*The second annual Global Language Project’s (GLP) My Dream Speaks benefit reception took place at the stately Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle, New York City on Thursday, April 11, 2013 to benefit GLP, an innovative educational movement that provides free and comprehensive language training program to elementary school students. The event attracted supporters with the aim of raising enough funds to keep the non-profit’s elementary school language initiative strong and growing.
The Center for Applied Linguistics’ most recent report showed only 25% of U.S. elementary school students are offered a foreign language — down 6% from the previous report. Officials blame the drop on education cutbacks including the de-funding of the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Language Assistance Program in fiscal 2012.
The program selects languages based on global prominence (e.g., Spanish), and others designated as Super Critical Needs Languages by the U.S. Department of State, such as Arabic (Modern Standard, Egyptian and Iraqi) and Chinese (Mandarin).
GLP supporters raise funds to keep at least 280 students in the lessons during the 2014 school year. They also are being updated on the progress students have made this year. The program serves more than 840 elementary school students at schools in Harlem and Brooklyn. Academic research has continually shown that younger children are more accepting of other cultures and better able to master the pronunciation and intonation of foreign words. College Board has reported that for each year of foreign language study, average SAT scores in both the verbal and math sections significantly increased.
“This is an important opportunity for everyone to show that we understand the importance of teaching students more than just one language,” said Angela Jackson, GLP’s founder and executive director. “Languages help student globalize their future opportunities as adults when entering the work force. That is why GLP has an aggressive goal of providing instruction to over 6,500 students by 2015 and we will need all the help we can get to make this dream speak. ”
Hosted by beautiful Cynthia Bailey, CEO of Bailey School of Fashion and star of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” the festive event honored Morrison & Foerster, an international law firm, for its generous support of GLP including assisting foreign instructors through the immigration process so they are able to teach in the program. Rex Niswande accepted the award on behalf of Morrison & Foerster.
During her closing remarks Jackson, thanked her guests for their continued support. “Through your generous support, we are able to make dreams come true for even more of New York City’s public school children,” stated Jackson. “My sincerest thank you for your support in all efforts to the success of 2013 My Dream Speaks Benefit. You have ensured the language education of hundreds of children to an entire year of our programs.” Jackson also thanked the honorary host committee, GLP members and ambassadors, volunteers and all of the 2013 My Dream Speaks benefit sponsors. GLP ambassador Diane Clear summed up the successful evening succinctly. “Thank you for helping them to speak their dreams.”
Entertainment was provided by Grammy-nominated Les Nubians, a Afropean, Urban, R&B Grammy-nominated duo composed of sisters Hélène and Célia Faussart from Paris, France. They have become one of the most successful French-language musical groups in the U.S., best known for their Billboard R&B Single “Makeda” from their Grammy nominated album, Princesses Nubiennes. Les Nubians were the 1999 Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards winners for Best New Artist, Group or Duo and received two NAACP Image Awards nominations in 2000. The event also featured a special performance by the GLP student choir from PS 368 in Hamilton Heights, New York.
Qatar Foundation International LLC (QFI) served as presenting sponsor. HBO, IMAN Cosmetics, Skincare and Fragrances and Morrison Foerster were corporate sponsors. Forever Young Wine, Alacran and Barbara’s Flowers were supporting sponsors. Guests departed with divine gift bags containing dreamy Iman cosmetics. (Photos courtesy Global Language Project)
About Global Language Project
Global Language Project (GLP) is an innovative educational movement that seeks to equip disadvantaged public school students with the skills to compete in a globalized world and workforce. Through Speak to Succeed, GLP’s free and comprehensive language training program, elementary school students achieve proficiency in a language other than English. The curriculum emphasizes traditional and experiential learning and was created by leading educational professionals from Columbia University and New York University. For more information about GLP, please visit www.globallanguageproject.org.
About Cynthia Bailey
Cynthia Bailey is one of the stars of the hit Bravo reality show “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” and the CEO of The Bailey Agency School of Fashion. Cynthia’s biggest career moment was when she beat out Naomi Campbell for a co-starring role opposite Sandra Bernhard in her film “Without You I’m Nothing.” Mr. Bill Cosby cast this Southern beauty for two episodes of “The Cosby Show,” and other television appearances include “NY Undercover,” “Soul Train” as a guest model host, and host spots on BET. Cynthia’s commercials include Macy’s, Levis, Mercedes Benz and many more.
About Qatar Foundation International
Qatar Foundation International (QFI), LLC, is a U.S.-based member of Qatar Foundation (QF). Its mission is dedicated to connecting cultures and advancing global citizenship through education. QFI is a not-for-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. and focused on grant-giving and programmatic activities that promote education as a force that facilitates collaboration across geographical, social and cultural boundaries. QFI implements its mission through innovative educational and volunteer programs, which inspire lasting exchanges of experience and knowledge. Within its core program areas of Arabic Language and Culture, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), and Youth Engagement, QFI endeavors to explicitly link learning activities to the major global challenges of the 21st century that affect us all, such as climate change, access to education, and cross-cultural dialogue.
Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.