28 January 2013

Angola: Remarks at the Opening of the UAN English Department for School of Languages

press release

Good morning. It is a pleasure for me to be at Agostinho Neto University for the dedication of the new English Department for the Faculdade de Letras. I would like to thank UAN and AMEC-Paragon, our partners in this initiative. This is an excellent example of the good work that can be accomplished through public-private partnerships.

The establishment of a new English Department for the Faculdade de Letras is the result of more than a year of work with our partners at UAN and AMEC-Paragon. The new learning space for UAN teachers and students of English is a testament to the support of the US Embassy and our partners for youth and education in Angola, with a particular focus on English Language.

Angola's future depends on our support for the education of the next generation. Like most of Africa, Angola is a county with a young population and vast potential. The next generation needs the tools to achieve their goals. Ultimately, the youth will be the future doctors, engineers, teachers, and professionals of Angola. It is exciting to be here at UAN as so many bright, eager students work toward their dreams.

The UAN has a special role to play in this process as the oldest public Angolan university. I graduated from and taught at a public university in the United States and can personally attest to the importance of these institutions. Public universities provide thousands of students with the opportunity to obtain an education at an affordable cost.

AMEC-Paragon is an equally important partner in this initiative. Their strong support for education, and in particular English language education, is representative of a desire amongst international companies to provide relevant skills to young Angolans. Investment in education translates into a more highly skilled workforce and greater opportunities for future generations.

Frequently, I am asked by young Angolans how they can increase their likelihood of success. There is no secret that education is a key. In particular, the knowledge of English language will open doors for future employment. English is the language of SADC, technology, and international commerce.

US Embassy support for English language consists of initiatives that focus primarily on teachers. Teachers act as multipliers in spreading their knowledge to students. I commend all the English teachers at UAN for their commitment to helping young Angolans learn English.

Our flagship initiative is the English Language Fellow program through which we place American English language teachers at Angolan institutions for 1-2 years. These fellows assist in curriculum development, providing current teaching strategies, and teaching classes. We have two fellows in Angola with one more arriving soon. I am proud of the support American businesses in Angola give these and other social investment projects.

In fact, one of our English fellows is currently working at the UAN. In the audience we have with us Ms. Alexandra Rubens, who has been working at the English Department of the Faculdade de Letras da UAN since her arrival a couple of months ago. We believe Ms. Rubens will make a lasting and positive impact on English education at the Faculdade de Letras.

Once more I would like to thank our partners UAN and AMEC-Paragon for their collaboration in supporting education and youth in Angola. Let me reiterate that an investment in the youth is an investment worth making.

Thank you.

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