Remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua, Laura F. Dogu
Managua, July 21, 2017
Good afternoon Eddy Alvarado, Access Program Coordinator; María Jiménez, director of the Nicaraguan North-American Cultural Center; parents; students; invitees; and all who are present.
I recently participated in the opening ceremony of a national conference for English teachers known as ANPI NicaTESOL wherein more than 600 English teachers from all over Nicaragua participated. It pleased me to know that various participants graduated from the ACCESS program and are now studying degrees in English. Others are giving English classes.
The Access program started in Nicaragua in 2010 with 120 high school students from six cities. Since then, seven generations have already passed. More than 2,000 students have been given scholarships in total. Many of our graduates have been recipients of other scholarships inside and outside the country.
The majority of the first students who were selected in 2010 will graduate from university this year and now will form part of Nicaragua’s bilingual workforce. These young people are doing their part to contribute to the economic and social wellbeing of Nicaragua. And now, they and their families can enjoy the fruits of gainful employment.
That’s why it is worth investing in the education of young people to have a more prosperous and safe country. You all could ask why the U.S. Embassy supports the teaching of English in Nicaragua. The reason is that we believe that the education of youths contributes to the prosperity of families and the community.
Also, we believe that English provides access to knowledge. Approximately a billion Internet users speak English, three times more than those that speak Spanish. Also, the majority of books are translated to English. The English language allows one to communicate with people all over the world, considering that there are more than 1.5 billion speakers.
I want to congratulate all of you that made this day possible. The Nicaraguan North-American Cultural Center for implementing the program, the teachers that work day-to-day with the students, the parents for supporting their children, and the students for struggling through these two years of studies.
You could be thinking that you have finished with the hardest part. But the truth is that now begins the MOST difficult part. Now you must find the way to live the language outside of the classroom through conversations, books, movies, and websites. It will not be easy but these past two years were not easy either. I am sure that you can do it.
Thank you so much and congratulations on your achievement!
# # #