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Dec 5, 2023, 6:15am EST
politics

US tech firm helps Ukrainian students learn remotely

Ukrainian Presidency / Anadolu via Getty Images
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The Scoop

The American technology firm Cisco worked with the U.S. and Ukrainian governments to provide 1,600 schools in Ukraine with routers to allow students to join classrooms virtually during Russia’s war.

Laura Quintana, vice president and general manager of the Cisco Networking Academy, told Semafor the delivery, which will be announced Tuesday, will help students who have been displaced within Ukraine or those who are stuck in shelters taking cover from Russian air attacks. One thousand video cameras will go to teachers who need to work remotely.

Cisco is also providing telecommunications equipment to five universities in Ukraine to help train up new cybersecurity experts as part of the Cisco Networking Academy, a global IT and cybersecurity program that has been operating in Ukraine since 1999.

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Know More

The company worked with the U.S. Agency for International Development and Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science on the donation, which has been under discussion for months.

Eric Wenger, senior director for technology policy on Cisco’s global government affairs team, told Semafor the idea first originated during a conversation between the company’s CEO Chuck Robbins and USAID Administrator Samantha Power. Wenger, who estimated that the equipment is worth $7 million, argued that donations like these would ultimately help Ukraine stabilize and attract foreign investment post-war.

“Obviously, you have to think of the reality of what life is like right now but you also have to give people hope for there being a future in the country afterwards,” he said.

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In a statement, USAID Deputy Administrator Isobel Coleman said the donation “is making a tangible difference for Ukrainian children while helping Ukraine strengthen its long-term cybersecurity, demonstrating what can be accomplished when the government and the private sector work together to address urgent needs around the world.”

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Step Back

The announcement comes as the U.S. Congress wrestles with how and whether to pass additional military, economic, and humanitarian support for Ukraine.

Cisco has recently made other contributions to Ukraine. CNN reported last month that the company custom built equipment to help keep Ukraine’s power grid operating in the winter despite a barrage of Russian attacks.

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