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New at Sabre

(Last website update: November 1, 2012)

Indonesia Program, 2005-2010
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Trip to Kenya, February 2011
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Visit to Kurdistan, Iraq, January 2011
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Sharing a Wealth of Books and Knowledge with the World: Testimonials from MIT grad students volunteering at the Sabre Foundation warehouse in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
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Sabre Foundation’s 40th Anniversary Celebration, Friday October 23, 2009, at the Four Seasons, Boston, Massachusetts.
Download Dinner Program here.

Summary of Sabre Foundation's Work with Iraqi University Libraries, the Iraq National Library and Archive, and Other Educational Institutions
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Assessment Visit to Liberia, March 21 – 30, 2009.
Download slidehow here (.pdf 14MB)

Sabre-Svitlo presentation of a special collection to the National Library for Children, Kyiv, Ukraine
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Sierra Leone Book Trust Report
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Rule of Law Project with the Dhi Qar Provincial Reconstruction Team, Iraq
Details here.

Sabre works with Vancouver-based CNIS (Canadian Network for International Surgery): shipment to Tanzania
Details here.

Book Presentation Ceremony in Jakarta with the First Lady of Indonesia, Hj. Ani
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Video of Palestine Program
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Sabre's Africa Milestone: $100 Million in New Books and Educational Materials Donated

See full story.

Sabre Foundation and Shipments to Arab/Muslim Countries

Between 2001 and 2007 Sabre Foundation sent more than 530,000 new books and CD-ROMs—with a fair market value of over $19 million—to Arab and/or Muslim countries. See full Story
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"Strengthening Library Collections at University and Other Libraries in Iraq," a presentation by Executive Director Tania Vitvitsky at the Society for International Development (SID), SID-Washington, Development Information Workgroup, November 14, 2007.
Download here
(Powerpoint slideshow 4.5 MB)
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Executive Director Tania Vitvitsky Interviewed by Kate Brosnan of Plum TV (Nantucket)

Click here for interview in 13 minute documentary about Sabre.

Sabre Foundation is not a grant-making foundation.
The Foundation relies on external sources of funding to underwrite its programs.


Sabre's final book shipment left our warehouse in December 2012. After an orderly shut down of the Book Program the Board has since decided on the complete closure of the organization. Thank you to all those who provided support over our many years.

After more than a quarter of a century of supporting education around the world, Sabre Foundation’s Book Donation Program is coming to an end. Since 1986, Sabre has helped to fill the need for high quality, up-to-date educational materials in developing countries and countries in transition throughout the world, with more than 80 countries benefitting from this work. By year’s end, Sabre will have shipped well over ten million new books with a fair market value of almost $350 million.

Those are big numbers, but Sabre’s focus over the years always has been on quality rather than quantity. Since its inception, the book program has been renowned for two key operating principles: accepting only useful and appropriate materials from donating publishers, and making those materials available for order - title by title - by overseas partner organizations. These partner organizations coordinated their work with a network of beneficiaries, including schools, universities, libraries, and hospitals. Aside from the obvious academic, educational, and professional benefits derived from the books that Sabre shipped, access to them has also had the effect of assisting with democratization, strengthening market economies, fostering civil society and reinforcing the rule of law in a range of countries. Particular attention was given to those emerging from conflict, such as Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Rwanda, and Iraq.

While Sabre's partner organizations have been key to the success of the program, an equally important role has been played by the more than 200 publishing companies that donated the educational materials in the first place. A recent op-ed piece in the New York Times noted that,

Last week, Education Secretary Arne Duncan declared a war on paper textbooks. “Over the next few years,” he said in a speech at the National Press Club, “textbooks should be obsolete.” In their place would come a variety of digital-learning technologies, like e-readers and multimedia Web sites.

Such technologies certainly have their place. But Secretary Duncan is threatening to light a bonfire to a tried-and-true technology — good old paper — that has been the foundation for one of the great educational systems on the planet. [New York Times Opinion Pages, 10/09/12]

The author of the piece, Professor Justin B. Hollander of Tufts University, goes on to say that,

Paper textbooks can be stored and easily referenced on a shelf. Data are as easy to retrieve from paper as reaching across your desk for a textbook. They are easy to read and don't require a battery or plug. Though the iPad and e-readers have increasingly better screen clarity, the idea that every time a person reads a book, newspaper or magazine in the near future they will require an energy source is frightening.

Professor Hollander is, of course, writing primarily for a U.S. audience but his words will ring doubly true for many of the recipients of Sabre materials - both institutional and individual - around the developing world. Sabre Foundation's board and staff are justly proud of the contribution they have made to education throughout these regions, in the form of “a tried-and-true technology”. As the digital revolution moves ahead, the goal for those tasked with carrying support of this nature forward must be to ensure that these countries are not left behind.

Although Sabre itself will continue to exist, we offer grateful thanks to the funders, donors, participating publishers, collaborating organizations, partners, volunteers and supporters who have helped our book program to thrive over the last twenty-six years.

Humanitarian Aid for the Mind

Sabre's work is governed by its Book Donation Philosophy:

Sabre Foundation's Book Donation Program is valued overseas because of Sabre's steadfast adherence to the policy that when it comes to the educational needs of developing and transitional countries, indigenous organizations know best. The keystone of Sabre's book program is that it is demand-driven. Rather than trying to send as many books as possible, regardless of demonstrated need, Sabre gives its overseas partners the opportunity to select books (many with CD-ROMs and DVDs) from detailed offering lists. Only titles and quantities specifically requested by its partners are shipped. Those titles are new, high-quality, up-to-date and are selected by Sabre from the offers made by donating publishers. Materials are held in inventory for every educational level, from pre-school through college, as well as for the professions. Sabre's rule of thumb is that something which is of no value in the U.S. is usually equally valueless overseas. The schools, universities, libraries, medical institutions and individuals that benefit from Sabre's Book Donation Program are not regarded as the recipients of aid for whom "any book is better than no book at all." They are regarded, instead, as clients with limited resources, but with an equal claim to the best intellectual resources that can be made available to them.