U.S. Ambassador Julie Chung Honors Graduating Students Of Embassy-Funded English Language Access Programme

Shakila Ifham

December 14, 2022


U.S. Ambassador Julie Chung and Director of Smart International Program Professor Gamani Fonseka today presented certificates to 56 secondary students from Kalutara and Puttalam for their successful completion of the English Access Microscholarship Programme.  Sponsored by the U.S. Embassy, English Access is a fully funded two-year program designed to improve English language comprehension and speaking ability, build communication and leadership skills, and increase understanding of American society and culture.  The program is available at no cost to Sri Lankans secondary school students at five locations around the country, implemented by local Sri Lankan educators. 

At the ceremony, students demonstrated their English fluency by acting as Masters of Ceremony, giving speeches, performing a humorous skit, and singing “We are the World.” 

Ambassador Chung congratulated the students and thanked the parents, teachers, and the implementing organization Smart International for completing the two-year programme despite the global pandemic.  She said: “We know that English language proficiency can open doors to more opportunities for young adults.  It’s a pathway to higher education, to studying science, and to conducting business on national, regional, and global market levels.  English is key to helping build a stronger rapport with other countries around the world.”

Currently the English Access Microscholarship Programme is training 150 Sri Lankan secondary school students.  The two-year program has been offered in Sri Lanka since 2005 and provides a foundation of English language skills.  This year’s graduates join the over 1000 Sri Lankan Alumni of the U.S. Access Microscholarship programme.