Remarks by DCM Mark Cullinane at Virtual Launch of “Project Jumpstart” Career Mentorship Program

Remarks as prepared
Deputy Chief of Mission Mark Cullinane
Virtual Launch of “Project Jumpstart” Career Mentorship Program
March 17, 2021

Thank you Andrè. U.S. Embassy Colleagues; Alumni of the U.S Department of State; Program Facilitators; Mentors; Mentees; Ladies and Gentlemen;

Good afternoon.

It is an honor to be with you all this afternoon for the launch of this virtual career mentorship program “Project Jumpstart – Boosting Careers, Realizing Goals”, and to be in the company of such outstanding young Guyanese from across Regions 3, 4, 6, 9 and 10. You have made a conscious decision to be part of this program to equip yourselves with the tools and resources necessary to make the best decisions to jumpstart your careers.  I am particularly pleased to see the varied areas of interests, from Biomedical Engineers to Agriculturist, from Creative Directors to Cybersecurity Data Scientists. Your goals and aspirations speak to your desire for a prosperous Guyana populated by a dynamic and skillful workforce.

Young people are a country’s greatest asset and contribute to sustainable efforts in the long term. For this reason, the U.S. Government places a high priority on youth development through programs such as the Youth Ambassadors Program, the Youth Action Network and skills training through the United States Agency for International Development.  Our ultimate goal is to harness that inherent desire in every young person to lead themselves to their own bright future which will undoubtedly contribute to a secure and more prosperous Guyana.

Through the Youth Ambassadors Program, Guyanese youth have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and become active and engaged citizens through service.  Leadership and service which is exemplified right here with the conception of this project led by alumni of the Youth Ambassadors Program. This project idea was influenced by their own personal experiences as they maneuvered their way through high school to determine their career paths and how to access information to secure jobs or post-secondary school placements in their fields of interest. They have taken the initiative to help you, their peers, identify opportunities and resources that are available to start planning effectively towards your career goals.

However, providing you with resources is only half the challenge. How do you make sense of it all and navigate your educational and career path? That is where our mentors come in.  Having the opportunity to engage with established professionals in your desired field of work provides you with insight on their experiences, the challenges and determination it took to get where they are. The guidance you will receive from your mentor is invaluable, and their ability to help you navigate the unknown paths of your desired career path and reach your goals is what makes them so important.

During my career, I would not have known what schools to attend, what career to pursue, or what steps to take without my mentors, and I am sure that the other mentors on this program will also agree. I will have an opportunity to share more on my journey during my mentorship session with some of you who has an interest in International Relations and being a Diplomat. So, I encourage the mentees to take full advantage of this opportunity and the benefits it offers.

On behalf of the U.S. Embassy, I extend a special thank you to our mentors and facilitators for your willingness to volunteer for this program as we work together to enhance the lives of young people in Guyana. I am sure it will be one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling things you’ll do to help shape the future of our young people for the better by empowering them to achieve their goals.

I wish to recognize our alumni of the 2018 Youth Ambassadors cohort; Rawletta Barrow, Manisha Singh, Raquel Meenkum, Naomi Marshall, Daniel Narsaiah, Ruth Waddell ) and Andrè Ramaldo for their stellar leadership in executing this project which initially started with a target group for twenty-five mentees, and as we see here today we have more than two hundred mentees onboard. We at the U.S. Embassy value your commitment and passion in fulfilling your social responsibilities towards the development of Guyana as you not only seek to strengthen your leadership potential but to empower your peers through the sharing of knowledge and practical experiences.

Our Public Affairs Office is currently accepting applications for the 2021 virtual Youth Ambassadors Program for Guyanese youth between ages 15-18 years as well as Adult Educators. I encourage you to visit the Embassy’s website and Facebook pages for additional information and share the opportunity with those who may be eligible before the application period close on April 12.

I wish you all a productive and successful program over the next six weeks.

Thank You.