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US Consulate General Kolkata celebrates English Access Scholarship Program Graduation

US Consulate General Kolkata celebrates English Access Scholarship Program Graduation

| @indiablooms | 30 May 2024, 10:20 pm

Kolkata/IBNS: In partnership with the Regional English Language Office (RELO) of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, the U.S. Consulate General Kolkata, and the International Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM) Kolkata, hosted the graduation ceremony of the English Access Scholarship Program today at the American Center in Kolkata.

The event marked the successful completion of two transformative years for the latest cohort of the U.S. State Department’s flagship English Access Scholarship program. 

Twenty-five young students, all Rugby players and Kolkata-based first-generation learners celebrated their significant achievements.  These students have made tremendous progress since their initial English language assessment for program induction. 

Throughout the program, the students participated in both virtual and in-person cultural exchange sessions with other Access students worldwide, designed and led sustainable community service projects, and learned about the values of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA). 

Additionally, they took part in an intensive camp focused on youth development and environmental activism.

The graduation ceremony featured presentations on the students' achievements, their climate-change-related campaigns, and inspiring alumni stories.  Attendees included the students' parents, IIHM faculty, and young players from Saraswatipur, North Bengal, who use sports as a tool for community empowerment. 

The Access program underscores the U.S. Government’s commitment to supporting underserved communities in achieving success and highlights the English Access scholarship program as a catalyst for social change.  It also emphasizes the importance of youth in leadership roles.

Apart from the successful students, the occasion was graced by Consul General, U.S. Consulate General Kolkata, Melinda Pavek, Assistant Public Affairs Officer and Acting Director of the American Center Juan Clar, IIHM Director Sanjukta Bose, IIHM Assistant Professor Rupa Datta, Paul Walsh from sports NGO Jungle Crows and other teachers.

In her address, Consul General Melinda Pavek praised the students for their dedication and resilience, stating, “These students exemplify the true meaning of inclusion and perseverance.  Over the past two years, they have not only enhanced their English language skills but also embraced the core values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.  They have demonstrated remarkable commitment through their cultural exchanges, community service projects, and environmental activism. 

"Their journey is a testament to the transformative power of education and the impact of the English Access Scholarship Program.  Today, we celebrate their achievements and look forward to the bright futures they will undoubtedly create.”

The English Access Scholarship Program is a U.S. State Department-sponsored global initiative that provides English communication skills to talented students from socio-economically disadvantaged communities and includes activities focused on volunteerism, leadership skills, global awareness, and developing an appreciation of Indian and American democratic principles so that participants are better able to successfully compete for opportunities in higher education and the job market. 

The classes were led by four English language teaching professionals who used a learner-centred communicative language teaching approach. To ensure the quality of teaching, they received regular professional development by an expert trainer, as well as multiple training opportunities provided by RELO.

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