Medellin libraries get 1 million from Gates

“The Gates Foundation delivered one million dollars to the Red de Bibliotecas Medellin (The Library Network of Medellin). The recognition was made based on the innovative use of technology within the public library system of Medellin to promote community development. The prize was awarded to the Global Library initiative, a special project of the Global Development Program, which is the reknowned foundation of Bill Gates and his wife.

With this prize, recognition is sought for the innovative efforts that have been undertaken by the public libraries and related institutions outside of the United States, with the purpose of allowing public access to information and to opportunities through the free usage of IT teams and the Internet.” – El Tiempo (translated from SP)

My Take

It must be great to be the recipient of that million dollars but my worry is that the sole purpose of the grant is to get more and more people outside the Western world connected to the Internet, not to further education. The Gates Foundation is seen by me as a way for Gates to further his work in getting the world hooked and wired or in the least, giving to companies under the umbrella of larger corporations in order to further his cause.Watch this PR piece on the libraries and see how much of it is focused on the Internet or computers (pay special attention to the statistics around minute 6 or 7).

While education is important in general, I see it kind of like I see the word ‘change’. Some will say “I am for change!”, yet change can be either good or bad. Equally so, ‘education’ can mean a broadening of one’s knowledge (and in that sense, a way to open up opportunities for oneself) or it can mean a way to get everyone on the same page and learning the same things without learning the ability to question the status quo (and even if they do question it, it usually falls within the Hegelian dialectic). Words can be a powerful thing and we need to be mindful of how they are being used for our good or against it.


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