13 August 2008

Gates Award goes to Mexican organization that brings ICTs to rural communities

Quebec, 13 August. In a ceremony today at the IFLA Congress William Gates Senior presented the 2008 Gates Foundation Access to Learning Award of $1 million to the Vasconcelos Program in Mexico's Veracruz state.

In his remarks, Dr. Victor Arredondo, Veracruz secretary of public education and founder of the Vasconcelos Program explained how the Program was named for José Vasconcelos who in the 1920's led a program that brought education and knowledge to rural areas on the backs of donkeys and mules. Nowadays, the Program reaches out, bringing technology and knowledge via a fleet of all-terrain buses.

Bill Gates Senior, introducing the award, talked of the importance of reading and libraries and the Gates Foundation's intention to support innovative initiatives that "help people give themselves the gift of knowledge."

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