School in Rio Slum Setting for Clinton Pitch for Education: President Touts Benefits of Globalization

By Strobel, Warren P. | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 16, 1997 | Go to article overview

School in Rio Slum Setting for Clinton Pitch for Education: President Touts Benefits of Globalization


Strobel, Warren P., The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


RIO DE JANEIRO - Bill Clinton, who has long fancied himself the education president, yesterday took his belief in the power of learning to one of the poorest neighborhoods of this Brazilian city.

The president traveled by motorcade to a model school in Mangueira, one of Rio's impoverished favelas, or slums, where he watched, open-mouthed, as four students sitting in front of personal computers exchanged messages and live video images of themselves with counterparts at a high school in Woodbridge, Va.

"President Clinton, we would like to send greetings from the C.D. Hylton High School," flashed a message from the students back in Virginia.

Having made his point about the global village's arrival, Mr. Clinton stepped outside to a small soccer field, accompanied by another symbol of globalization - former soccer star Pele, whose play helped spread the sport's popularity worldwide.

Addressing the enthusiastic crowd of students, Mr. Clinton said there is nothing that can be done to stop globalization, but he added that world leaders must find a way to make sure the poorest are not left behind.

"It is wrong for only a few to reap the benefits of the wonderful changes going on, while the many remain mired in poverty," he said.

National Security Adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger said economic reforms like those of Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Carlos Menem in Argentina have curbed hyperinflation, stabilized economies and, in Brazil's case, lifted 13 million people out of poverty.

"There still is enormous poverty here," Mr. Berger said. "But I think you have a leadership now dedicated to economic programs that are creating wealth, growth and jobs."

The students welcomed the president and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, but it was not clear as they sat in the wilting heat how much they took in of his broader message.

The school, Villa Olympica, was begun 10 years ago with help from Xerox Corp., which contributes $600,000 annually, and has been adopted by Pele. More than 1,000 students attend classes and sports programs there each year, and the school has helped reduce crime and delinquency in surrounding Mangueira. …

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