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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 26, 2003


U. S. Global Technology Corps Brings IT to Iraqi Medical Students

The Department of State's U. S. Global Technology Corps (USGTC) - a program administered by the Bureau of International Information Programs, Office of Technology Partnerships - is providing computer technology and training to medical students in Baghdad, Iraq as part of a joint public diplomacy initiative with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

On June 24, 2003, USGTC partner WiRED International (World Internet Resources for Education and Development) inaugurated a ten workstation computer center with a 130 disk CD-ROM health education library at the Medical City Center of the University of Baghdad, the largest teaching hospital in Iraq. Dr. Gary Selnow, executive director of WiRED International and a former Fulbright professor, presided at the opening ceremony joined by James K. Haveman, the Coalition Provisional Authority's Senior Adviser to the Ministry of Health, and Dr. Saeb Saddiq, Director General of Medical City Center.

Dr. Selnow, also a professor of communication in the College of Business at San Francisco State University, noted in his remarks that "[this] first-of-a-kind center will give Iraqi physicians the information they need to catch up with medical developments after more than a decade of isolation." Despite periodic power outages during the ceremony, more than seventy doctors, nurses and students packed the new medical information center and flocked to the workstations following the formal opening.

Three similar medical information centers will be established this week at two other teaching hospitals in Baghdad, and at the Spinal Cord Center, a specialty clinic for severe neurological injuries. CD libraries of current health education materials will provide the initial content for the centers, in anticipation of Internet access as the infrastructure to support it comes on line.

The USGTC partners from WiRED International are in Iraq this week under the auspices of the Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, and the Office of the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. This innovative public diplomacy collaboration supports U.S. government efforts to rebuild critical infrastructure in Iraq and reach key audiences, including the medical community.

The U.S. Global Technology Corps sends U.S. citizen volunteers overseas to further the Department of State's strategic goals by introducing, implementing and fostering information and communications technology in technologically challenged environments. For additional information on the Iraq Medical Information Centers project or the U.S. Global Technology Corps, please visit the USGTC website (www.globaltechcorps.org ) or contact:

Pen Agnew
IIP/T/TP
U.S. Global Technology Corps
pagnew@pd.state.gov
202-619-4758

OR

Mary Thomas
PA/RMO
Office of Regional Media Outreach
thomasmc2@state.gov
202-647-0001



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