May 6, 1999
Release No. 025-99

CONTACT: Kelly Lees/Theresa Markiw
PHONE: (202) 619-4355
klees OR

United States Information Agency - News Release


President Clinton Announces USIA-Led Public/Private Partnership Initiative Providing Technology Support to Kosovo Refugees

Washington, D.C. -- President Clinton announced today during his visit with Kosovar refugees in Ingelheim, Germany, the establishment of the Kosovar Refugee Internet Assistance Initiative, a public/private partnership to provide refugees with independent, objective, and reliable Albanian-language news and information from various reputable news sources such as the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and WORLDNET. This partnership also will provide the refugees with access to the Internet at interactive information centers in refugee sites in Poland, France, Germany, the Balkans, and Fort Dix in New Jersey.

Spearheaded by USIA's Information Bureau, the partnership links U.S. government agencies with innovative information technology companies, NGOs, and foundations in a coordinated effort to bring refugee communities more than US$500,000 of donated technology hardware, software, and related equipment and services. This partnership also is working to provide international relief organizations with appropriate technology to support their continuing and vital humanitarian efforts in the Balkans.

"Meeting the pressing and real information needs of the refugees is a critical task. We are doing so in partnership with innovative technology companies, non-governmental organizations, and foundations by harnessing the powerful new tools of the information age," said Jonathan Spalter, USIA Associate Director for Information and Chief Information Officer.

The organizations taking the lead in this partnership include SGI and Cisco Systems, Inc., The Document Company Xerox, Gateway and the Waitt Family Foundation, RISO, Inc., MVS USA, Hewlett-Packard Company, International Data Group, the National Technology Alliance, 3M, the David Sarnoff Corporation, Autometric, Inc., Apple Computer, Inc., and the Markle Foundation. This partnership will deliver hardware, software, connectivity, and technical and financial support directly to international relief organizations working with Kosovar refugees.

"Bringing modern technology to the aid of the refugees of Kosovo through the Refugee Internet Assistance Initiative is one of the great ways that the information technology community can help the relief effort. This public/private partnership is an important step forward in our effort to help the Kosovars," said Gateway Chairman and CEO Ted Waitt.

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The United States Information Agency, headed by Acting Director Penn Kemble, is an independent foreign affairs agency within the executive branch that explains and supports U.S. foreign policy and national security interests abroad through a wide range of information programs. The Agency promotes mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through a series of educational and cultural exchange activities.

USIA's programs include the Voice of America, Radio and TV Martí, the WORLDNET satellite television system, the daily Washington File newswire, the Fulbright scholarship program, the International Visitor Program, the Speakers and Specialists Program, three Foreign Press Centers in the United States, and a network of overseas resource and cultural centers. The Agency has 190 posts in 141 countries.

The USIA domestic server can be accessed through or through most search engines on the Internet.

United States Information Agency, 301 4th Street, SW, Washington, D.C. 20547
Tel: (202) 619-4355, Fax: (202) 619-6988

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