Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Patrick Dunn During Reception to Commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the ICDA

Welcome Remarks
Reception to Commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Instituto Cultural Dominico-Americano
Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Mr. Jose Ariza, President of Board of Directors and other

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

Distinguished guests and friends;

Good evening, and thank you, Ingeniero Ariza, for the warm welcome.  It is a pleasure to join you for this noteworthy celebration.

In 1947, a thoughtful group of Americans and Dominicans came together to design a cultural and educational institute to promote friendship between the Dominican Republic and the United States.  Seventy years later, one only has to look around this room to see the legacy of friendship engendered by these progressive thinkers.  Hundreds of thousands of Dominicans, if not millions, are alumni of its high quality English programs. They are now leaders throughout Dominican society, in academia, the business community, government, and civil society.  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 at the Dominico.

Yet the Dominico is not just famous for its English programs.  Through the years, during good times and bad, even during challenging episodes in our history, the Dominico always kept its doors open for Dominicans to learn about U.S. culture and education.  Before the Internet, the Abraham Lincoln library was one of the few sites in Santo Domingo offering free access to U.S. periodicals, and the EducationUSA center at the Dominico served as a pioneer for free advising about opportunities to study in the United States. Countless Ambassadors have visited the Dominico and given talks on everything from entrepreneurship to U.S. elections.  Just last year, the Dominico hosted a hip-hop band as part of our American Music Abroad program, which speaks to the ongoing commitment of the institution to nurture the vital cultural ties between our countries.

Later this week, I will join the Dominico to open its annual English language conference, which demonstrates how the Dominico is a national leader in English language teaching.  I’m pleased that our Regional English Language Officer, Rick Rosenberg, who is based at U.S. Embassy Panama, will join us at the conference, and that he arrived in the Dominican Republic in time to join us for this reception.

As the Dominico looks ahead to its next 70 years, in an ever more competitive digital world, we stand committed to helping it remain the premier English language learning resource in the Dominican Republic.

We are working to strengthen the competitive advantages that have sustained the institution thus far while embracing innovative ways to attract new Dominican students and teachers.  Both of our societies suffer from an abundance of information and choice in today’s world…maintaining the Dominico’s  relevance and competitive advantage is our shared challenge.

Congratulations to the Dominico for reaching this historic milestone, and thank you to its administration and all of its staff who remain the bedrock of the strong U.S./Dominican relationship and a sign of the enduring friendship between our nations.