U.S. Consul General Helen LaFave visited Meghalaya for the first time September 15 – 18, highlighting several key elements of the U.S. – India strategic relationship, including educational exchanges and English language teaching collaboration, business opportunities, and developmental agenda.
She met with a wide range of Meghalaya society members including government officials, civil society stalwarts, business leaders and students. She began her trip by attending an Indian Chamber of Commerce-hosted meeting with local business leaders to discuss opportunities for greater economic ties in the state.
As part of her educational outreach Consul General LaFave met with key personnel from the Meghalaya government’s Education department to discuss the possibilities of collaborating with the U.S. Regional English Language Office (RELO) for capacity building and strengthening of English Language teaching amongst Secondary School Teachers. The U.S. RELO Office in India will support two English language specialists to train 120 secondary school teachers cum Master Trainers in Shillong over three weeks as part of the collaborative endeavors with the RMSA Meghalaya. The teacher training will focus on ways to integrate communicative language skill development using the current literature/reading-focused curriculum.
During a visit to North Eastern Hill University, Consul General LaFave addressed students on key elements in re-imagining the U.S-India relationship focusing on our educational partnership followed by a lively question and answer session. In her remarks she highlighted that, “Complementing India’s Enhanced Look East Policy, the United States supports the vision of an Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor that can help bridge South and Southeast Asia – where the Indian and Pacific Oceans converge and where trade has thrived for centuries … The Northeast plays a significant role as the region that connects India with its neighbors in the East.”
Consul General LaFave visited the famed Mawphlang Sacred Grove and was struck by the rich bio-diversity of plants, flowering trees, orchids and butterflies and the preservation of the people’s rich cultural traditions. She visited a Smit village at this time.
She also made a courtesy call on Chief Minister Sangma.
Consul General Helen LaFave concluded her Meghalaya visit by hosting some alumni of different U.S. State Department funded exchange programs who briefed her on the rich traditions of Meghalaya and their future plans.