Good afternoon ACCESS students, I am very happy to be here with you today.
I want to thank Lic. Marìa Teresa Carrillo Bogard, Lic. Roberto Roberto Alvarado Copto, Astrid Mariana, teachers and school principals for hosting us today. This visit with ACCESS students would not be possible without the strong partnership of the Franklin Institute on the ACCESS program. We want to thank the Board for their great support in doubling the size and impact of ACCESS through cost sharing. We are positive that your, and our, investment in these young people will be very fruitful.
I’d like to express my gratitude towards Jenn, Leigh Ann, Will, Anthony and Kevin, members of the zydeco band Mo’Mojo, for choosing Mexico as one of the countries in their Latin America tour. As you will learn over these few days in Veracruz and Yucatán, the Mexican public is a very engaging audience and warmly shows their deep appreciation for foreign artists.
Thank you all for being here on a Saturday afternoon. Living in this beautiful coastal city, I’m sure you could be at the beach, but I assure you, it will be worth your while. Not only will you practice your English skills, but you will also get to learn more about a very interesting U.S. genre of music, zydeco.
My mother was an opera singer, pianist and music teacher, so ever since I was a young boy, I learned to appreciate music as an art form and skill. The US embassy and consulates in Mexico also firmly believe that music is an international language that we share; it’s a way to make new friends and to share our cultures, ideas and beliefs. That is why we bring music ambassadors, like Mo’Mojo, to get to know students like you who can show them things about Mexico they may never have known before, and to help you learn a lot more about American culture.
I know Mo’Mojo will explain more about zydeco music, but I want to ask you- who here knows what is zydeco music? (Pause to see response.)
Let me give you a brief preview: zydeco is the music of Southwest Louisiana’s Black Creoles, a group of people of mixed African, Afro-Caribbean, Native American and European descent. This society is traditionally rural, French-speaking and is somewhat intertwined with the Cajun culture.
Did you know February is Black History Month? This is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the significant contributions they have made in the US. Mo’Mojo’s visit to Mexico at this time gives us the opportunity to highlight both zydeco music and a part of US history.
I want to thank you for welcoming me to the Franklin Institute of Veracruz. It makes me very happy to be able to congratulate the first group to graduate from the English Access Microscholarship Program in Veracruz—muy bien! And for those of you who have just begun ¡échenle muchas ganas! You will all see that English will open many doors for you in the future. It is never too soon to begin thinking about your future college career and studying in the U.S., or looking at different exchange opportunities, including graduate studies funded by the Fulbright-García Robles program, supported by both the United States government and the government of Mexico. Our colleagues from EducationUSA offer a great service in assisting you in exploring these options.
Your closest advising center is located at the Universidad Veracruzana in Xalapa.
Before I say goodbye, I want to invite all of you to the free concert Mo’Mojo will be performing tonight at 7:00 pm at the Teatro de la Reforma.