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The Internet and books: Kosovo

InOctober 1999, Project Director Tania Vitvitsky traveled to Kosovo to carry out a needs assessment focusing primarily on the National and University Library of Kosovo (N&UL) (above) and the Pristina Municipal and Children’s Libraries. The assessment was requested by the Office of International Information Programs at the U.S. Department of State. Sabre’s Kosovo work in 1999 included a September shipment of reference and medical books and N&UL Director Mehmet Gerguri’s participation in Sabre’s IT Workshops. Project Director Vitvitsky also accompanied Mr. Gerguri to a White House meeting with First Lady Hillary Clinton to discuss N&UL’s need for new English-language books and the importance of international book donation programs.

Latest Developments

Late in 1999 Sabre Foundation began two successful collaborations with U.S.-based NGOs.

In November and December, Sabre’s Internet Training Center hosted participants in WorldBoston’s International Visitors Program (IVP). WorldBoston, a non-profit organization founded to promote person-to-person international exchange, hosts visitors each year through IVP and Community Connections, both programs of the U.S. Department of State. Early in 2000, Sabre also began working with WorldBoston to include IT Workshops in Community Connections, which supports the development of business and civil institutions in the former Soviet Union through U.S. training. In the first five months of 2000, Sabre trained 18 Community Connections participants.

A second partnership begun in 1999 that has borne fruit in 2000 is Sabre’s work with Project Harmony, a Vermont-based non-profit dedicated to international exchange and training programs. In January 2000, Sabre trained a group of talented teenagers who had been chosen to participate in Project Harmony’s Youth Leadership Program for Bosnia-Herzegovina, a program funded by the U.S. Department of State. The IT workshop focused on using the Internet as a tool for community activism. Site visits to community service centers at Harvard University and Tufts University gave the students a first-hand look at how American students work for the improvement of their communities.

One last bit of good news before year’s end was the selection of the IT Workshops Program for inclusion in the Harvard Business School Community Action Program (CAP). Beginning in November, a CAP team of Harvard alumni volunteers began exploring with the Foundation several ways to expand the Internet training program. The CAP team’s recommendations are already adding new vitality to the IT program.


Book program manager Colin McCullough with Harvard Business School CAP team member Anne Holtzworth.
Book program manager Colin McCullough with Harvard Business School CAP team member Anne Holtzworth.

A Note On Costs:

Thanks to the generosity of a private donor, Sabre was able to provide training without charge for all participants through 1999. In 2000, Sabre introduced a modest fee structure to cover its costs. For information on how to participate in the IT Workshops Program, or make a financial contribution to its continued success, please contact Kimberly Bartlett at (617) 868-3510.

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