YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A computer center named after the late parliament speaker Karen Demirchian opened at the "Olympos" educational center in Yerevan’s Nor-Nork district Tuesday. The opening ceremony was attended by US Ambassador Michael Lemmon and relatives of Karen Demirchian and other officials who were killed in the October 27 attack on the parliament.
Lemmon announced that the opening of the center marked the completion of the pilot stage of the program financed by the US Department of State. Upon the Ambassador’s initiative–eight similar centers are to be named after the state officials assassinated on October 27. The Karen Demirchian center is the second one in the series. A computer center named after Yuri Bakhshian is expected to be opened at a Yerevan’s school on June 27th. The schools where computer centers are to open are chosen by the relatives of the October 27 victims. Karen Demirchian’s widow Rima Demirchian said that she was guided by the principle of helping the neediest when she decided on "Olympos."
The goal of the program is to enable Armenian schoolchildren to establish contacts with their coevals living in other provinces of the republic and abroad and also to learn computer skills and become versed Internet users.
$300,000 had been allocated for the experimental stage of the program that involved 12 schools in Yerevan–Vanadzor–Giumri and Hrazdan. The program is being implemented by the US Embassy in Armenia. Until recently the program has been implemented through the American contractor company Accels–now the Embassy is going to organize a new tender for the contractor.
US Embassy Public Relations Officer John Balian says the experimental stage of the program was assessed positively and the US Department of State has decided to allocate an additional $1 million for the installation of Internet facilities at another hundred schools of Armenia. The sum is expected to be provided by the end of the year. Before that–the needed funds will be provided by the Embassy in the form of a grant totaling $190,000 to be distributed among these schools. The number of applicants to the Embassy will be great; a selection will be made among them–says Balian. Applicants must meet several requiremen’s.
People living in given communities will be allowed to use the computers as well with a fee–and the money obtained will be spent to satisfy the needs of the centers.