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Armenian adventure for business student

By Meaghan Whelan

After spending a summer volunteering at an orphanage in Nepal and a semester at Memorial’s Harlow campus as a part of the British Landscape and Literature program, joint commerce/arts student Tara Hayes was eager for more international experience.

When she found out about a conference aimed at exploring the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to improve educational opportunities and quality in developing regions, she jumped at the opportunity to apply.

“I was really excited when I found out I was accepted,” she said. “I’m interested in international business and this opportunity has reinforced my desire to contribute to global development.”

Last month Ms. Hayes travelled to Yerevan, Armenia, to participate in the Athgo International Global Innovation Forum for Education and Development. She and her peers from around the world listened to speakers from the private and public sectors discuss the issues facing developing countries and the ways ICT can be used to innovatively advance the educational opportunities in local communities in various emerging regions.

ICT refers to virtually anything that involves electronics. Video games, cell phones and the internet are all examples of the type of ICT that can be used to improve educational systems in developing regions.

Part of the conference involved the students working together to create proposals that have real-world applicability. Ms. Hayes and her group worked on a project related to creating funding for innovative proposals that will contribute to developing regions and United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Ms. Hayes, an active volunteer with Engineers Without Borders on campus, said that the conference helped her better understand global issues.

“Learning how to contribute to international development and to MDGs are enormous issues and the Global Innovation Forum helps bring young people that much closer to learning and understanding the depths that are needed to make a sustainable and substantial change,” she said.

The conference was organized by Athgo, an organization committed to building capacity through social entrepreneurship.