Remarks Ambassador Luis E. Arreaga – National Teachers Conference

Monday, 11/05/2019
Hotel Barceló, z9, Guatemala City

Excelentísimo Ministro de Educación Dr. Oscar López; Presidente de la Junta Directiva de IGA Ingeniero Carlos Salazar; Directora General de IGA Ana Silvia Ramirez; Honored guests; Good Morning.

It is an honor to join so many educators who are shaping the young minds that will determine the future of this great country. The Embassy supports IGA’s National Teachers Conference because we believe that English language teaching can be a model for innovation in education that drives economic prosperity and democratic values in Guatemala.

The lack of job opportunities triggers people to sometimes make decisions out of a sense of desperation. Too many Guatemalans are falling prey to the false promises of human traffickers, coyotes, who trick them into abandoning their family and attempting a risky, possibly fatal, journey, that is destined to fail.

The U.S. Embassy recognizes the power of educators to help stop the exodus of the youth that should be building a future here. I ask you to take every opportunity to challenge the narrative that migration is the only way to help one’s family succeed or to secure a better future for oneself.

Convince your students that they CAN help solve the challenges Guatemala faces, with education. Teach them that government accountability and transparency are possible when educated citizens demand it of their leaders.

Teach them that it IS possible to stay in their communities and build a prosperous life for themselves and their families, IF they get that education. Help them find role models who have overcome challenging life circumstances. We have some great examples of young role models here with us today.

They are graduates of the Embassy’s English Access Microscholarship Program, and they are now teaching English to younger students in their communities. Access alumni, please stand up. I am very proud of how you are helping promote education and build a better future in your communities. Thank you, please have a seat.

Teachers, I commend you for choosing to invest your time and energy in professional development. I am confident you will find this conference productive and learn excellent strategies from the distinguished presenters. As you apply what you learn today in your classrooms, you will be directly influencing the future of Guatemala, and you should be very proud of that.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank IGA and all other contributors who make this conference possible.  Your hard work and dedication do make a difference and will help the current and future youth generations to build a brighter future for themselves and their country.