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Cablegate: Ambassador Wayne Meeting with Argentine Minister Of

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #2538 3171954
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 131954Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 6447

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002538

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR ECA DPOWELL AND TFARRELL, WHA/PDA MDCONNERS, R

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO SCHUL SOCI AR
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR WAYNE MEETING WITH ARGENTINE MINISTER OF
EDUCATION DANIEL FILMUS


1. SUMMARY: The Ambassador met November 8 with Minister of Education
Daniel Filmus to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation on
education and to expand academic exchange opportunities. The
Ambassador briefed the Minister on two new Embassy program
initiatives - the Southern Cone Youth Ambassadors Program and an
English-learning micro-scholarship program. The Minister promised
his Ministry's support for these programs and in turn outlined new
education initiatives the GOA planned to unveil soon. END SUMMARY.

2. Taking advantage of the visit to Argentina of the Secretary's
Science and Technology Advisor George Atkinson, the Ambassador
hosted a lunch November 8 at which Minister of Education Daniel
Filmus was the featured guest. The Ambassador met privately with
Filmus after the lunch and expressed his strong interest in
strengthening bilateral cooperation on education and expanding
academic exchange opportunities. The Ambassador also briefed the
Minister on two new Embassy initiatives - the Southern Cone Youth
Ambassadors (YA) Program and the Sarmiento-Mann English Learning
Micro-scholarship Program. Funded by WHA/PDA the Southern Cone YA
program will bring five secondary school students from each of the
five countries of the BSC to the U.S. for two weeks (January 13-27)
to meet with U.S. officials and learn about U.S. society and
culture, and to share Argentine culture with Americans. The
Sarmiento-Mann Micro-Scholarship Program, now under development, is
a post-funded initiative that will help talented secondary school
students from underprivileged backgrounds learn English at local
Binational Centers. Filmus promised his Ministry's support for these
programs, noting that the U.S. and Argentina have a long history of
working well together on the education front. He cited as an example
our cooperation on Fulbright programs.

3. The Minister then outlined for the Ambassador several of the
Ministry's own new initiatives. The first was the imminent
publication of a book in English designed to highlight study
opportunities in Argentina. He invited the Ambassador to attend the
book launch, expected to be held at the Presidential palace later
this month. The Ministry plans a worldwide distribution of the book
(the brainchild of the Argentine CG in New York, Hector Timerman)
through the GOA's overseas missions.

4. He also advised of the creation of a new government body
reporting directly to the Ministry that would act as a national
clearing house for information about university-level international
academic exchanges currently in place in Argentina. Filmus noted
that his Ministry kept such information, but that it was incomplete
and that circumstances changed so rapidly that Argentina needed an
organization devoted solely to coordinating with local universities
to collect the data. The Ministry's long-term goal is to promote
Argentine universities abroad by strengthening their international
affairs offices and by sending Argentine missions to select
countries to increase awareness of study opportunities here.

5. The Minister concluded by describing a new proposal which will
make study of a second language mandatory in primary schools. Such a
regulation is currently in place at the secondary school level, but
will now be implemented in the lower grades. The new National
Education Law is expected to be sent to Congress tomorrow for
approval. One of the provisions in that law includes mandatory
bilingualism in primary schools.

6. COMMENT: Minister Filmus was very knowledgeable and forthcoming
in describing the Ministry's upcoming projects and his overall
efforts to strengthen the Argentine education system, which many
observers here perceive to be in crisis. He also expressed his firm
commitment to working closely with us to strengthen bilateral
education cooperation and academic exchanges. He noted that before
joining the government he started and ran a university exchange
program with the U.S. as part of his academic responsibilities. The
program began with 5 students annually and grew to 200 or so each
year. END COMMENT.

7. To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our classified website
at:
http://www.state.sqov.gov/p/wha/buenosaires

WAYNE

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