(As Prepared for Delivery)
KOTTAYAM: Namaskaram! I always enjoy traveling to the beautiful, historic state of Kerala to represent the people and government of the United States. It is a pleasure for me to be here again to inaugurate this American Corner in Kottayam.
This Corner – the eighth and the newest in India – is the result of strong cooperation between the Kottayam Public Library and the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai. We are very honored to be associated with the Kottayam Public library as our host institution.
Our eight American corners throughout India bring us closer to people across the country, and we hope that will be especially true here in Kottayam.
I would like to thank the Honorable Chief Minister of Kerala Mr. Oommen Chandy, Mr. Radhakrishnan and Mr. Mani for being here with us on this noteworthy occasion.
We particularly thank the Kottayam Public Library and its President Mr. Abraham Itticheria for being host of our first American Corner into Kerala. Kottayam was chosen as the site of our newest American Corner after careful consideration. Kottayam is important as a historic, cultural, and economic center of Kerala. We also recognize that Kottayam is the first district in India to achieve one hundred percent literacy.
As the “Land of Letters,” we believe Kottayam’s citizens will make excellent use of the Corner and the materials here. These are excellent reasons for us to choose Kottayam for a start-up of this knowledge-base.
The American Corner in Kottayam joins the ranks of around 400 other American Corners throughout the world.
The American Corner program is a U.S. Department of State-sponsored, worldwide initiative, which is built upon the core concept of partnership. American Corners serve as regional resource centers to provide accurate and current information about the political, economic, cultural, educational, and social trends in the United States. They also help foster open dialogue on issues of mutual concern and build bridges of understanding.
This, Kottayam American corner joins seven others located in Chandigarh, Lucknow, Patna, Guwahati, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Bangalore.
The American Corner collection here in Kerala includes more than 400 books, magazines, DVDs, information on higher education in the United States, resources on English language, a children’s collection, and access to online databases through eLibraryUSA;
Our services include guided Internet access, and information for Corner goers about upcoming programs and events organized by the Corner and the U.S. Consulate. We hope this will be a place where people can learn more about, and connect with, the United States.
I invite the people of Kerala to visit the Corner and explore our resources. In particular, we welcome students – India’s future leaders – to the Corner to learn more about the world and issues of shared global interest.
I once again thank the Kottayam Public Library, our partner in this initiative – and Chief Minister Chandy for making today’s inauguration additionally special through is presence.