03 July AC through the help of the PCVs we had USA Independence Day. We invited patrons that attend the AC regularly, decorated the room, and made a book exhibition. AC partners were Peace Corps volunteers Corinne and Nick Huber. After the 04th of July presentation, the patrons started to create Independence Day Artworks.

There was an outdoor game tossing balloons filled with water called "balloon toss". The event turned out to be very nice and interesting. Patrons were able to take home their Independence Day Artworks and the groups with the best artwork received prizes from the Embassy such as: Flag pens, Yo-Yos, and U.S. Flag shaped magnets. At the end of the event all the participants had a tea party.

Result: Fifty participants knew more about American history, and got prizes from the U.S. Embassy. Each participant received a Certificate of the 4th of July Art Competition hosted by the AC and Peace Corps Kazakhstan.

Four Peace Corps volunteers Erica McMahon, Elena Augustine, Melissa Murphy and William O’Roark from Karaganda organized a Jeopardy Game for the community, dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of Peace Corps.

It was hosted by the American Corner Karaganda and participants from all of the clubs that are currently going on could participate in it.
Contestants were given study guides to prepare beforehand and then were asked a series of questions relating to the study guide.
All the teams and users received questions on five topics "American history study guide", "Jeopardy PCV info study guide", "Peace Corps history study", "Pop culture Study sheet", and "Peace Corps Kazakhstan".
Participants got nice t-shirts with the PC logo and the winners were given special PC mugs!

As a result, participants learned a lot about history and present of the Peace Corps. Also, PC volunteers got letters of appreciation from the host Library for their amazing contribution to the life and activities at the American Corner in Karaganda.

On June 19, seven officers from the United States - six law enforcement officers and one teacher-visited AC Karaganda and met with future policemen from the Karaganda police academy and local youth. Two groups- one English-speaking and the other Kazakh/ Russian -speaking asked a great number of questions regarding the work, life, and hobbies of the American policemen. Of course, many questions were posed regarding the training course for the Drug Awareness Resistance Education (DARE) program that the U.S. policemen have been are conducting in Astana.

This DARE program works with schoolchildren to discourage both drug use and violence. It has been implemented in about 75% of American schools and 43 countries. Kazakhstan will be the first country in the former Soviet Union to adopt the program.
During the two-week training course, the American officers will work with 30 school inspectors, who will then teach the program in their schools. Over the course of the next few years, we hope to teach a much larger group of inspectors so that the program can be taught widely throughout Kazakhstan.

As a result, about 30 future Kazakhstani policemen and a dozen of local English-speaking youth learned about the DARE program, about work and challenges of American policemen and got rid of Hollywood stereotypes about American police!

On June 14, the American Corner in Karaganda offered a special event to the members of the English Reading Club.

It was connected with the 200th anniversary of the birth of an great American author Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811 - 1896). Her novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" written in 1852 depicted life of African-Americans during slavery times. It reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and many other countries. She wrote more than 20 books, including novels, three travel memoirs, and collections of articles and letters, but "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was her first and best-known novel.
Also our AC and host library has her books in English and Russian. We made an information board about her life for the patrons; during the club session we actively used Virtual library (Literary Resource Center EBSCO host) and got acquainted with bicentennial programs at the Harriet Beecher Stow Center.

Result: fifteen users participated in the Club session and learned more about this great American writer.
They expanded their knowledge about American literature using Virtual library and started reading "Uncle Tom's Cabin" in adapted version. Also, we started filming our AC activities, and this event was registered on video!

On June 13, the American Corner Karaganda organized an event dedicated to the U.S. