Remarks as prepared
Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch
Opening of the American Corner Guyana
October 28, 2021
Representative from the Ministry of Education,
Director of the National Library Ms. Emiley King,
Members of the National Library board of directors,
National Library and American Corner staff,
Members of the American Chamber of Commerce,
Members of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning and a warm welcome to all. It is with great pleasure that I stand before you in person to participate in this wonderful event to officially recognize the opening of the American Corner in Guyana.
With more than 650 locations worldwide, American Corners are just one of the ways we describe venues that are funded by the Department of State’s American Spaces program. Spaces may be called spots, centers, bi-national centers, or corners, depending on a variety of factors. Descriptions and missions have included libraries, schools, even theaters, but one defining component has never changed: people. American Spaces are, and have always been, places where people meet people, express themselves, and listen. These are the places where people learn and share ideas, or cordially debate a sensitive topic—often all while learning English and other skills.
That is why it is so fitting that the newest American Space in the Western Hemisphere is here at the National Library of Guyana, and it is called the American Corner of Guyana at the National Library. This library is all about its patrons and the people of Guyana. I visited the library before the pandemic and was impressed with the variety of programs that exist to engage Guyanese in the love of learning. In 2020, the U.S Embassy received funding to open this Corner, and the staff, under the direction of Ms. King, have worked hard with our public affairs section to make this space a resource center for learning about educational opportunities in the United States, a meeting place for discussions, and a space for National Library outreach programming.
To ensure the safety of all participants, the American Corner will offer a series of blended programming in the areas of entrepreneurship, English Language, STEM, Information and Literacy, and the corner will provide resources and information on studying and participating in educational and cultural exchanges in the United States.
So far, two programs have been piloted at the American Corner. The English Alive Language program was taught virtually for six-months and 12 students from the Venezuelan migrant community gained the basic skills for conversational exchanges in their new Guyanese communities. Looking ahead, the Corner will accommodate refugee leaners at the Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced levels with the aim of helping them to adapt to local culture.
In September, 39 students graduated from the first cohort of the Entrepreneurship Learning Program held from August 3rd to September 3rd. The program introduced the building blocks of business and entrepreneurial thinking to children from the ages of 7 to adults. Coming out of the program, students were able to present their business ideas and gain knowledge to strengthen their existing businesses where applicable. This program was supported by the American Chamber of Commerce, through a group of volunteer members who worked hard to prepare the curriculum and provide volunteer teachers.
The efforts of our partner, the National Library of Guyana to organize and execute these activities must be commended. All these programs have been their brainchild and it is truly a testament to the work and impact of this organization. Kudos to the Chief Librarian, Ms. Emiley King and her hardworking staff, Lesa Gilgeous and Ava Yarde who have been managing and will continue to manage the American Corner’s activities.
This initiative is one of the many efforts of the U.S government to build the capacity of Guyanese people and to promote prosperity for all Guyanese through literacy and education. Our vision is that this Corner will grow, and the impact will be marked by increased prosperity for each and every Guyanese citizen.
Thank you very much!