WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than 300 K-12 schools in America have joined President Obama’s Connect All Schools initiative since its launching in March of 2011.
The initiative, which seeks to “connect every school in the US with the world by 2016,” is a partnership of the US Department of Education, US Department of State, and Qatar Foundation International.
According to Connect All Schools, it all began with President Obama’s “historic speech” in Cairo, Egypt in 2009 where he expressed his desire to “create a new online network, so a young person in Kansas can communicate instantly with a young person in Cairo.”
In an effort to build “global competency” by connecting US students to students around the world, Connect All Schools and its partners facilitate schools with global issues curriculum, online collaboration, youth and teacher exchanges, professional development on international education, video-conferences, and more.
For example, at Alice Deal Middle School in Washington, DC, students connected with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Syria for a lesson that examined “how the media in the U.S. stereotypes Muslims in a negative light.”
At Northwest School in Seattle, Washington, 6th grade students participated in a Global Issues unit that, according to Connect All Schools, allowed them to “see themselves in a global context and gain knowledge of how resources are spread unequally around the world.”
“This unit is about research and investigation of the interconnectedness of global issues,” says Northwest co-teacher, Heather Hall. “But the most significant aspect is the action component. Each student investigates, designs, and carries out an action in the local community to address a global problem.”
As reported in 2012, the Qatar Foundation has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and was started by the former Emir of Qatar and founder of Al Jazeera news network, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani.
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In 2006, the country of Qatar donated $100 million dollars to the city of New Orleans for hurricane recovery efforts. From that donation, $12.5 million was used to build a College of Pharmacy building at Xavier University. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa attended the groundbreaking ceremony.
Several American universities, including Carnegie Mellon, Texas A&M, and Northwestern, have established satellite campuses in Dohar, Qatar and participate in student exchange programs.
In an effort to alert these universities and others to the fact that Qatar is a “pernicious sponsor of Islamic terror,” Col. Allen West, Frank Gaffney, Jr. of the Center for Security Policy, and Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs, recently joined with several others to start the Qatar Awareness Campaign.
According to the group:
Qatar is arguably the preeminent sponsor of terror in the world today. It is a benefactor of the genocidal armies of ISIS, al Qaeda, and Boko Haram; it is involved in Taliban narcotics trafficking through a relationship with the Pakistani National Logistics Cell; and profits from operating a virtual slave state. Qatar has leveraged its relationships with violent jihadi groups to its own benefit, and to the detriment of the United States and her allies.
In addition to the Connect All Schools initiative, Qatar has gained access to America’s K-12 students through other education programs as well.
For example, Qatar Foundation International’s “flagship” Arabic Language and Culture program is offered in several US schools and districts.
In 2012, PS 368 in Hamilton Heights Manhattan became the first school in the country to implement the organization’s Arabic language course as a required course of study for its elementary students.
Qatar’s access to America’s youth, however, is not limited to online interactions and the implementation of global curricula. Last year, for example, students from New Orleans’ International High School were selected by the Qatar Foundation to travel to Doha to represent the US in a Model United Nations assembly.