(as prepared for delivery)
I am delighted to be here with you all today to celebrate the graduation ceremony of the Level One and Two American Language Course sponsored by the US Embassy and the US Indo-Pacific Command.
This course was one of the most successful courses in the last several years, with F-FDTL sailors improving their scores by an average of 30 percent and two sailors scoring high enough to qualify for additional training in the United States. The success of the course was due in large part to the unique situation of the courses two instructors, Mr. Robert Mitchell, and Sergeant Martinho Gutierres Teixeira. Our two instructors first met while Sergeant Teixeira was in the United States studying English as part of our International Military Education and Training Program and Robert was working as an instructor in San Antonio, Texas.
Although the two began their working relationship and friendship in the US, they had no idea that they have a chance to work together once again here Hera naval base as instructors teaching the same course. Robert’s skill and experience as a teacher, coupled with Sergeant Teixeira’s hard work, determination, and understanding of Timorese culture and language to make the course tremendously successful, enhancing and refining the abilities of the course’s 26 students.
This course highlights how U.S. and Timorese defense cooperation efforts can combine to create institutions that continue to build capacity even after their completion. By building the English language capacity of the F-FDTL naval component, we are also strengthening our mutual goals of protecting Timor Leste’s valuable maritime domain, which is rich in both natural resources and a beautiful national heritage for the Timorese people. And we are also helping Timor-Leste with its goal of interoperability the US, and her NATO and regional allies. Improving the FFDTL’s English language capacity also helps prepare Timor-Leste for ASEAN membership.
To the students of this year’s American language course, we hope you continue to study English. Congratulations on your hard work and effort! Obrigadu barak.