Bush Lauds Schooling Program Launched By Brazilian Journo

By: Mark Fitzgerald

At Monday’s “Conversation on the Americas” in Arlington, Va., President George W. Bush praised Gilberto Dimenstein, the chief political writer for the Brazilian daily Folha de Sao Paulo, for creating a non-government program that builds “24-hour teaching neighborhoods.”

“You’re not only a social entrepreneur, you’re an educational entrepreneur,” Bush told Dimenstein. “And we appreciate your vision and your hard work to make your country a better place.”

At the session, Dimenstein described the program, “Cidade Escola Aprendiz,” which he translated as “teaching neighborhood.” Essentially the program links community organization such as health clinics, theatres, charities, and universities to elementary schools, giving kids access to the resources around the clock.

Unicef earlier this year adopted the program as a model for Latin America, and last week the Brazilian government announced it would launch the program throughout the country, Dimenstein told Bush.

“There are a bunch of American companies that are supporting us, like Intel, J.P. Morgan, who are helping training, because our goal, Mr. President, is to train people in the community in order to create nets,” he told Bush, according to a transcript provided by the White House. “That’s why our program is a mix between education and communication. And we’ve learned that when we put people together it’s very easy to make the education improve.”

When Bush called on Dimenstein to speak, he started out asking what he did for a living. This exchange followed, according to the transcript:

THE PRESIDENT: And so, what do you do for a living, Gilberto?

MR. DIMENSTEIN: I’m a journalist.

THE PRESIDENT: A journalist? That’s good. (Laughter.)

MR. DIMENSTEIN: Very good?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

MR. DIMENSTEIN: Or not very good?

THE PRESIDENT: No, it’s great, believe me. (Laughter.) Isn’t it? Yes. (Laughter.)

In addition to covering politics for Folha de Sao Paulo, Dimenstein has written several books about children’s rights, and the exploitation of minors.

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