Remarks by Ambassador Yamate at the Launch of the Access Program

Embassy Multi-Purpose Room
Wednesday, February 28, 2016

I am so very happy to celebrate this landmark with you here today. The United States Embassy in Madagascar is committed to supporting the advancement of the English language, and we are proud to be able to extend the English Access Microscholarship program to Thriving Youth Madagascar Association. (TYMA)

Let me start by congratulating all parties in making today’s event possible. I am grateful for TYMA’s diligent work on the selection of the Access program students. Thank you for setting high standards as we strive for excellence in the promotion of the English language. I am confident that this cohort is just the beginning of many more to come.

I also would like to thank the parents present here today. Today’s event is to celebrate your children’s selection into the program, but I hope you also consider it your own success, as you have prepared them to be competitive and ready to explore new horizons. Thank you for your unwavering support and encouragement as they begin their two-year Access program.

Now, I would like to take a moment to address all of the students selected for ACCESS program. Congratulations for being chosen for this wonderful program. You are being given a great opportunity. Run with it! I hope you all will work and study hard during your time as Access students. While learning English is exciting and interesting, it will also probably be also challenging and confusing at times. Learning a new is not about memorizing words, greetings, and phrases; it involves learning a new way of thinking, a new way of seeing the world. You will learn that Americans and Malagasies have many common values, but also some that are different. Don’t be afraid of having your beliefs challenged. Be brave, keep an open mind, don’t be afraid to make mistakes or laugh at yourself, and have fun practicing your new English skills.

Today you become part of a big Access family. So far, more than 100,000 students from almost 100 countries have participated in this program. They’ve learned English, learned about American culture, and taken what they’ve learned to build better lives for themselves. I’ve seen some of the success stories over my time here in Madagascar, and I have high hopes for this new group of young scholars. I know you too will go on to make your parents, your teachers, your friends and your fellow Malagasies proud of you. Most of all, I know that when you have completed this two year program, you will be proud of yourselves.

Thank you for coming to the Embassy today to celebrate your day with me and the Embassy staff. While I will be leaving Madagascar soon, I will be following your progress from my home in the U.S. Someday, when some of you are attending university there, or on a business trip, or just taking your family to Disneyworld, I hope to see you and here how this program contributed to your success and happiness. I wish you all great success on the journey ahead.