Today U.S. Ambassador Matthew Harrington, visiting U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Southern Africa and Public Diplomacy Todd Haskell, and Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture Likeleli Tampane officially launched the newly renovated, state-of-the-art American Corner. As part of the United States’ commitment to support the people of Lesotho and to promote mutual understanding between our two countries, the American Corner provides access to information, resources, innovative cultural programming, and professional development opportunities for young Basotho – all of which are available to the public free of charge. The American Corner is located on the second floor of the State Library on Kingsway Avenue and is open Monday through Friday from 09:00 to 16:30.
U.S. Ambassador Matthew Harrington said at the launch, “The American Corner is a visible symbol of the strong partnership between the United States and Lesotho, and is a place where we can gather to learn from one another.”
Through the American Corner, the U.S. Embassy provides three core services for young people in Lesotho: professional development opportunities through the YALI Leadership Innovation Hub, education advising for Basotho who want to study at U.S. universities through EducationUSA, and cultural programming through U.S. Embassy and alumni activities conducted in the space. Overall it has four goals:
- To provide accurate information about U.S. history, government, society, and values;
- To maintain an open dialogue with Basotho audiences through programs that build bridges of understanding;
- To provide access to English-language resources, computers, and the internet;
- To maximize the effectiveness of U.S. assistance and exchange programs in Lesotho.
In addition, the U.S. Embassy has partnered with local non-profit organizations including: the BAM Group Foundation, Lesotho Council of NGOs, Sesotho Media & Development, and the Media Institute of Southern Africa-Lesotho to offer weekly programming at the Corner. Some of these programs include:
- Live and virtual speaker programs featuring U.S. experts discussing topics such as investigative journalism, entrepreneurship, LGBTI and gender-based issues, and studying abroad in the U.S.;
- Networking, mentorship, and arts events for young professionals;
- Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Network events and Mandela Washington Fellowship alumni support;
- Coding and software development workshops;
- Facilitated Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and YALI courses;
- Journalism workshops focused on media professionalism; and
- Employment readiness training and CV-writing seminars.
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