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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03KUWAIT5373 2003-11-24 09:54:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Kuwait
Cable title:  

MEPI FUNDING REQUEST--SUMMER CAMP PROGRAM FOR

Tags:   OEXC KMPI KU 
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 005373 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA DAS LIZ CHENEY AND NEA/PI ALINA ROMANOWSKI
STATE FOR R-UNDERSECRETARY TUTWILER, ECA FOR A/S HARRISON
STATE FOR NEA/PPD-TROBERTS, NEA/ARP-CKANESHIRO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OEXC KMPI KU
SUBJECT: MEPI FUNDING REQUEST--SUMMER CAMP PROGRAM FOR
KUWAITI STUDENTS

(U) SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED--PLEASE HANDLE ACCORDINGLY



1. (SBU) Summary: Post requests MEPI grants totaling
$150,000 to support two ESL summer camp programs for non-
elite Kuwaiti youth in the 12-16 age range. The local
office of ChevronTexaco has agreed to fund a $75K PAS-
initiated program that would send 10 Kuwaiti boys to an ESL
summer camp in the US this July, and post requests a
matching $75K MEPI grant to fund a similar program for
Kuwaiti girls in the same age group for August. We also
request a second $75K MEPI grant to fund a third group of
ten students in conjunction with an important Kuwaiti NGO.
Post believes that according younger, non-elite Kuwaitis in
the 12-16 age range an opportunity to mix with students of
diverse religions and national origins in a US environment
would serve to counter the lessons in insularity and
intolerance they receive in Islamist summer camps in the
Gulf, and would have an important multiplier effect on their
extended clan and school communities. End summary.



2. (SBU) Post approached ChevronTexaco with a proposal to
send ten Kuwaiti boys ages 12-16 from non-elite areas of
Kuwait to the US for four weeks in July 2004 to participate
in an English-language summer camp, and ChevronTexaco has
agreed to fully fund this program with a $75K grant to
Amideast. The camp, which is located in Palm Beach,
Florida, is part of the Global Language Institute run by St.
Scholastica College in Minnesota and focuses on English
language training for international students ages 12-17.
The program will be administered by Amideast in conjunction
with the Kuwait office of UNESCO. UNESCO has a program in
operation in some of Kuwait's public schools that focuses on
international awareness and cooperation, and can assist in
getting the word out to the target schools and communities.
Working with UNESCO will remind our audience that the US has
rejoined this UN organization and is committed to
multilateral objectives. It will also obviate the
requirement to work through Kuwait's Ministry of Education,
whose liberal-minded minister is regularly (and falsely)
accused of seeking reform of the country's educational
curricula out of pressure from the US Embassy, and who would
(we think) be hesitant to do anything that could elicit more
criticism from Islamists in the National Assembly.



3. (U) Students will be chosen based on the results of an
Arabic language essay competition on the subject of the
celebrated medieval Arab historian and thinker Ibn Khaldun,
who prefigured the western sciences of historiography and
political science in his works. The question: "In the
'Moqadema,' the great Arab historian and thinker Ibn Khaldun
analyzed the cultures and peoples of his time from a
perspective of respect and tolerance. What skills and
abilities do you think Arab students need today to carry on
that tradition of understanding and knowledge of other
countries and regions of the world?" PAS staff will read
and grade these essays for the benefit of the selection
committee, which will be composed of ChevronTexaco, AMIDEAST
and UNESCO.



4. (SBU) Post has also been approached by the Kuwait
Teachers Society (KTS), a 15,000-member organization
dominated by moderate Islamists, for help in ESL training
for English teachers and students. The KTS has expressed
strong interest in a similar summer camp program in the US
for ten students, and we think that such a program would
allow us to enhance our relationship with this important and
influential educational organization.



5. (SBU) Goal and justification: In media reports and in
conversations with mission contacts, moderate Kuwaitis
increasingly express concern about the influence of
conservative Islamist ideology on Kuwaiti youth, which is
manifested through the agency of summer camp programs,
teacher and peer pressure (as one middle school principal is
quoted as enjoining her students) "to not imitate the
Christian west," and promises to university and secondary
school students of assistance upon graduation from a
powerful Islamist network. Newspaper reports allege efforts
by school administrators to impose the wearing of the
traditional Muslim headscarf on girls whose parents do not
want their children to wear such attire, and report Islamist
ire at mild Ministry of Education plans (as yet unfulfilled)
to update social science and other curricula by removing
references to Jews and Christians as enemies who seek to
impose their beliefs on Muslims. At the same time liberal
commentators bemoan the apparent inability of progressive
elements of Kuwaiti society to offer alternative programs,
saying that liberals in Kuwait offer much talk but little
action when it comes to countering organized Islamist
programming. Concern is particularly acute for that
percentage of Kuwait's burgeoning youth population (at least
52 percent of the population is under the age of twenty,
according to statistics released last December by the
Ministry of Planning) enrolled in government schools in the
less affluent and more conservative districts further away
from Kuwait City. In these regions, traditional tribal
insularity, when combined with a dearth of non-religious
youth activities, makes fertile ground for conservative
Islamist political messages.



6. (SBU) Goal and Justification, continued: Post believes
that MEPI resources would be well spent in programs focusing
on non-elite, young Kuwaitis in the 12-23 age range that
emphasize tolerance, respect for other cultures, the value
of hard work and other civil society norms. Among the
younger segment of this group, we think that a summer camp
experience in the US is one means of influence in this
regard. As the recent Djerejian report points out, English
language skills are a sought after commodity among young
Arabs, and PD programs should use our expertise in this area
to engage audiences who might not be open to other
programming.



7. (U) Action requested: We request two grants of $75,000
each to Amideast to cover two separate summer camps--one for
10 Kuwaiti girls and one for 10 boys--exactly similar to the
one being funded by ChevronTexaco. According to Amideast,
each of the $75,000 grants would cover all aspects of the
programs, including:

--Round trip airfare for ten students and two adult Kuwaiti
escorts
--Accommodations, meals and excursions
--Health insurance
--Administrative costs
--Pre-departure orientation for students and escorts
--Meet and greet at US port of entry by AMIDEAST

Post hopes that MEPI funds will be forthcoming for these
important initiatives. Thanks and regards.

Urbancic