit Armenian organization. Headquartered in New York City, AGBU preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, annually touching the lives of some 500,000 Armenians around the world.
For more information about AGBU and its worldwide programs, please visit www.agbu.org