Remarks by Deputy Chief of Mission at the Closing Ceremony of English Week

DCM Remarks at the Closing Ceremony of English Week
Palais du Peuple—May 11th, 2023 

Good morning Minister, distinguished guests, students and teachers.  Your excellency, thank you so much for including the U.S. Embassy in this extraordinary celebration of English language learning in Djibouti.

To all the students who participated in the debates and storytelling today—congratulations to you.  As someone who has studied languages as part of my work, I know how hard it is to master a new language. But to use your new language in front of an audience is an even greater accomplishment—congratulations!

To the teachers who helped prepare the students today—as someone who has been a teacher of English, I know the work that goes in to preparing lessons, especially for an event like this. I am delighted to join everyone here today in applauding your success.

I am proud to acknowledge the work of our very talented team of English Fellows in Djibouti—Cara, Matt and Douglas, and our visiting coordinator of English learning, Dr. Gena Rhoades.  Matt Jellick has been in Djibouti for several months to work with teachers to develop a storytelling curriculum and to help prepare the conference that opened English Week on Sunday.  We are proud to work so closely with the Ministry on the professional development of one of the most important resources for any country—its teachers. I hope you all enjoyed the first ever conference dedicated to transforming your research into action in the classroom.

And thank you to the team from Camp Lemonnier. As General Shawley mentioned, English Discussion Groups have long been an important part of the United States’ strategy for helping Djiboutians develop their English Skills.

Today is a great celebration of all the ways students are improving their English skills. But I’d like to talk a bit about some possibilities in the future for speakers of English in Djibouti.  The Embassy offers exchanges and leadership development programs through YALI—both at the East Africa Regional Leadership Center in Nairobi and through the Mandela Washington Fellowship in the United States. These programs are for English speakers. In addition, the Embassy provides grants to Djiboutian organizations and individuals who would like to develop programs that promote even more cooperation between Djibouti and the United States. This year we provided funds for English classes at the American Corner and at Hali English Center in Balbala—the application for these grants is in English.

Of course, much of the joy of learning a new language is meeting new people—and I look forward to chatting with you about your English studies and your ideas for the future.

Congratulations again.  All of us at the Embassy and at Camp look forward to continuing our English conversations—and also our strong partnership with all Djiboutians, including all the young Djiboutians here today.

Thank you.