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Georgian Newspapers Go From Print to Multimedia

When readers of three regional Georgian newspapers checked those websites for election news last Sunday, they saw more than they might have expected. IREX G-MEDIA program partners are no longer limited to their print editions. The newspapers Akhali Gazeti, Guria News and Samkhretis Karibche are now producing video stories, talk shows, live streaming and interactive programs through their websites.

When readers of three regional Georgian newspapers checked those websites for election news last Sunday, they saw more than they might have expected. IREX G-MEDIA program partners are no longer limited to their print editions.

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Journalists from three regional newspapers in Georgia learned new techniques to broadcast online content and diversify their offerings.

Social Media Supporting Good Governance in the Middle East

Viral videos, social networks, mobile applications, websites, and more launched through IREX’s Social Media Social Action program SM|SA have touched thousands of lives and improved civic engagement across the Middle East. After two and a half years, the program is transitioning to a new focus - engaging civil society in the Irbid governorate of Jordan to use social media for advocacy and civic engagement to improve municipal services.

Viral videos, social networks, mobile applications, websites, and more launched through IREX’s Social Media Social Action SM|SA program have touched thousands of lives and improved civic engagement across the Middle East. After two and a half years, the program is transitioning to a new focus - engaging civil society in the Irbid governorate of Jordan to use social media for advocacy and civic engagement to improve municipal services.

Young Female Leaders Transforming Conflict in Israel

Ortal Be’eri, a 2012 Community Solutions Program (CSP) leader, believes young women can play a vital role in healing the divisions that have scarred the Middle East. Be’eri, who works at Creativity for Peace, a nonprofit organization aimed at developing the next generation of Palestinian and Israeli female leaders. Be’eri recently implemented a project that created a network of 24 young Jewish Israeli, Arab Israeli and Palestinian women involved in political parties. The young women are now implementing their own project to foster dialogue between youth attending Jewish and Arab schools in mixed Israeli cities.

As an Israeli, Ortal Be’eri has known conflict all her life – and she believes young women can play a vital role in healing the divisions that have scarred the Middle East. “We live the conflict, we are all part of it and we can’t really escape it,” says Be’eri, who works at Creativity for Peace, a nonprofit organization aimed at developing the next generation of Palestinian and Israeli female leaders. “It is past, present and future.

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Jeanne Isler leads a workshop to empower Israeli and Palestinian young leaders

Scholarship Spurs Biotech Success in Kazakhstan

Western Kazakhstan’s oil boom has brought plenty of money to the developing nation, but also plenty of toxic waste. Giant pools of oil sludge dot the landscape where rigs have drilled and since moved on. With so much liquid gold awaiting extraction, cleanup can become an afterthought. But Raikhan, a budding young scientist, is busy now figuring out a way to use naturally occurring bacteria to clean up the messes left by the oil industry. Her studies have been made possible through a scholarship from the BOTA Foundation

Oil Sludge in KazakhstanWestern Kazakhstan’s oil boom has brought plenty of money to the developing nation, but also plenty of toxic waste. Giant pools of oil sludge dot the landscape where rigs have drilled and since moved on. With so much liquid gold awaiting extraction, cleanup can become an afterthought.

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Raikhan - a BOTA tuition assistance recipient.

Keeping Armenians Safe in Next Major Quake

In 1988, a devastating earthquake struck the northwestern region of Armenia, killing at least 25,000 people and leaving more than half a million homeless. Muskie alumna Gohar Hovhanniysan is currently leading a project to use damage data from the 1988 earthquake and collect new data to assess the vulnerability of buildings in Yerevan. The team she works is modeling two different earthquake scenarios for the city, calculating potential damage to buildings as well as population and economic losses. 

In 1988, a devastating earthquake struck the northwestern region of Armenia, killing at least 25,000 people and leaving more than half a million homeless. Gohar Hovhannisyan, now a researcher with Armenia’s National Academy of Sciences, was 17 at the time. “I distinctly remember the earthquake,” she recalled. “The sense of confusion, the fear with which people ran out from the buildings into the street and their unwillingness to return.” Hovhannisyan believes the earthquake’s tragic impact could have been mitigated with better planning.

