Tue, Sep 20, 2005 - Page 2 News List

MOFA inks deal on second phase of IT project for Iraq

MAKING CONNECTIONS The ministry said it will provide a second round of aid to help the Iraqi education ministry and 14 schools get wired

BY SHIH HSIU-CHUAN  /  STAFF REPORTER WITH CNA

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with Mercy Corps, a US-based charity group, on the second phase of the "IT Action in Iraq" project in which Taiwan will continue helping in setting up computer equipment and Internet service in Iraq.

"In the spirit of humanity, Taiwan will do as much as we can to give back to the international society. We also hope the people in Iraq can feel the friendship from Taiwan," Minister Mark Chen (陳唐山) said at the signing ceremony.

Even though Taiwan has been shut out of the UN for almost three decades, Taiwan has never hesitated to offer humanitarian aid to needy countries, Chen said.

Plugging in

In the first phase of the project, the government donated US$400,000 to Mercy Corps to establish an Internet Center in the Khanaqin district, which lies northeast of Baghdad.

In the second phase, the government will donate an additional US$200,000.

That donation will be used to set up computer equipment and Internet services for Iraq's Ministry of Education and 14 junior and senior high schools.

The ministry added that the second phase will also include assistance in training personnel serving at the Internet Center, which began operations this past January.

The cooperative memorandum was signed by Maysing Yang (楊黃美幸), chairperson of the ministry's Research and Planning Committee and Diana Tsui (徐丹), Mercy Corps' managing director for the east Asia and Pacific region.

Mercy Corps is a nonprofit organization with headquarters in Portland, Seattle, Cambridge, Washington, D.C. and Edinburgh, Scotland. Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided over US$1 billion in assistance to people in 81 nations.

Gratitude

Two Iraqi youth traveled to Taipei last December to attend a presentation on Taiwan's aid program and post-war relief work in Iraq.

They also conveyed Khanaqin citizens' gratitude for Taiwan's assistance.

Since the public networking center was completed in January, the officials said, Iraqi students have regularly exchanged e-mails with their Taiwan counterparts at 10 junior and senior high schools recommended by the Ministry of Education.

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