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Progress towards Croatian Reconstruction Continues

In celebration of our 25th anniversary, WiRED is pleased to bring you stories from our archives. These articles provide a glimpse of WiRED’s early work as they depict the places and the projects we have focused on over the years.

In its earliest years, WiRED chose a partnership model as a way to advance our international projects. This story describes our return to Vukovar, where we completed our first project in 1997. This time we set up a larger, more accessible facility, opening the Internet to the entire population and offering special programs for students from grammar school to the college level. We partnered with the Institute for Peace Education and Research, which was Affiliated with the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution. We continued our partnership with the Medtronic Foundation, which provided not only funding but material program support.

From July 27, 2002

Progress towards Croatian Reconstruction Continues

Medtronic Foundation funds new Community Health Information Center
By Brian Jacobson

Vukovar, Croatia, July 27, 2002 – Vukovar, Croatia has taken another step in the reconstruction of their war-torn community with the dedication of a new Community Health Information Center. The Center, developed by World Internet Resources for Education and Development (WiRED) and funded by Medtronic Foundation will focus on daily life-style issues such as diet, nutrition and smoking-cessation.

At the dedication ceremony on July 27, 2002, Dr. Gary Selnow, WiRED Executive Director, noted, “In 1997 when we established the first WiRED Community Information Center in Vukovar we were concerned with creating information and communication tools to construct peace and stability after a devastating war in the region. Today we acknowledge the peace and stability that has been achieved and dedicate our new Center to nurturing the health and long life of the citizens of Vukovar.”

The Center aims to improve health information and education in the community through programs on CD-ROMs and online resources for health-care professionals, patients and concerned members of the public. The programs will focus on key health issues faced by the people in the area.

In recognition of the prevalence of heart disease in the region, a series of programs will emphasize the importance of prevention and offer methods to improve diet and exercise routines.

As part of the stop smoking campaign, WiRED is working with local schools to promote an anti-smoking message. Students from the schools will be invited to use the Center to explore interactive CD-ROMs detailing the detrimental affects of smoking.

In addition to the health information, the ten computer terminals will bring much-needed technological resources to the region. The Center will be open for free access to University of Osijek students, school children, local community leaders, and members of the public.

The new Community Health Information Center is located at the Vukovar Institute for Peace Education and Research (VIMIO). VIMIO is a non-governmental, non-profit, and non-partisan humanitarian organization. It is an initiative of the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR) within a long-term project called Rebuilding the Multi-ethnic Society in Croatia. VIMIO’s mission is to contribute to a long-term process of reconciliation, renewal of confidence and extension on inter-ethnic tolerance in Croatia, particularly in the Croatian Danube region.

Medtronic Foundation is committed to helping people live healthy and productive lives. Visit Medtronic foundation online at: www.medtronic.com/foundation.

Several years ago, WiRED’s Executive Director, Dr. Gary Selnow, wrote a series of essays presenting some of our history. The following piece looks at WiRED’s start in Vukovar, Croatia, in 1997.

WiRED International’s Beginning

BY WIRED DIRECTOR GARY SELNOW, PH.D.

The road from Vukovar

Two computer technicians and I rode in a small van headed down a dark rutted road in far eastern Croatia. We had worked a long day in the war-damaged school in Vukovar, a town disfigured and dispirited by conflict sitting on the edge of the Danube River. We were exhausted, hungry and drained of emotion, eager to reach the next town, 30 miles away, to get a sandwich and a few hours of sleep before returning to our work at the school. There were no hotels in Vukovar; they were long gone.

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