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OVERVIEW

Project Harmony was first established in Armenia in the fall of 2000 to implement two US State Department technology grants. While Project Harmony in Armenia has gained a reputation for its work bringing technology into the secondary education systems, from our early days Project Harmony in Armenia has stayed true to the PH mission in community involvement and empowerment.

A pilot program, Internet Community Development in the Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia), was designed to promote the use of the Internet as a democracy-building and community organizing tool for professionals in the Southern Caucasus. The program fostered the development of business support, refugee issues, and assistance to internally displaced persons. The training and outreach activities of the program built the local capacity of professionals in these fields to use and create multi-language online resources such as online newsletters, discussions lists, interactive websites, web chats, and teleconferences. Experience from the pilot program was integrated into the core of the School Connectivity Programs.



Project Harmony began implementing the State Department, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs grant for Armenia Connectivity 2000 (AC2K) in the fall of 2000. Working from this first grant, Project Harmony connected 35 Armenian schools to the Internet through Internet Computer Centers, open to students, teachers, and the community. Another 24 schools, established by the Public Affairs Section of the American Embassy in Armenia and American Councils, were adopted into the AC2K network. A year into the grant the program was expanded to create and maintain a network of 122 schools and further develop program content. In November 2002, a new grant was awarded that will enable the network of online Armenian schools to grow to 330 schools, including a mobile lab to serve 20 rural schools.

All of the Armenia School Connectivity Programs have similar, fundamental components beyond hardware and Internet connection. These include extensive training of site staff at school-based Internet Computer Centers and free training for all students and teachers of the host school, as well as neighboring schools. Project Harmony provides seminars, conferences, and trainings for school representatives and community members on the integration of technology into education, the sustainability of centers, and the creation of Armenian-language resources, such as websites linked to the Republic of Armenia civics curriculum. In addition to ongoing virtual exchange opportunities, the programs incorporate physical exchange components with strong follow on activities that provide forums for professional exchange among Armenian and American educators.

Project Harmony in Armenia is especially committed to development support in the regions. Every effort is made to include rural and remote communities. PH works closely with local, regional, and national government leaders and numerous organizations as full partners in reaching our mission and program objectives. Some of the special interest areas with which PH currently works are: special needs students, refugees, women’s issues, and youth leadership.

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