Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Patrick Dunn at the English Teaching Conference

English Teaching Conference Opening Ceremony
Thursday, June 15, 2017


Members of the Board of Directors of Instituto Cultural Dominico-Americano;

Members of the table of honor;

International Speakers;

English teachers, distinguished guests, and friends;

Good morning, and thank you, Ingeniero Ariza, for the warm welcome.  It is a pleasure to join you today to promote the importance of English language teaching, one of the core precepts of U.S. diplomacy in the Dominican Republic.  Learning English breaks barriers, promotes economic development and has the power to strengthen mutual understanding.  When your student learns English, she or he is opening the door to higher paying jobs, increased opportunities to study abroad, and to an international outlook.  I can’t tell you the number of times our staff have interviewed prospective candidates for employment or exchange programs, only to find out that the candidates learned English in the English Immersion Program of the Ministry of Higher Education, or the Dominico, or countless other places where you all teach.  As teachers, you are on the frontlines of education, working day in and day out to break down barriers and help youth to reach their full potential.

Today, we have more than 800 teachers here in this room, and all of you are here to learn and share English teaching methods.  This conference is an extraordinary opportunity for you to gain knowledge about community-based learning, and to connect with teachers, like you, who are interested in making a difference.  I’m pleased that our Regional English Language Officer, Rick Rosenberg, who is based at U.S. Embassy Panama, is here to share his expertise, and I know you will learn much from Dr. Dudley Reynolds, the former President of TESOL International.

Over the past three years, the Embassy has provided more than $280,000 in funding to the Dominico to work in partnership with Centro Espiral Maná to provide teacher training for approximately 300 English teachers, primarily from the public sector.  In 2016 and 2017, the Embassy funded teacher training in Santo Domingo, La Romana, Santiago, and Cabarete.  I would like to congratulate the 43 teachers who have just completed TESOL Core Certificates as a result of this program.

Earlier in the week, we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Dominico.  Since its inception in 1947, the Dominico has been known as the gold standard of English instruction in the country.  Today, the Dominico continues to work with MESCYT, MINERD, and other partners to promote the professional development of English teachers.  As the Dominican Republic increases access to English instruction for all of its youth, I am sure the Dominico will continue to promote innovation and excellence in teaching.

Congratulations to the organizers for holding this enriching conference, and congratulations to all of you for the wonderful work you are doing to strengthen education in this country.