Hello Kabul, this is Bucharest calling!
A new video teleconferencing (VTC) facility, made possible via the NATO Virtual Silk Highway project, connected students at the Young Atlanticist Summit in Bucharest on 2 and 3 April with their counterparts in Kabul University.
The students participated in a question and answer session with the NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, and they also exchanged views and opinions with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the American First Lady Laura Bush.
The NATO Virtual Silk Highway, operational in Afghanistan since 2006, provides affordable, high-speed Internet access via satellite to the academic communities of the Caucasus and Central Asia. Through the Virtual Silk Highway, NATO provides the academic community in Afghanistan with access to modern technology, tools and expert advice.
One example of new technologies being exploited during the Bucharest Summit on 2 and 3 April is video teleconferencing. NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer addressed students at the Young Atlanticist Summit running in parallel with the NATO Summit. The American First Lady Laura Bush and the Afghan President Hamid Karzai also spoke to the students in Bucharest. These events were streamed live to Kabul University through video teleconferencing technology made possible through the Virtual Silk Highway.
These events provided unique opportunities for students in both countries to exchange views on current and future security challenges. They were designed to promote a better understanding of the Afghan perspective with regard to the achievements completed and the challenges still remaining.
In addition to the video teleconferencing facility, the NATO-PDD SPS project has connected 8 of the 14 faculties of Kabul University to a campus network. The other main civilian higher education institutions in Kabul and research and educational institutes of the Ministry of Defence, including the National Military Academy of Afghanistan, will also receive high-speed Internet access through the Virtual Silk Highway project.
Under the Declaration by NATO and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to maximize the potential of the Virtual Silk Highway, the NATO-PDD SPS Programme will continue assisting the Afghan authorities in paving the way for developing their educational system. The connections of the remaining faculties on Kabul University and other institutions in the capital are expected to be completed by the end of 2008. In 2009 work will begin to expand the network to six universities in the provinces.