Story by 1st Lt. Katherine Roling
09.21.2010 GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Ghazni Province’s governor, Musa Khan, and the Ghazni Department of Information and Culture chief, Hamidullah Sarwary, signed a memorandum of understanding for the proposed Lincoln Learning Center, Sept. 20, at the Governor’s Compound in Ghazni City.
John R. Crosby, the Public Diplomacy field director for the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan, flew down from Kabul to be the third signer for the LLC, a project that will be a venue for the population of Ghazni province to learn about American culture, access print and multi-media resources, learn English and computer skills, and hold and attend cultural and civil society-related events.
“Today we’re going to be signing a memorandum of understanding to create the Lincoln Learning Center in Ghazni,” Crosby told the governor and the local media. “And I hope that this Lincoln Learning Center will become just one of many projects that the international community will undertake in Ghazni.”
The LLC, expected to be completed in 2011, is a government-owned facility that belongs to the people, like a public library back in the U.S. Everyone is allowed to visit the center.
“The center will have books, computers with internet connection, and we welcome all of the citizens of Ghazni, women and men, to use this center,” Crosby said.
The project will be built in the Department of Information and Culture complex, and Hamidullah Sarwary will be responsible for advertising the LLC, ensuring it is used properly and staying in touch with the embassy about its use.
“We hope that Mr. Sarwary will be very involved in developing and advertising the programs that we have. This is a joint effort and this is why we have both of you signing today and Mr. Crosby as well, because all of the programs and activities will be agreed on by both sides,” said Stetson Sanders, the lead Department of State representative with the Ghazni Provincial Reconstruction Team who is also from Sacramento, Calif.
The embassy in Kabul will be responsible for providing print and multi-media materials for the building with topics like U.S. history, politics, culture, economics, management, business, English teaching, law, civil society, music, art and film. Also included with the project are furniture, computers, internet services, and professional development opportunities for LLC staff.
“We have Lincoln Learning Centers across Afghanistan. We’re very happy that we’re going to create one in Ghazni and we hope that it will become a model center for future Lincoln Learning Centers,” Crosby told the media.
Khan was very pleased with the commitment on both sides to complete the project.
“We are happy with the program,” the governor said, thanking the U.S. Embassy and Ghazni PRT for their work on it.
Both sides agreed that the effort would benefit the people of Ghazni and signified a closer relationship for both the U.S. and Afghan government.
“The signing of this agreement today represents an important cooperation between the government of the United States of America and the provincial government of Ghazni,” Crosby told the media.