Remarks for the Opening of American Corner at Andalas University, Padang, West Sumatra

Rector Dr. Werry Taifur, Dr Fasli Djalal, representatives of the Governor’s office, ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted to have the opportunity to visit Padang to open the American Corner at Andalas University. We hope that this new center will become the symbol of our cooperation in West Sumatra.

Before we go further, let me take a moment to recognize the tremendous contributions of Pak Yopi Fetrian who tragically passed away yesterday. Although I did not have the chance to meet him, it is clear from the lovely video tribute just shown that he brought tremendous energy, enthusiasm, and warmth of spirit to the challenge of opening this new facility. Without his dedication, we would not be here today.

The American Corner at Andalas joins a network of 10 other American Corners across the archipelago and nearly 500 Corners in 130 countries worldwide. At American Corner UNAND, guests will be able to learn about the United States through more than 700 books, magazines, audiobooks, games, CDs and DVDs. They will have online access to millions of full-text articles from scholarly journals and popular magazines.

And they will be able to make use of the Corner’s digital video-conferencing capability. During the recent visit to Jakarta of Secretary Kerry, our consulate in Medan and our American Corner in Kalimantan participated by DVC in the climate change speech the Secretary delivered at @America. We look forward to including Andalas in many future programs!

The five core programs of the American Corner are: English language programs, information about study in the U.S., U.S. alumni engagement, cultural programs, and general information about the U.S.

Through these programs, we hope to build and strengthen relationships between the U.S. and West Sumatra, showcase American culture and values, promote the learning of English so that your students will be better prepared for the future, enable your students to fulfill their dreams of study in the United States, and foster goodwill and real dialogue.

We are so pleased that the new American Corner staff will be working with our staff at the US Embassy Jakarta and US Consulate Medan to develop these programs.

Let me also say how happy I am to see so many alumni of U.S. universities here with us today. All of you are so important to the future success of our Corner here and to encouraging and mentoring more Indonesians to study in the U.S.

Andalas, one of Indonesia’s oldest and most prestigious universities, is preparing students for a global future. To all of the students here today, we want you to build on this foundation by considering the United States for your postgraduate study.

The Minang people are renowned for valuing education. It’s no coincidence such a large number of national leaders in all fields come from West Sumatra.

One of the highest priorities of the US-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership is to encourage more higher education cooperation in both directions. A U.S. degree is the worldwide standard for excellence and you can feel confident that pursuing an advanced degree from one of the 1,700 graduate degree-granting U.S. institutions will help you achieve your career goals. More and more Indonesians are taking advantage of opportunities to study in the U.S. But we must do everything we can to increase those opportunities further.

At this Corner, you will have access to resources that can help you begin your journey to study in America. You will find university guides to help you research the best school and academic program for you, in addition to test preparation materials and a vast network of online tools.

In an effort to further link our two peoples, the U.S. Embassy has placed Jennifer Zirbes, an English Language Fellow, at Andalas for this school year to assist you with further developing and strengthening English language teaching at the university and in the region.

Let me conclude by thanking again all those who have made this day possible: the Rector and his terrific team; Pak Fetrian; our Cultural Affairs Officer Frank Whitaker; our terrific Consul General Kathyryn Crockart and her team; and all our wonderful volunteers. Thank you!