More than 100 educators from all over Iraq attended a conference in Baghdad sponsored by the U.S. Embassy and the British Council November 17-19 to launch the country’s first association dedicated to professional development and networking for English teachers.
The participants, representing the primary, secondary, and university levels, established an Iraqi affiliate of the international association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). This initiative, undertaken in partnership with the Ministries of Education and of Higher Education and Scientific Research, supports the development of English language skills in Iraq. It is being carried out under the Strategic Framework Agreement between the United States and Iraq.
“The delegates at this formation conference have participated in democratic elections and chosen their leadership for the next two years. Along with our friends at the British Council, the U.S. Embassy stands ready to support TESOL Iraq and its new leadership,” said Chuck Hunter, the Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy, in congratulating the new group’s founders.
Over the three days of the conference, the educators heard statements of support from Dr. Nihad Al-Jubouri, Deputy Minister of Education for Scientific Affairs, and from Dr. Firas Jabbar Mustafa, Director of Cultural Relations at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. Representatives from the Iraqi NGO Authority also pledged support for the new association and explained the process for achieving legal status as a non-governmental organization. The president of TESOL International, Christine Coombe, came to Baghdad to address and advise the group as it seeks official affiliation with TESOL International.
After the founding members ratified the association’s constitution and by-laws, candidates campaigned for positions on the leadership board. Conference participants elected a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and training and communications coordinators.
In addition to helping establish the TESOL association, over the past three years the U.S. Embassy has trained over 125 primary and secondary educators as master teachers in modern English instruction methods, furnished 50 University of Baghdad professors and future teachers with advanced training, sent over 30 teachers to international professional development conferences, provided modern teacher materials and resource centers, and held pedagogical workshops throughout Iraq’s provinces. In addition, the Embassy has trained hundreds of teachers with online programs, including TESOL certification, created an online network for teachers of English, and sponsored English teachers’ memberships to TESOL International.
The U.S. Department of State and TESOL International announced a new partnership during International Education Week (November 14-18). The initiative will expand collaboration with the private sector to leverage resources in support of advancing English language teaching globally. For more information, visit http://exchanges.state.gov/ppp/tesol-international-association.html.
(Source: US Embassy)