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November 9th, 2011
$20 Million in Tax Dollars for Pakistan to Have a Sesame Street

LAHORE, Pakistan - Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch are nowhere in sight. But there's Elmo. And new creatures too, like Baily, a kindly donkey who loves to sing, and Haseen O Jameel, a vain crocodile who lives at the bottom of a well.

Sesame Street is coming to Pakistan but not as generations of Americans know it.

The U.S. is bankrolling the initiative with $20 million, hoping it will improve education in a country where one-third of primary school-age children are not in class.

Washington also hopes the program will increase tolerance at a time when the influence of radical views is growing.

"One of the key goals of the show in Pakistan is to increase tolerance toward groups like women and ethnic minorities," said Larry Dolan, who was the head education officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Pakistan until very recently.

The American version of Sesame Street first aired in 1969, and the U.S. government has worked with the company since then to produce shows in about 20 foreign countries, including Muslim nations like Bangladesh and Indonesia.

Perhaps nowhere else are the stakes as high as in Pakistan. The U.S. is worried that growing radicalization could one day destabilize the nuclear-armed country. Washington has committed to spend $7.5 billion in civilian aid in Pakistan over five years, despite accusations that the country is aiding insurgents in neighboring Afghanistan.

(SOURCE)
 


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