November 1996

Sabre supporters meet with First Lady

Supporters of Sabre's shipment of children's books to Romania met with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at a White House ceremony on October 21. Photo, left to right: Joseph Duffey, Director, United States Information Agency; Ken Bartels, Sabre Treasurer; Frederick M. O'Regan, Regional Director, Peace Corps; Ambassador Mircea D. Geoama of Romania; Mrs. Geoama; Mark D. Gearan, Director, Peace Corps; Mrs. Leonard J. Baldyga; Leonard J. Baldyga, Member, Sabre Executive Committee. Attending the event, in addition to those pictured above were: Ambassador Sven Alkalai of Bosnia-Herzegovina; Kemal Bakarsic, University of Sarajevo; William Lindsay, Harvard University Press; New Yorker writer Sidney Blumenthal; Terence Monaghan, World Book Educational Products; Anastasia Kokaliaris, McGraw-Hill Companies; Andras Riedlmayer and Jeff Spurr, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University; William Hunt, St. Lawrence University; Marian St. Onge, Boston College; Susan Monaghan, University of Illinois; Janet Crayne, University of Michigan; Dave Dunn, Dunn & Company; Anne Truxaw, Peace Corps; and Penn Kemble and Ronald Ungaro, United States Information Agency. Foundation participants included: Steering Committee members Michael Hornblow and Daniel Matuszewski; Sabre President Anne Neal; Scientific Assistance Project founder, Josiah Lee Auspitz ; and Project Director Tania Vitvitsky.


When First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Eastern Europe this summer, she noted a desperate need for teaching materials, especially for children. English-language texts were in demand even at the youngest grades.

Independently of her visit, Sabre had been soliciting donations to meet increasing requests from the field for children's materials. Thus, the Foundation was able to make a special donation of children's books, encyclopedias, and cassettes, in commemoration of the First Lady's visit to schools and orphanages in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania.

To honor and encourage these initiatives, Mrs. Clinton scheduled White House meetings with participants in Sabre's Bosnia and Romania programs. The private meeting was followed by a larger gathering, addressed by the First Lady and UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright, recognizing several projects in Bosnia and launching a hospital partnership between Buffalo and Tuzla.

Sabre's Romania initiative was undertaken in conjunction with the Peace Corps and a Romanian NGO. The Foundation's Bosnia shipment is the first part of a larger project to resupply destroyed library collections of the war-torn country (see below).

At the larger East Room ceremonies, Mrs. Clinton called special attention to Sabre's work, noting that the Foundation has delivered books valued at more than $60 million in the former Soviet bloc since 1986. She called Sabre's program an "outstanding example of a public-private initiative."

Planning for re-stocking Bosnian libraries are, left to right: Sheila Lilja, Uniserv, Inc.; William Lindsay, VP, Harvard University Press; Dave Dunn, Dunn & Co.; Kemal Bakarsic, University of Sarajevo and Sabre Bosna-Herzegovina; and Ralf Morales, Sabre Warehouse Supervisor


Sabre has initiated a Bosnia program with support from the Dusky Foundation and generous donations from universities and libraries, led by Harvard University Press and Harvard University Library. Project Director Tania Vitvitsky traveled to Bosnia this summer, where she met with Dr. Kemal Bakarsic, donation coordinator in Sarajevo. In October, Dr. Bakarsic, Assistant Professor of Bibliography, Department of Librarianship at the University of Sarajevo and currently his country's Assistant Minister for Science, attended the White House event and visited Sabre's offices and warehouse. In a press interview, he commented on the value of the program, commending Sabre's practice of allowing recipients to select books from offering lists. "This is the first time I was actually shown a list so I could pick and choose," he said. "This a whole different procedure, which I appreciate very much."

Photo: Tania Vitvitsky, July 1996 Dr. Enes Kujundzic, Director of the destroyed National and University Library, stands in front of the bullet-riddled "new" library site, a former Yugoslav Army barracks in Sarajevo.


In the first 10 months of 1996, 19 containers holding approximately 265,000 books and journals were dispatched to long-term Sabre partner organizations in Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, the Kyrgyz Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine and new partners in Bosnia, Brazil, Ghana, Grenada, and Romania. In addition, 54,936 books were donated overseas through other US-based non-profit organizations including Books for Africa, Project Armenia, Books for Asia, CHEER, Columbia University Libraries, Freedom House, Peace Corps, and the World Bank Volunteer Services Book Project.


Sabre Europe, Association Internationale, based in Brussels, was fortunate to receive in September a donation of some 4,000 books from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, for distribution by Sabre partners to libraries and research institutions in nine countries: Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The donation included multiple copies of annual publications (1985-95) in the ongoing series "NATO Economics Colloquium," which deals with economic issues of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Other books in the fields of political science and security, published in association with NATO, were also received. Arrangements for the donation were made by Laurent Garzaniti, Esq., of the Brussels law office of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, Sabre Europe's pro bono counsel, and Mr. Nicholas W. G. Sherwen, Head of Publications in NATO's Office of Information and Press.


