Carnegie Mellon Press Release: November 4, 2003
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Press Release

Contact:
Teresa Thomas
412-268-2900

For immediate release:
November 4, 2003

Carnegie Mellon University and the Government of Sri Lanka Agree To Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Partnership

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University has agreed to work with the government of Sri Lanka to develop and deploy a program of information and communication technology. Among other things, Carnegie Mellon will partner with Sri Lanka's Ministry of Economic Reform, Science and Technology to launch initial Technology Peace Corps projects applicable to Sri Lanka. The Technology Peace Corps is a program envisioned by Carnegie Mellon to study the applicability of technology to promote sustainable development in developing countries around the world.

"Given the rapid progress of worldwide information connectivity and growing international economic integration, we believe a partnership with Sri Lanka will offer ongoing benefits for both of us. Our expertise in information and communications technologies can make helpful contributions as Sri Lanka develops its own efforts in these areas, and our students and faculty will enjoy working with creative collaborators whose culture and traditions are different from our own," Carnegie Mellon University Provost Mark Kamlet said.

"This is a most welcome and timely initiative. We are very excited with the concept and the opportunity to partner with such a prestigious institution," said Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the United States, Devinda R. Subasinghe. "With our Government ramping up the 'e- Sri Lanka' initiative, which seeks to bring about new economic opportunities through the use of information technology, the novelty that the Technology Peace Corps affords will surely boost our plans to upgrade IT literacy in all parts of the country and help us to benefit from global expertise."

An independent island republic in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka lies just off the southeastern tip of the Indian subcontinent and has a population of about 20 million. Sri Lanka has a democratic political system, with a directly elected president as head of state.

The agreement between the university and Sri Lanka calls for Carnegie Mellon to share its best practices and provide counsel on a number of fronts. Initial activities will focus on developing information and communication technology practices for government, agriculture and industry. On the education side, both partners believe information and communication technology can be used to disseminate the world-class educational and academic capabilities that exist at Sri Lanka's major universities to smaller institutions in remote, rural regions.

Kamlet said that Sri Lankan officials were particularly enthusiastic about Carnegie Mellon's proposal to develop a "Technology Peace Corps" adaptable to the Sri Lankan situation and also to other developing nations.

"Sri Lanka has a long history of accepting teachers from abroad and a history of sharing its own highly trained teachers with less developed regions of the world. Focusing future programs of this sort on technology-related skills and endeavors will provide cost-effective routes for Sri Lanka to develop its own economy and participate in the global economy," Kamlet explained.

Carnegie Mellon has many kinds of international relationships to share the best of its education and research. For example, the university offers master's degree programs in Greece, Korea, South Africa, England, Germany, India, Singapore and Switzerland. The university also has formal education partnerships with Taiwan, Brazil and Mexico, and virtual and traditional graduate and undergraduate student exchange programs with the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and many other countries.

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