Remarks by Ambassador William A. Heidt at the English Access Opening Ceremony

Siem Reap
January 12, 2017
(as prepared for delivery)

Good afternoon everyone. On behalf of the U.S. Embassy, I would like to thank you all for coming to this opening ceremony for our new English Access students. Thank you to the Access Administrator Mr. Dim Bunthorng and Access Teacher Mr. Tout Lisovaanda for inviting us here for this program. Thank you Mr. Sam Lornn, Community Chief of the Salakumreuk Commune; Mr. Kdob Rorn Community Chief of Chreav Commune; and Mr. Lach Buntheun, Local Public School Principal, for being with us today for this program.

Congratulations to all of you who been selected to participate in the U.S. Embassy English program. Since 2004, the English Access Microscholarship Program has sponsored over 1,200 Cambodian students. This year, a total of 135 Cambodian students, like you, have started the Access Program. Your group represents the first ever Access Program in Siem Reap and joins our Access Programs in eight other Cambodian provinces.

As you know, the Access Program provides English language after school and summer classes for 13-to 20-year-old students like you. Through the Access Program, you will learn about American culture and values and gain the ability to compete for U.S. government exchange and study programs.

In today’s globalized economy, learning English is very important to study abroad or even to work in Cambodia. Many jobs now require at least some ability in English, and I believe that there are many opportunities here in Siem Reap to use your English skills in the tourism industry.

Remember that learning a language takes dedication and commitment. But you can be sure that this effort will benefit you and your families in the future. Over the course of your scholarship, I would encourage you to study hard and have the courage to practice your English language skills with any English speakers you can find.

Your participation in the Access Program is critical to building on our long friendship of trust and mutual respect between Cambodia and the United States. Even though I might not still be in Cambodia by the time this program ends in two years, I look forward to coming back to Anjali House next year and have this conversation with you in English!

Thank you and good luck!