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Opening of the American Corner in Nuku'alofa

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26 March, 2010

The United States Embassy is pleased to announce the official opening of the American Corner at the Tupou Tertiary Institute in Nuku'alofa, Tonga, on Monday March 29, 2010. American Corners are partnerships between the Public Affairs sections of U.S. Embassies and host country institutions. They provide access to current and reliable information about the U.S. via book collections, the Internet, and through local programming to the general public. United States Ambassador to Tonga Steven McGann and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Frankie Reed, will officially open the American Corner.

The preliminary discussion proposing the establishment of an American Corner in Nuku'alofa began in May 2008. Set up began in August 2009 with the assistance of a Peace Corps volunteer working with local staff at the Tupou Tertiary Institute. Pending the official opening of the Corner the public were provided access to the book collections and audio-visual materials in early November 2009. Ms Fololita Takau, a staff member at Tupou Tertiary Institute oversees the American Corner.

The Embassy hopes the American Corner will become a focal point for Tongans wishing to learn more about the United States, and that the Corner will also serve as a venue for ongoing cultural exchanges between the United States and Tonga. In addition to storing information about the United States, the Embassy will also utilize the American Corner to hold talks, meetings, lectures, workshops and film screenings with visiting American government officials, experts, strategic speakers and cultural envoys.

The Tupou Tertiary Institute (Formerly the Tupou High School campus), located on Lavinia Road, Fasi mo e Afi, Nuku'alofa, is the host of the American Corner. The American Corner will be open during the Institute's business hours. The Institute offers tertiary education in Business and Management, Information and Communication Technology, Architectural and Construction Technology and Teacher Education, as well as Pre-Degree programs for the University of the South Pacific.


Further Background on American Corners

Sponsored jointly by a U.S. embassy and a host country organization, an American Corner serves as an information outpost similar to a public library reference service. The multi-media, book and periodical collections are open and accessible. Associated reading or meeting rooms are made available to host program events and activities (i.e. author readings, films, speaker programs, workshops, films, meetings, and exhibits).

The fundamental function of the American Corner is to make information about the U.S. available to foreign publics at large. At a minimum, an American Corner should consist of a collection of books in English about the U.S. The book collection may include reference titles, works of fiction, business and government publications. American Corners also provide access to U.S. information through supervised Internet access, audio and video products, CDs, and CD-ROMs. Host institution personnel staff the Corners. Access to American Corner collection is free and open to all interested citizens of the host country. Local staff are fluent in English and demonstrate programming skills.

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Embassy of the United Sate of America, 31 Loftus Street, Suva, Fiji, Office of Public Affairs, Telephone: 3314 466, Fax: 3308 685

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