Nicholas Negroponte and John McCain at OLPC event, Fighting Insurgencies with Laptops
September 16, 2009

Matt Keller's writeup:

One Laptop per Child made its public debut on Capitol Hill today with an event called "Fighting Insurgencies with Laptops."

The event, held in the United States Senate Dirksen Office Building, featured OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte giving an overview of OLPC, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) giving a keynote address on OLPC, Said Jawad The Ambassador from Afghanistan to the United States, Husain Haqqani the Ambassador from Pakistan to the United States, Ann Gearen, the Chief Pentagon Correspondent for the Associated Press, and Susan Glasser, Executive Editor of Foreign Policy.

The group represented a stunningly eclectic mix of people from starkly different backgrounds and professions who came together to talk about One Laptop per Child as something that could be a clear manifestation of U.S. smart power. As Senator McCain said, there is nothing better suited to connect and educate this generation of children than OLPC. This refrain was echoed by both the Pakistani and Afghanistan Ambassadors.

OLPC has distributed more than 1 million low-cost laptops to impoverished children throughout the Americas, Africa and the world, purchased almost entirely by the governments themselves. This year, OLPC is making a bid to expand both its reach and its vision by asking Congress to make a concerted push into Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan, where isolation and a lack of government reach have spawned a particularly brutal form of violent extremism.

The OLPC proposal: fight a "soft war" in Afghanistan and the tribal areas of western Pakistan by giving children access to real education and to the world's body of knowledge, and by connecting these remote areas to the rest of the planet via computer. One child. One laptop. One world.

MSNBC video from May 1, 2009 on Maureen Orth using the OLPC XO for fighting insurgencies in Columbia
37 photos · 714 views