Skype Your Mayor: Ukrainian Library Hosts Online Town Hall

Developing a strong relationship with the local community requires time and effort from government representatives and the local community alike. In Boryspil, Ukraine, the Mayor’s Office launched the initiative “Skype with the Mayor” with the local library to improve communications with citizens. Every Wednesday, Mayor Anatoliy Fedorchuk meets with citizens to discuss some of their concerns and solutions to the problems that their community faces.  

Developing a strong relationship with the local community requires time and effort from government representatives and the local community alike. In Boryspil, Ukraine, the Mayor’s Office launched the initiative “Skype with the Mayor” with the local library to improve communications with citizens. Every Wednesday, Mayor Anatoliy Fedorchuk meets with citizens to discuss some of their concerns and solutions to the problems that their community faces.  

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Local entrepreneur talks with the Mayor via Skype at the Boryspil Library

US Classrooms Gain International Perspectives through Globalized Teaching

After traveling to an all-girls school in Ghana and learning of the significant need for books to improve literacy, inner-city Philadelphia high school teacher Bonnee Breese saw the importance of creating an opportunity for global education and understanding. She established a book drive for Ghana at her school in Philadelphia, which her students helped manage and implement as they learned about global competencies. 

After traveling to an all-girls school in Ghana and learning of the significant need for books to improve literacy, inner-city Philadelphia high school teacher Bonnee Breese saw the importance of creating an opportunity for global education and understanding. She established a book drive for Ghana at her school in Philadelphia, which her students helped manage and implement as they learned about global competencies.

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Teachers gather at the TGC Global Education Symposium.

Ukrainian Library & Civil Society Create Platform to Engage Local Government

In January, the Kropyvnytskii central library in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, created an open forum for community members and local government to establish an ongoing platform for dialogue about development within the city. Since then, the library hosted 21 forum meetings attended by nearly 150 activists from NGOs, clubs, libraries and City Hall. With support from IREX’s Bibliomist program, libraries like Kropyvnytskii prioritize public access to information and offer opportunities for creative engagement between citizens and government.

In January, the Kropyvnytskii central library in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, created an open forum for community members and local government to establish an ongoing platform for dialogue about development within the city. Since then, the library hosted 21 forum meetings attended by nearly 150 activists from NGOs, clubs, libraries and City Hall.

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Ukrainian library open forum for community members and local government

Liberian Women’s Radio Listening Group Impacts Constitutional Reform

The women’s radio listening group in Kamara Town, Liberia is creating awareness and promoting community participation in the country’s national development. The listening group meets twice a week where the women sit together, listen to the radio, and discuss what they hear and how they can use the information to better their own lives and community. Early in 2013, IREX and its CSML partner, the Liberia Women Media Action Committee (LIWOMAC), encouraged the women’s group to listen to a weekly program run by the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) that had recently started on Liberian Women Democracy Radio. 

The women’s radio listening group in Kamara Town, Liberia is creating awareness and promoting community participation in the country’s national development. The listening group meets twice a week where the women sit together, listen to the radio, and discuss what they hear and how they can use the information to better their own lives and community.

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Women's Radio Listening Group in Liberia

Increasing Access to Information in Burma

For Burma’s people to participate fully in this period of accelerated development, they need broad-based access to information. The country’s thousands of self-sustaining community libraries are going to be indispensable in bridging those gaps, and through the Beyond Access, IREX is partnering with several organizations to help. The resulting project will establish a forum where a common discussion can take place among the library community and development stakeholders to discuss what a 21st century library should be for the country.The project will also help pilot modern information services in three libraries to forge a model for public access to technology.

In the village Nyaung Bin Pu, two hours outside Mandalay, Burma (Myanmar), a library built of thatch sits on wooden stilts near the central square. It is one of thousands of self-sustaining community libraries across the country. This one serves as a public space in the remote village, bringing reading material in Burmese and English to the community.

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Libraries offer existing infrastructure and are key development partners.
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