Ambassador Lynch Delivers Remarks at ABET Accreditation Webinar

Remarks as prepared
Ambassador Sarah Ann Lynch
Webinar – A University in Transition: Engineering Accreditation for a Sustainable Economy (EASE)
June 3, 2020, 1:00 PM
Via Zoom

Good afternoon. It is wonderful to speak with you today on this very important and timely topic.

Before I begin, though, there is something I need to say, as an American, and as a human being. You may have seen the video of the American George Floyd who died while in police custody in Minneapolis last week. His death sparked a wave of protests around the U.S. and around the world of people demanding accountability and justice. There is no one in our Embassy community who has not been affected and disturbed by what happened, including those who are related to or who are themselves members of the law enforcement community. As the judicial proceedings around this event and the conversations about race and racism continue in the United States, I just wanted to acknowledge that this issue is a painful one that our country continues to struggle with. Racism in all its forms, whether active or passive, should not be tolerated anywhere. [Thank you for allowing me the time to make that comment.]

On to the Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology (ABET) Webinar.

It is a pleasure to see the Chancellor, Professor Eddie Greene, Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Paloma Mohammed-Martin, and Exxon Country Manager, Rod Henson all here today.  I know there has been a lot of hard work put into today’s event and this process in general, and our remote participation  underscores the simple fact that we would not be having this conversation if not for the advances driven by students and professors of ABET-accredited institutions, whose research drove the technology we are using today.

This event, of course, is part of the accreditation process for the Faculty of Engineering and Technology, and I am extraordinarily proud that we have been a part of this process.  For the last several months, Professor Norman Munroe has been at the University of Guyana under the Fulbright U.S. Scholar program, which is one of the U.S. flagship exchange programs that brings American academic expertise to countries around the world to teach and conduct research. They say that successful Fulbright programs are those that have multiplier effects in the host countries, and by today’s attendance I can safely say that this program has been successful. Of course, it is really the end of the beginning, since I understand the accreditation process takes about a year and a half, and stakeholder input is necessary to not only obtain accreditation, but to keep it.

So, to this audience I don’t need to sell you on the value of engineering and technology for Guyana’s future. You understand how important your chosen career path has been, and will be, for Guyana’s prosperity as an oil-producing nation. Employers will speak later this afternoon about the importance of engineering backgrounds.  What I want to emphasize, though, is the value of the accreditation from an internationally recognized body such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology.  Achieving ABET accreditation for UG’s programs will increase opportunities for international employment, advancement and prosperity for graduates and allow Guyana to unlock the opportunities provided by the oil industry. There is only one ABET accredited institution in all of the Caribbean, and I look forward to UG becoming the second.

And this accreditation requires all of you – the University, the Engineering community, employers, students and alumni alike –  all having a mechanism to communicate and make decisions about the needs for today’s and tomorrow’s engineers. The peer review process is a key component of ensuring that programs meet top-tier global quality standards for engineering. The Embassy is happy to have played a role in bringing you together today; I hope that this trend continues. I would like to salute the ABET team at the University, the champions of the accreditation process thus far, led by Professor Munroe, including Dr. Anna Perreria, Ms. Elena Trim, and Mr. Anil James. I would also like to recognize Dean Verlyn Klass whose leadership has been, and will continue to be, key in this process.

ABET accreditation assures prospective students, peers and the professions served that the program has received international recognition of its quality and promotes “best practices” in education. It’s a vital step in ensuring that the people of Guyana will have a leadership role in achieving national and regional prosperity. The Embassy stands ready to help wherever we can in this process.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak at this wonderful event today.  And, congratulations on reaching this important milestone!  Thank you!!