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.
For a second time, WiRED collaborated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFTs) on a computer project to assist educators who, because of war, were isolated from colleagues outside the country. Our first project was in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and this second AFT project was in Baghdad, Iraq. With AFT support, we set up a computer training facility where officials at the Iraqi Teacher’s Union could learn computer basics, then instruct teachers in and around Baghdad how to operate computers and the Internet.
Our work in Iraq, as elsewhere, generally concentrated on medical education, but we would occasionally engage in other projects to help people in conflict regions learn computer basics and link to families and colleagues outside the country. The following story describes a small but important project designed to help rebuild Iraq’s education system.
From June 2005
WiRED International Partnered with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to Provide the Iraqi Teachers Union (ITU) with Computer Equipment and Ongoing Training for ITU Officials
WiRED recently expanded its partnership with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) (www.aft.org) in June 2005 by launching a new computer lab in Iraq. Through this partnership, WiRED outfitted the Iraqi Teacher’s Union (ITU) with computer equipment and is now providing a complete training course for ITU officials.
The training will be ongoing, and will teach ITU officials how to use and integrate information technology into their organizational structures. Next, WiRED and the AFT are discussing a more extensive program of WiRED-directed workshops to train teachers on information technology.
Although this project is beyond the usual scope of WiRED’s programs, it fulfills WiRED’s mission to apply information technology to community development, healthcare and education in developing and post-conflict regions. WiRED was in a position to help facilitate the installation of this new Center for the AFT. Promoting education is a principal way that WiRED can positively impact the lives of the Iraqi people by providing teachers with vital computer skills.
WiRED has worked with the AFT in Sierre Leone since 2003, when the two organizations installed a computer training lab in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Secondary School in Freetown. WiRED hopes to expand the partnership further by working with the AFT on a nursing training program in Iraq. The AFT currently facilitates programs to train nurses in the U.S.
Several years ago, WiRED’s Executive Director, Dr. Gary Selnow, wrote a series of essays presenting some of our history. The following piece is one of several chapters that looks at WiRED’s work in Iraq.
WiRED’s Work in Iraq: Part #2
BY WIRED DIRECTOR GARY SELNOW, PH.D.
This chapter on WiRED’s work in Iraq begins in Kosovo, where I first met Che Pangborn, an American computer expert with a remarkably sunny disposition. Che configured the video software that enabled ailing children who were being treated at a hospital in Pisa, Italy, to communicate with their parents back home in Pristina, Kosovo. Then, Che worked with us in Kenya, to train our staff how to network computers. Now, Che figures prominently in our Medical Health Information Center (MIC) program in Iraq, where this story picks up. [Read the first installment of WiRED’s work in Iraq here.]