Ambassador Jean Elizabeth Manes
Thursday December 14, 10:30 AM, UNICAES
* This is a courtesy translation. Only the original Spanish language text should be considered authoritative.
Graduations are wonderful moments that allow us to celebrate achievements with family, friends, colleagues and teachers. It is a moment where you can look back, see the path you have traveled until this moment and say: yes, I did this.
And if you only remember one thing from this morning’s event, let it be that feeling. Because it does not matter where you come from, what matters is where you want to go.
I do not have to tell you that speaking another language offers you many opportunities, you already know this, that’s why you’re here today. I could tell you about José Eduardo who obtained a scholarship to study in the United States at Lincoln University. Or Rosario Álvarez who now studies at ESEN, also with scholarship. Or Claudia Mendoza and Margarita Linares who are part of the Youth Council, promoting youth participation in important issues for the development of El Salvador. Or I could tell you about the many Access graduates who now have a job thanks to their knowledge of the English language.
But today we want to recognize the stories that are beginning with you this day.
At the Embassy, we follow a basic philosophy: we are here to support Salvadoran efforts. Because the reality is that it’s not the programs that change the countries, it’s the people in those programs who affect change.
You, as members of this scholarship program, have now achieved not only the ability to speak English, but also the ability to be changemaker. When we talk about change, sometimes there is this idea that all projects must be large-scale. But it’s not about a few people doing big things, but about many people doing small things, working together and constantly to achieve the same goal.
You are already doing this, with your projects where you support your own community, such as the rehabilitation of your own schools. This effort seems small, but the impact it has is great, because it has a multiplying effect.
You are the fourth class of English Access UNICAES, and with you there are now 400 young people who have graduated from this program. And if each one of those 400 help another person, they add up to 800. And if these 800 help one more person, they add up to 1,600.
That is a multiplying effect.
I share this vision that you are not the future, you are the present. The moment is now and your country needs you.
Now you all speak the language of science and technology, the language of international trade and the language of tourism. And your learning continues, whether at school, at the University, or at work. Every day you have the opportunity to learn something new. And every day you will have the opportunity to teach someone else something new.
So I want to tell everyone here: Congratulations. I wish each and every one of you success and nothing but the best moving forward. I want to wish each of you the best. I have no doubt that you will achieve your dreams.
I also want to congratulate your parents, your family members who are supporting your journey. And I would like to ask something of you today: take five minutes and think about the people who have helped you along the way to get to this moment. Who are these people? A father, a mother, a brother, a teacher, a friend. Think of them, take a few minutes today to look them up and thank them for their support, because they are supporting your dreams, your future. And after that, think: who can I support? Who can I help? Who can I encourage, to keep fighting, to follow their passion?
Each one of you can do that. Each one of you can have a positive impact on someone’s life. That is the challenge. And on our behalf we have 100% confidence in you, and we will continue by your side.