AUIS Hosts Opening Ceremony of Access Program for High School Students in Sulaimani

Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 15:00

Seventy five talented high school students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds in Kurdistan to participate in a fully funded two-year English language foundation program at AUIS.  


 June 14, 2017 - Sulaimani (KRG, Iraq): The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS) today hosted a ceremony to officially welcome 75 high school students who have been selected to join The English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) at AUIS. The two-year program has been fully funded by the U.S. Department of State. The opening ceremony was attended by the students and their families, senior officials from the U.S. Consulate in Erbil, and members of the AUIS community.

AUIS started to implement the Access Program in December 2016. The program enrolled 75 talented students from local high schools in Sulaimani through an intensive application process. The program will provide a foundation of English language skills and build a deeper understanding of US history and academic values through after-school classes and intensive sessions.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Director of Academic Administration and Accreditation, Rachel Gresk, said: “As always with education, one of the most rewarding results is the growth we see in the students. English skills, critical thinking, and simple friendships have all deepened and improved over the course of a few months. I personally love that the Access program brings diversity to AUIS. We have students representing 32 different high schools of Sulaimani. This brings new experiences and perspectives to the campus, so we all benefit.”

In the last few months, students have attended classes to increase their basic English language skills, as well as lessons about topics in American history such as the civil rights movement, underground railroad, and Valentine’s Day traditions. The students have been working on their reading skills, vocabulary, and internet communication technologies in computer labs. Students also participated in a community service project, helping to pick up trash at a local park to celebrate Earth Day on April 22.

The Access Program will run for two years until December, 2018.

About the Access Program

The English Access Microscholarship Program (Access) provides a foundation of English language skills to talented 13-20 year-olds from economically disadvantaged sectors through after-school classes and intensive sessions. Access gives participants English skills that may lead to better jobs and educational prospects. Participants also gain the ability to compete for and participate in future exchanges and study in the United States. Since its inception in 2004, approximately 95,000 students in more than 85 countries have participated in the Access Program.

For more information on the Access Program at AUIS, please contact Rachel Gresk at
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