YEREVAN—On Jan. 26, the prime minister of the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh, Ara Harutyunyan, and world-renowned Argentinean-Armenian entrepreneur Eduardo Eurnekian signed a memorandum of understanding that launched the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program in Karabagh.
The innovative technology program aims to provide laptop computers to elementary schools throughout Karabagh and 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 Karabagh.
OLPC is an educational program first developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass., which equips laptop computers with educational software for students in developing countries. The program will connect students to the internet through wireless networks that will be installed in all of Karabagh’s elementary schools.
“The world community sees Karabagh 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 Karabagh the opportunity to receive the best education the world has to offer.”
Eurnekian asked the 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 Karabagh 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 Karabagh authorities have committed to making telecommunications interconnectivity available in all schools in order to enhance the educational impact of the OLPC program.
During the Jan. 26 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 Karabagh 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 Karabagh and later expand the project to Armenia with the support of the organization’s global network,” Eurnekian said.
For more information about the AGBU and its worldwide programs, visit www.agbu.org.