Vice President Al Gore is known for his work on environmental issues. Now, on Nov. 17, he plans to host what’s being billed as a "global online town hall" meeting aimed at drumming up greater interest among U.S. students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The interactive event, organized through Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds program, will begin at noon eastern and aims to connect young people from the U.S. with students from around the world, and with internationally-known science and technology leaders including inventor Dean Kamen and astronaut Sally Ride.

The discussion will focus on attitudes among American youth toward math and science, and how to inspire and motivate them so they will be successful in a competitive global marketplace.

“In today’s increasingly global economy, America cannot afford to continue to fall behind the world in the very subjects that are going to drive economic growth and development in the coming decades,” said Gore.

Members of the public can join the town hall .

Simultaneous “viewing parties” are being planned in 16 TWC markets, including Raleigh, where an Exploris Middle School student will have the opportunity to address the guest panelists.

More than 200 students and local STEM luminaries including Dr. Sam Houston, president and CEO of the North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education (SMT) Center; Dr. Laura Bottomley, Director of Women in Engineering and K-12 Outreach at the College of Engineering at N.C. State University; and Jerry Heneghan, CEO at Virtual Heroes, will gather to view and interact with the online town hall; then engage in follow-up discussions that focus on local solutions for generating better student outcomes in STEM subjects.

“We want to put a human face on a very sobering statistic – the U.S. ranks 35th in math and 29th in science worldwide – to spark a new level of interest among our kids so they are prepared for what lies ahead,” said Christine Whitaker, TWC’s area vice president of operations for Raleigh/Coastal/Fayetteville.

“As parents, educators, elected officials and business leaders, we need to do all we can to encourage our youth to take an active, enthusiastic interest in STEM and connect them to opportunities that stoke this passion,” added Whitaker.

Also representing the Triangle area in this event will be 8th grader from Exploris Middle School in Raleigh.

The Raleigh event will be held at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences beginning at 11:45 a.m.

Collectively, more than 1,000 students are to participate nationwide.

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