Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Joseph Pennington’s Remarks at the English Access Microscholarship Program 10-Year Anniversary Event

October 18, 2019

Thank you very much, Tim, for that kind introduction. Now, all that means —  I’ve served in all of those places, which means I’m very old. [laughter]  But welcome to all of you, especially to our Access students, teachers, parents.  I’m very pleased to be here this afternoon to celebrate Access’ 10th anniversary in Ukraine with you.

The first Access programs in Ukraine, because it’s the 10th anniversary, of course, launched in 2009, in Sevastopol, Crimea, Luhansk and Donetsk.  Over 1,200 students have taken part in the program since that time, including many of you in this room.

Access, as you know, is an inclusive program.  We welcome a diverse group of students, including students with disabilities, students from families who have been displaced by conflict, and students who are in areas near the conflict zone.

We’re very pleased that this year, 430 new students across Ukraine will join the global Access community, which includes approximately 150 thousand students from 80 countries all over the world.

For those of you who participated in Access, I hope that the English language skills, the technology skills that you have gained, along with the service learning experience, the knowledge of U.S. culture and civics, opens doors to new opportunities.  As a diplomat, I know from personal experience that learning a foreign language is very, very hard work.  It’s also very rewarding, and it sets you up well as you look to your own future.

As future leaders in business, politics, education, and other fields, your country is depending on you to help make Ukraine strong, secure, and prosperous.  Your English skills are one tool that can help you succeed.

Now that you all, many of you, have completed the Access program, I encourage you to consider participation in our other exchange programs and our alumni program.  I understand that a representative from our alumni program is to here to speak to you later during the summit about additional opportunities.

We are proud to support you, and Ukraine – to build English language skills, and to build a better and brighter future.  Thank you all for being here.  I look forward to the rest of the ceremony.  Thank you.