George Mason University and UN Volunteers establish first student initiative to bridge digital divide
FAIRFAX, VA, USA/BONN, Germany, 13 Feb. 2001-- George Mason University and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) late Monday signed an agreement establishing the university as the first institution of higher learning in the world to form a volunteer-sending partnership with the United Nations Information Technology Service (UNITeS).
Initiated last spring by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, UNITeS is designed to help bridge the growing digital divide between the industrialized and developing world. UNV has been designated as the lead coordinating agency for UNITeS.
Under the agreement signed at the Fairfax campus by University President Alan G. Merten and UNV Executive Coordinator Sharon Capeling-Alakija, George Mason will select graduate-level student volunteers to help developing nations strengthen their capacities by applying information and communications technologies to human development projects.
"We are thrilled that George Mason students will add their communicative energies to the global UNITeS effort in developing countries," said UNV Executive Coordinator Sharon Capeling-Alakija. " The United Nations has 189 member states and George Mason students come from more than 120 countries. You couldn't fine a better match, nor a better time -- the International Year of Volunteers 2001.
" The student volunteers will represent a range of academic disciplines, including conflict resolution, information technology, biotechnology and public policy.This summer, George Mason students will take up assignments selected by UNITeS for the pilot phase. Students will work for two months in the selected nation and earn college credit while gaining practical work experience and technical skills. "George Mason University is very pleased and proud to be associated with this unique project and with the United Nations in a way that will bring needed assistance to many developing nations as well as broaden the education of our students," said Merten.
George Mason and UNV are studying plans to have student volunteers return to the same project several times until completed and establish long-term, independent projects for the 2001-2002 academic year. In particular, George Mason's graduate school of education, school of management and college of nursing and health sciences plan to encourage students to participate in specific UNITeS projects related to their fields of study.
|About UNITeS - Projects - Resource Center - News - Links|
|FAQs - ICT Success Stories - Sitemap - Home|