US First Lady lauds endeavors of Kuwaiti govt to improve education


Speaking at an orientation session of the English Access Microsholarship Program, a year-long English language program for students aged 14-18 administered by AMIDEAST, Mrs. Bush stressed the importance of English as a "common global language." She said that by helping students in the Middle East and other regions improve their skills in English, microscholarships gave young people the opportunity to achieve higher degrees and attain scholarships at universities around the world.


"In addition to language instruction, these microscholarships help students learn more about American culture and democratic values," she added.


Through this kind of education, students in Kuwait were able to engage in an exchange with Americans and become "better prepared to contribute to social and economic development in their own countries." The First Lady said that the Access program was one of the many "leadership development projects" supported by the US Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), which was introduced by the US State Department in 2004.


"President Bush launched MEPI to improve education, to foster democratic ideals, to stimulate economic growth, and to empower women across the Middle East. After four years, MEPI has more than 350 programs in 15 countries – programs that are improving lives around the world," Mrs. Bush noted.


On her part, Kuwaiti Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education welcomed the visiting First Lady and noted that AMIDEAST was a program that offered cultural exchange opportunities to Kuwaiti youth and boosted their English language skilled. She added that Mrs. Bush’s keenness for including Kuwait in her tour of the region reflected her awareness of the important contribution by Kuwait in humanitarian services and issues.


"We laud her (Mrs. Bush) efforts to rally international efforts for combating cancer and providing a cure, especially in poor countries," Al-Subeeh said.


A number of Access students shared their experiences with those present, explaining how the program changed their lives and made them more self-confident through providing a "fun learning atmosphere." Headquartered in Washington DC, AMIDEAST is a private, non-profit organization established in 1951. It strengthens mutual understanding and cooperation between Americans and the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa.


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