Under Secretary McHale Visits Madrasa, Hosts Web Chat With Students in Bangladesh

Posted by Anna P. Mussman
February 17, 2010
Bangladeshi Students Attend Primary School Near Dhaka

About the Author: Anna Mussman serves in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' Youth Programs Division."Are women encouraged to join defense services?" asked a high school student from Brahmanbaria High School at a web chat hosted by Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale during her visit to Bangladesh on February 8. As students from schools throughout the country logged on to discuss issues with the Under Secretary, their questions ranged from the status of women in the United States, to co-ed versus women's only education, to whether women received equal pay with men, and how American women balanced career and family responsibilities.

"I think it is important for women to pursue a good education and be active in their communities and the political life of their country," Under Secretary McHale told the students. "I have been very impressed by the reports I heard about the December 2008 election and the number of Bangladeshis who actively participated in the elections. I am sure this included many women and their continued participation is the best way to address the issue you raised and advance their positions in this country."

Under Secretary McHale spent the morning at the Uttar Badda Kamil Madrasa in Dhaka, where a State Department public-private partnership with Relief International-Schools Online and Intel established an Internet Learning Center, started an English Language Club, trained teachers to use technology in the classroom through the Intel Teach Program and involved students in dialogue and collaboration online with American peers. At the Madrasa, McHale learned first-hand from students how access to technology and the Internet had changed their lives and how much they appreciated learning about American culture through the program.

In answering the students' questions, the Under Secretary emphasized education as a means of improving the status of women in Bangladesh and as the most significant catalyst for her own career and for American women in general. On a lighter note, when asked whether she liked to cook, the Under Secretary responded: "Hello, Pijush. I do love to cook, but as a working woman I don't have as much time as I would like. I have to say I have very much enjoyed Bengali food and would love to learn some of these recipes so I can make them for my family when I get home."

Participants in the GCE program are Bangladeshi youth and educators from urban and rural areas and from all walks of life. For most of them, computers, Internet access and opportunities for international education would be an unaffordable luxury without the support of the U.S. Department of State. The opportunity for GCE participants to virtually meet U.S. Under Secretary of State McHale underscores the power of information and communication technology to build bridges and connect people.

For more information about the Global Connections and Exchange program in Bangladesh, including a transcript of the web chat with the Under Secretary, please see the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs' website.

Comments

Comments

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 17, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Anna,

I do believe that hosting an international cook-off to gather the best recipies from across the globe, compiled into "The Official US Dept. of State Cookbook", sales of which to be reinvested in Womans issues, sustainable agriculture , etc.; might be a very edible format for public diplomacy and cultural exchange.

What do you think? Sound like a plan?

All us menfolk that can barely boil water successfully have yet to be targeted by incentive...(chuckle).

This might be just the ticket to address that deficiancy.

JoAnn P.
|
Texas, USA
February 19, 2010

JoAnn P. in Texas writes:

Online education that includes partnerships with groups like International Relief are not only cost effective, but they make learning come alive. It can destroy stereotypes while it builds bridges made of real knowledge, not antiquated text books. Bravo, Relief International!
JoAnn P., PhD
University of Houston-Downtown

nina
|
Madagascar
February 19, 2010

Nina in Madagascar writes:

the next big revolution will be third world women (hopefully)

joseph
|
Sri Lanka
February 19, 2010

Joseph in Sri Lanka writes:

Seems to be great opportunity for the kids connect with the rest of the world, this is probably the best to build capacity at the grassroots level, Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs Office and Exchange program and Relief International-Schools Online should consider doing similar project in Sri Lanka

Chaity
|
Bangladesh
February 22, 2010

Chaity in Bangladesh writes:

Hi Anna, we like your article. it was a very exciting opportunity for me to talk to Madame McHale. I live in a place which is 400 km away from our capital city and I never thought I could ask her questions. it was interesting to read the women in every corner have same challenges and opportunities.

Alone R.
|
Bangladesh
February 22, 2010

Alone R. in Bangladesh writes:

Although I didnt take part in the web chat but I read the web chat transcript. This is all very inspiring and personally I am very inspired by this web chat and I hope I can join in such web chat in future. good job,RI.

Mahmuda A.
|
Bangladesh
February 22, 2010

Mahmuda A. in Bangladesh writes:

I am very happy that President Obama is a strong supporter of women's rights. Its good to know that the first law that Obama signed was a law guaranteeing women the right to equal pay. I think Bangladesh government can also make such a law.

