Djibouti Language School Graduates 80 During Ceremony
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (Oct. 11, 2012) - A Djiboutian hip-hop dance troupe performs for attendees at the Noural- Imam Institute graduation ceremony Oct. 11, 2012, in Djibouti City, Djibouti. The institute, founded in 1986, is the oldest private English school in Djibouti. The school has experienced increased popularity since 2005 when the EDG, composed of camp and Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa members, began partnering with the school's instructors to share best language practices. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sergeant Joseph McKee)
Nine U.S. service members and more than 200 Djiboutians gathered together Oct. 11, 2012, during a Noural-Imam Institute graduation ceremony to recognize 80 student for successfully completing their English programs.
"English is not an easy language to learn [and only] 82 percent of Americans over five years of age speak only English fluently. This means that only 18 percent of American's speak more than one language," said U.S. Navy Lieutenant Colter Menke, Camp Lemonnier's English Discussion Group coordinator. "Every Djiboutian in this room has no doubt already accomplished [this feat]."
The institute, the oldest private English language school in Djibouti, founded in 1986, offers a four-year English program and an additional one-year advanced English program. For a handful of graduates, their journey to mastering English has taken half a decade.
"The last five years of our lives have led us to this point," said Mohammed Salah, a graduate. "I know we're graduating, but that doesn't finish our education."
Noural-Imam Institute students learned how to read, write and speak English through a variety of different classes within their program. These include physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and computer science.
The school has experienced increased popularity since 2005 when the EDG, composed of camp and Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa members, began partnering with the school's instructors to share best language practices.
"Noural-Imam is educating people from all walks of life in order to cut out language and cultural barriers among people. That is why we have the English Discussion Program, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti," said Houssein Djama Omar, 28, an instructor. "Needless to say, our students have benefited from this program. Through this program students have really benefited a lot and are even capable of understanding an American accent."
"You will be written in the pages of Djiboutian history," said Gouled Abdi Elmi, a graduate, to the EDG attendees.
The school's increased popularity has even attracted new instructors.
"I like to educate people of all walks of life so they can become good English speakers," said Omar, an instructor since 2008. "English is an international language, a language of technology and a language that brings people together."
Omar, an Ali Sabieh, Djibouti, native who visited Ethiopia for three years to master English, now works for Camp's Navy Exchange. Previously, he served as an interpreter with the U.S. Marine Corps. He also teaches an Intensive English course to the Gendarmerie paramilitary force and is fluent in four languages.
"Learning different languages is very important," Omar added.
To sum up the school's importance, student Hamze Isse simply added, "This school is a beacon. If we want peace … we have to know one another through language. There is nothing beyond our reach provided we have the will."