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Cablegate: Ambassador Wayne's Meeting with Nicholas Negroponte On "One

VZCZCXRO9046
RR RUEHTRO
DE RUEHBU #2710 3411314
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071314Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6710
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
INFO RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 5642
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 0059
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 0016
RUEHTRO/USLO TRIPOLI
RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 002710

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA
STATE FOR U/S HUGHES; ECA DAS FARRELL
USDOC FOR 4321/MAC/WH/OLAC/PRACHER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC PREL AR
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR WAYNE'S MEETING WITH NICHOLAS NEGROPONTE ON "ONE
LAPTOP PER CHILD" PROGRAM


Summary
-------

1. Ambassador Wayne met November 22 with Nicholas Negroponte of MIT
to discuss how the U.S. Embassy can assist the "One Laptop per
Child" (OLPC) program, about to be launched in Argentina.
Negroponte underlined his interest in working with the State
Department and said he intended to incorporate an English language
teaching component in the computers, as discussed with
Undersecretary Hughes. The Ambassador offered to help facilitate
the program, which has already received President Kirchner's
endorsement. End Summary.

"One Laptop per Child" in Argentina
-----------------------------------

2. Ambassador Wayne invited MIT's Negroponte to the Residence
immediately following the latter's meeting with President Kirchner
to discuss the OLPC program and how the U.S. Embassy might be able
to assist in moving the project forward here in Argentina.
Commercial Counselor Brian Brisson and IT Industry Specialist Silvia
Yaber also participated. Negroponte said he wanted to cooperate
with the State Department, noting with regret that he had not met
earlier in the program's planning stages with Undersecretary Karen
Hughes. Negroponte said he intended to follow up on U/S Hughes'
suggestion to incorporate English language teaching components into
the laptops.

3. Negroponte advised the Ambassador that President Nstor Kirchner
received him in order to sign an agreement to field-test 500
low-cost laptops in Argentine schools before the end of the year. If
the test is successful, the Education Ministry will purchase one
million such laptops next year to be distributed to low-income
children in the public school system. The computers will cost USD
150 each. The purchase would be financed via loans from the World
Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. Negroponte noted that
Argentina will be one of the first five countries to enter the OLPC
program, along with Brazil, Nigeria, Libya and Thailand.

4. Regarding Argentina, Negroponte said that both President Kirchner
and Education Minister Filmus were enthused about the project. One
issue to be resolved is whether the children who receive the laptops
would get to keep them, as Negroponte envisions. Minister Filmus
has suggested that the laptops be returned to the schools at the end
of each school year.

5. More broadly, Negroponte shared with the Ambassador his personal
annoyance over Intel's criticism of the OLPC program. He said
Intel's announced intention to promote its own, much more costly low
cost laptops "Classmate PC," was not a problem since it was really
aimed at a different level of society and would contribute to
driving down the prices for all laptops in the market. He told
Ambassador Wayne that he was on his way to Brazil to meet with
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to announce the program there
and then to Thailand to ensure that the recently installed
government would lend the same commitment to his program, as he was
able to secure from the former prime minister.

6. Comment: The Ambassador reached out to Negroponte to offer the
Embassy as a resource in developing the OLPC program in Argentina.
Negroponte was receptive to the offer and very forthcoming in his
comments on the GOA's plans for OLPC's launch and implementation in
Argentina. The Embassy will monitor developments in the program and
seek every opportunity to make clear our willingness to provide
facilitative assistance as needed.

MATERA

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