Lazina S.
|
Bangladesh
February 22, 2010

Lazina S. in Bangladesh writes:

I am really happy and proud to work with Relief International. Yes, its true that a new world has opened for our students through participating in online education program which is helping them to introduce about the skills of 21st century.Moreover, this program is helping them to know the culture of other countries which is very important for mutual understanding.And for this I would like to thank ECA, US Dept. of State.
We are really very happy and proud that Under Secretary Ms. McHale visited Bangladesh and gave an opportunity to our students to talk to her through visiting Madrasa and web chat.I believe its a wonderful experience for our students and teachers.

Chaity
|
Bangladesh
February 22, 2010

Chaity in Bangladesh writes:

RI-SOL,Bangladesh arranged an web conference with Ms. McHale On 8th February 2010. I feel very proud to participate at the web conference.There I throw a question for her about woman's main challenges at USA.

She replied "Like many parts of the world, women in the US have many roles and responsibilities and many challenges balancing their lives, their families, their work. The government of the United States has developed many laws to protect the rights of women at all stages of their lives."

I was very happy to get an opportunity at the conference.Thanks to Relief International and my school.

Mahmuda A.
|
Bangladesh
February 22, 2010

Mahmuda A. in Bangladesh writes:

Hello Everybody,
I am Mahmuda A. from Chowara Girls' High School, Comilla, Bangladesh.I am a student of grade 10. Our school is one of the GCE school of RISOL, Bangladesh .I was a participant of the web conference on 'Status of Women in USA'.The guest speaker of the conference was Ms. Judith A McHale, US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.I want to share about the conference with all of you.
In Bangladesh most of the women are not getting their proper right from their family & also from the society .But I think the status of USA women is better than Bangladesh.We got a scope to ask some questions about 'Status of Women in USA' to our honourable guest speaker.Many questions came from our students about the related issue and the guest speaker answered very nicely for the questions.I got a lot of information on this issue by this web conference.I think I am very lucky to participate on this web conference.Thanks to the guest speaker Ms.Judith McHale for giving her valuable time for the web conference and Thanks to Relief International and the US State Department Education and Cultural Affairs Bureau for organize the conference.
I would like to inform you that we participated on more web conference like 'Education in the USA' & 'Islam in USA'etc organized by Relief International and the US State Department Education and Cultural Affairs Bureau.From all the web conference we achieved knowledge on the related issues.I think it is a good opportunity for the students to know something about any educational & social issues by this type of web conference.
Relief International , Bangladesh established an Internet Learning Center (ILC)in our school in 2005.Our students use computer & internet in this ILC.

Thanks

Runa
|
Bangladesh
February 22, 2010

Runa in Bangladesh writes:

I am very grateful to Ms McHale that she shared her valuable opinion with us.It was really a new concept for us we asked her questions and get her replies from a remote area.I liked the whole event.Thanks to Relief International for arranging a beautiful conference.
We Bangladeshis have always have lot of eagerness to know about foreign life style. So it was a great opportunity for us to know from her about woman's status at USA.

Shammi
|
Bangladesh
February 22, 2010

Shammi in Bangladesh writes:

"President Obama is a strong supporter of women's participation in all aspects of American society. The first law that he signed as President was a law guaranteeing women the right to equal pay. It is known as the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009." It was a reply from Ms.McHale when I asked her about the policies of new government of Barak Obama for women in USA.

I feel honored to get an opportunity to have a chat with Ms.McHale.Thanks to her.

Pijush B.
|
Bangladesh
February 22, 2010

Pijush B. in Bangladesh writes:

Hello Everybody,
I am Pijush B. from Yusuf M.T.High School, Comilla, Bangladesh. I read in grade 9. I was a participant of the web conference "status of Women in USA" .I think there is a difference between the status of Bangladeshi women and USA women. We had a lot of questions about this issue. The guest speaker answered very nicely for our questions thanks to Ms. Judith McHale for giving the answers for our questions. Thanks also to RISOL and the US state Department of Education and Cultural Affairs Bureau for organize this web conference.
Previously we participated on more web conference like “Islam in USA”, “Education in USA” etc. We also participated in a video conference with USA students of waterloo Junior High School on our project “The Way We Are” during the “Education Week”09. By these conferences we achieved a lot of knowledge on the related issues. Relief International, Bangladesh established an Internet Learning Center (ILC) in our School in 2005. We can participate in various kinds of educational programs by the online and offline activities organized by RISOL through this ILC. Beside that we can use computer in the ILC which is very necessary in this current world. We are learning the use of technology from here.

Thanks

2 D.
|
Australia
April 26, 2010

TDD in Australia writes:

I was very happy to get an opportunity at the conference.Thanks to Relief International and my school.

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