Science and Arts Foundation news (December-January)
1. Bam IT Center
On December 26, 2003, an earthquake devastated Iran's city of Bam. The magnitude of the earthquake necessitates a response pattern that includes the capacities of the Iranian government as well as the country's NGO community to work alongside international organizations. SAF Iran has also decided to contribute to this enormous task by addressing the short and medium-term needs of Bam's educational sector. Using a concept that is known to SAF, i.e. through the establishment of an IT Center in Bam (http://bam.itcenter.ir), SAF Iran intends to mobilize local and international funds and resources to respond to the needs of schools, teachers and students. The planned approach includes a short-term pattern of response, mainly tailor-made to the immediate relief and rehabilitation needs of the educational sector, as well as a medium to long-term pattern of offering ICT courses and initiatives to Bam's schools and general population. Immediate rehabilitation programs will be conducted in collaboration with expert individuals and/or organizations and will focus on initiatives and courses that will be supported by IT or technology content, such as producing a website on trauma and an educational CD on rehabilitation programs. Beyond the initial phase, which will be designed to respond to the city's immediate needs, the Bam IT Center will provide ICT hardware, software and training to Bam's schools and educational institutions. Furthermore, the center will promote SchoolNet (www.schoolnet.ir) programs among all the city's re-emerging schools. This project will rely heavily on financial support from domestic and international sponsors as well as on SAF's collaboration with entities and individuals that have the expertise in rehabilitation programs for crisis-stricken communities.
2. The 6th Annual SchoolNet Conference a Great Success
The 6th Annual SchoolNet Conference successfully took place at Tehran's Shohadaye Karegar High School on December 18, 2003. Over 470 students, teachers and school administrators representing all of Iran's provinces were in attendance. During this one day seminar, 60 academic articles by students regarding various projects were presented. These presentations were chosen from the over 200 articles from 20 schools representing 15 provinces that were submitted. The goals of these projects were to both generate interest in academic research as well as to motivate students to work in collaboration with each other. The opening ceremony of this event consisted of speeches by directors of the Science and Arts Foundation, representatives from the department of education and specialists in the field of education and technology. Workshops regarding SAF's Biotechnology e-club, iEARN and Robotics e-club highlighted this event. At these workshops, students and teachers had the opportunity to learn more about the activities and opportunities available to them in the fields of biotechnology, international collaborative projects and robotics. To learn more about the day's programs, please visit www.schoolnet.ir/~shohada/.
3. SAF Attends WSIS 2003
Three representatives from the Science and Arts Foundation traveled to Geneva, Switzerland to attend the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society held from December 10-12. WSIS is an initiative of the United Nations and the ITU. During this 3 day event, SAF members met with various representatives of international organizations, private businesses and non- governmental organizations and made positive contacts for future collaboration. In addition, SAF contributed to the World Bank's exhibition through displays and conducted a presentation entitled "Bridging the Digital Gap: A Model" which described the activities of the Science and Arts Foundation. On the final day of the summit, SAF members participated in the United Nations School Networks Alliance Conference where Dr. Tabesh, SAF's Director in Iran, spoke as part of a panel on "Educational content and resources for building cross-cultural understanding and raising awareness of global issues."
4.SAF Launches the Mohebbi Blind Institute's Computer Center
The Science and Arts Foundation, working in collaboration with the Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation, has opened its fifth computer training center for the visually impaired at the Mohebbi Institute for the Blind. The Mohebbi School is one of the largest schools for the visually impaired in Iran and serves over 230 students from across the nation. This fully furnished computer site boasts of 7 computer stations, including a server station, a scanner and a Braille printer. SAF has also provided the school with computer training courses for both students and teachers. The opening of this center took place on November 30, 2003 and was broadcast live at the SAF UK fundraising event. Students, parents, teachers and administrators attended the opening ceremony along with officials from both the Science and Arts Foundation and the Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation. Events at the opening included musical performances by Mohebbi students. To view pictures and learn more about SAF programs for the visually impaired please visit http://vip.saf.ir.
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