American Consulate General Celebrates English Access Microscholarship Graduation in West Bank and Gaza

From January 31 to February 24, 1,350 Palestinian students from the West Bank and Gaza graduated from the English Access Microscholarship Program — an 18-month program that requires students to spend several hundred hours after school and during summer holidays learning and improving their English.

The Access program, funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by AMIDEAST, is not simply a language program; Palestinian students also engage in community service and cultural activities, they learn public speaking, build other job-related skills, and more.

Three graduate ceremonies were held at the Movenpick Hotel in Ramallah for graduates from the West Bank on January 31, February 7, and February 14. American Consulate representatives attended each of the graduation ceremonies and handed out certificates for the graduating Access students, who will now join the ranks of the almost 9,000 Palestinian alumni of the Access program.

For the Access graduation in Gaza held on February 24, American Consul General Michael Ratney addressed graduates via recorded remarks, and commended them on their commitment to the Access program. He said, “I have had the opportunity to meet many Palestinian Access students, and have been impressed by their enthusiasm for studying English. The Access students in Gaza must be specifically acknowledged, though, for their achievements, especially since many have had to overcome great adversity in order to be where they are today and be leaders of change in their communities.”

The graduating Access class is the eighth class of students to participate in the program since its inception in 2004.  Representatives from the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and UNRWA, Access teachers, families and friends, and AMIDEAST staff also attended the festive graduation ceremonies.

The Access program seeks to develop the English language skills and capabilities of promising and deserving Palestinian high school students, and provides them an opportunity to participate in a substantive, sustained program of private English language training program. Access scholarships are funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, via the American Consulate General in Jerusalem and in partnership with AMIDEAST.

For more information please contact the Consulate General Press Office at 02-622-6909 or Information Specialist Naser Ideis at 054-542-0943.