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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 25, 2001

Fact Sheet: Friendship Through Education

Today's Presidential Action:

President Bush joined leaders of non-governmental and private organizations at Marshall Elementary School in the District of Columbia to announce the formation of "Friendship Through Education" -- a consortium of groups facilitating expanded links between US students and students in countries with Muslim populations.

As the first stage in this initiative, three schools in the US communities most directly affected by the September 11 terrorist attacks will be linked for student and teacher interchanges with schools in Islamic nations.

About Friendship Through Education:

Friendship Through Education is a consortium of non-governmental organizations and private groups committed to connecting children from different nations in an effort to bridge cultures and broaden understanding. One of the best ways to deter terrorism is through education and understanding. This interaction will build friendships and involve students in discussions of issues facing them as future global citizens.

Friendship Through Education will facilitate expanded student and teacher exchanges among countries throughout the globe. It will launch this effort with a commitment to expand links between US schools and those in Islamic countries, including Egypt, Indonesia, Qatar, Pakistan, Turkey, Bahrain and Afghan refugee camps. The Friendship through Education consortium will identify appropriate friendship schools in Islamic nations, help provide safe and secure Internet-based communications among students, assist with translations and facilitate classroom projects.

The consortium includes: iEARN-USA, People to People International, The UN's Cyberschoolbus, ePals Classroom Exchange, Global SchoolNet Foundation, Schools Online, Sister Cities International, US Fund for UNICEF, and Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools Program of the Peace Corps. Additional organizations will be able to join the consortium, thereby expanding the number and types of projects available for schools. iEARN will be the organization responsible for coordinating the consortium members.

The consortium is modeled after several successful existing programs, including the "President's People to People program." This initiative was launched on September 11, 1956, by then President Dwight D. Eisenhower. After touring the liberated death camps after World War II, Eisenhower was sure that, if people could have face-to-face contact, future atrocities could be avoided through better understanding. President Eisenhower's granddaughter, Mary Eisenhower, is Executive Director of People to People, one of the groups involved in the Friendship Through Education consortium.

How Friendship Through Education Works:

Schools from the US communities most directly impacted by the September 11 terrorist attacks will be the first to participate in this program.

These schools have been chosen to work with the Friendship Through Education network to reach out, respectively, to:

The goal of Friendship Through Education is to link an American school in every state with a school in countries with Muslim populations in the Middle, Near and Far East.

Initially, the Friendship Through Education consortium will encourage two types of projects:

These opportunities will be promoted by a new "Friendship Through Education" website. Schools interested in participating in these projects can visit the website where registration can take place through the members of the consortium and schools can indicate their interest in connecting with another class. Additionally, schools will be able to access all programs offered by members of the consortium. The web address is:

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