August 16, 2019 - 10:57 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) is renewing its call on U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to support a new Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) grant that would empower Armenia’s youth through a $140 million Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) education program for the country’s public schools.
In a letter sent today to Secretary Pompeo, who chairs the MCC Board of Directors, ANCA Chairman Raffi Hamparian asked the Secretary of State to review a financial analysis conducted by the World Bank that classified Armenia as an “upper middle income” country. “This highly contentious determination - made in the face of the vast and persistent poverty outside of Yerevan and across the Armenian countryside - makes Armenia ineligible for MCC grants,” explained Hamparian.
The ANCA Chairman and Secretary Pompeo last exchanged correspondence on the matter in May of 2018, when the Secretary of State stated: “We appreciate your idea of a new MCC compact focused on STEAM education for Armenia. […] We hope to see the Armenian government make progress on MCC’s eligibility criteria (‘scorecard’) this year so that the MCC Board of Directors may consider Armenia for a compact during the annual selection process.”
The ANCA is advocating for a STEAM MCC grant for Armenia – that would – similar to the MCC compact recently concluded in neighboring Georgia – deliver over $75 million for school infrastructure improvements, $30 million for STEAM education projects, $15 million for vocational educational programs to meet the growing demand for information technology professionals, among other investments. The MCC grant would likely be apportioned over a 5-year period and would be subject to strict oversight by the MCC to ensure the program is benefiting students across Armenia.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation is an innovative and independent U.S. foreign aid agency that is helping lead the fight against global poverty. Created by the U.S. Congress in January 2004 with strong bipartisan support, MCC has changed the conversation on how best to deliver smart U.S. foreign assistance by focusing on good policies, country ownership, and results. MCC provides time-limited grants promoting economic growth, reducing poverty, and strengthening institutions.