In response to demand from overseas and in preparation for newer programs located outside of Eastern Europe, Sabre has expanded the subject areas it offers to include children's books and Spanish-language materials. Sabre has also expanded its inventory to include dictionaries, encyclopedias, and CD-ROMs. Special projects to supply law libraries have increased demand for law and law-related materials. More than 200 publishers and numerous donors of special collections now participate in Sabre's programs.


In June, Sabre Foundation Reference Librarian Rebecca Schneider traveled to Kyiv, Ukraine, to conduct Internet training sessions on legal resources as part of an AID Rule of Law project funded through ARD/Checchi. Lawyers, law librarians, law students and parliamentary staffers were among those trained in accessing materials on-line. In early 1997 (with funding provided by the Eurasia Foundation) a training consultant will be working with the Lviv State University on the University's Internet training program.

Meanwhile at its Cambridge office, Sabre continues to train visitors from abroad in Internet technologies and services. U.S.-based training allows participants to experience first-hand the benefits of public access to information and the integration of the Internet in all spheres of a democratic and market-based society. Most recently, Sabre developed a customized, "hands-on" four-week "training of trainers" program for two participants from Ukraine selected by America House in Kyiv.

Thanks to support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and an anonymous donor, Sabre and Prague-based "Plantnet" are implementing a pilot document delivery service in Eastern Europe.

Y. Khmelevsky with student

Youry Khmelevsky, University of Kiev-Mohyla Academy, conducts Internet training sessions at Sabre's Cambridge office for foreign students attending the Harvard University Ukrainian Summer Institute. This session was a practicum concluding Sabre's "Training of Trainers" course.

V. Wright photographs documents


Vedder Wright photographs documents with digital camera. With a grant from the Ukrainian Studies Fund, matched by an anonymous donor, Sabre staff are exploring the feasibility of a low-cost, portable digital camera/CD-ROM module that can be used for preserving archival materials. The pilot project focuses on technical advising, hardware and software purchase, and content indexing.


Thanks to private donors and multi-country support provided by USIA, AID/OFR program, and The Whitehead Foundation, Sabre is able to meet needs outside of its traditional region of activity in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Arnildo Schildt, Director of the Associacao Mundial de Ecologia, presents a check for the first shipment to Brazil to Tania Vitvitsky, Sabre Project Director, and Colin McCullough, Sabre Book Program Manager. Guy Mayo of Project Brazil looks on.



Sabre's use of in-kind aid as a development tool has attracted bipartisan Congressional support, led by Senator Hank Brown (CO) and Massachusetts Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry in the Senate, and Congressmen Benjamin Gilman (NY), Hal Rogers (KY), Christopher Smith (NJ), Jim Leach (IA), Jim Kolbe (AZ), and Tom Lantos (CA) who hold influential positions on relevant committees in the House of Representatives. Knowledgeable Congressional backers have been especially impressed by Sabre's use of Internet and digital technologies and by the cost-effective use of federal funds. Meanwhile, on October 23, Senator Richard Lugar (IN) introduced legislation, entitled The United States Voluntary and Material Assistance Act (S2193), to coordinate and assist the work of private groups in delivering in-kind aid from a broad range of American firms to needy recipients abroad.


Arthur Dubow, whose service as a Sabre director began in April 1983, retired from the Board and its Executive Committee in June of this year. Upon his retirement, the board unanimously passed a resolution stating that during the thirteen years of his service, "Sabre grew from a modest charitable association of a few like-minded individuals devoted to the cause of freedom into a true professional institution... At each stage of that development, Arthur Dubow stood ready to contribute from his imagination, his legal and business experience, and his purse. We shall greatly miss his thoughtful counsel as our Director, but he will not be allowed to resign from our affection."

Two new board members welcomed at the annual meeting in June were: Leonard J. Baldyga, previously a member of Sabre's Scientific Assistance Project Steering Committee, and John R. Price. Mr. Baldyga brings with him more than 30 years' experience at the United States Information Agency. Most recently he was Director of the Office of European Affairs, managing all phases of education and information programs in Western and Eastern Europe. Mr. Price is Managing Director of The Chase Manhattan Corporation, responsible for the bank's government relations worldwide. He is President of Americans for Oxford, Inc., a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a director of the National Foreign Trade Council.

Other changes in the Steering Committee followed on the retirement of Robert G. Stern from Arthur Andersen LLP in New York. His place will be taken by his partner in that firm, Alan L. Luchs, who like Mr. Stern, specializes in publishing and media. John L.G. Archibald, a long-time pro bono consultant to Sabre, has also joined the Committee, bringing experience of the book world in Africa.

A Sabre staffer who will be missed not only by his Cambridge colleagues but also by his correspondents abroad is Vedder Wright, an Internet specialist, who has resigned to join Software Tool & Die. Mr. Wright was "in on the ground floor" of the projects now grouped under Library and Information Technology Services, and his knowledge helped to get those services off to a strong start.


A key figure in the origin and growth of Sabre's Book Donation Program was Max Celnik, whose unfortunate death occurred in May. Since 1986, the publishing consultancy firm which bears his name has played a central role in obtaining donations of high quality books from a broad range of commercial publishers, contributing immeasurably to the success of the Program.