Photo by Tania Vitvitsky: The Registan, since the 13th century the center of Samarkand, Uzbekistan, a country where Sabre established a new partnership in 1994
SABRE FOUNDATION, INC., is a public charity devoted to the philosophy and practice of free institutions. Founded in 1969, it has focused during the past decade on book donation, education, library and research support, and private sector growth, mainly in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Sabre is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, and is registered as a Private Voluntary Organization with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
"With my colleagues from the Slovak Academic Information Agency (SAIA) we began a partnership with the Sabre Foundation which provided more than 100,000 donated books and other publications to Slovakia. I think that this program should be recognized as one of the great success stories of Western assistance to Central and Eastern Europe.
"It may be hard to comprehend how much the gift of books means for my country. The first shipment of books to Slovakia was wel- comed with a brass band, local officials, the American Consul General and reports on national television. . . I doubt that there is a public library in Slovakia that does not have books bearing the stamp 'This book is a gift of the Sabre Foundation'. This program is well-known and continues to be one of the most visible, direct and personal forms of Western assistance. . .
"It is not just the content of the books that is important. The whole process by which a few dedicated people obtain and distribute the books has helped to reintroduce a culture of giving and of public service. Perhaps I can best explain it this way: When books from Sabre first arrived in Slovakia, many asked, 'Why are Americans doing this? What are they getting out of it?' Today, they are more likely to ask, 'When do expect another shipment of books?' or 'Is there anything I can do to help?'"
Pavol Demes, president on leave of the SAIA and director of the Foreign Policy Department of the Office of the President of Slovakia
"It was very fortunate that the Peace Corps could and can work with Sabre in distributing books to teacher training and business colleges throughout Poland. The books were invaluable to these newly created institutions. The four containers of books distributed so far by Peace Corps offices in Warsaw and the Free Enterprise Transition Center in Krakow allowed Polish colleges to set up libraries and provide students with necessary textbooks, anthologies and resource materials. This was a great help to these institutions, and it came at the right time, when they were desperately looking for appropriate teaching materials. . . We hope that Sabre will still contribute to democratic changes in Poland and in this part of the world."
Jaroslaw Pasek, Associate Peace Corps Director/ Education, Peace Corps/Poland
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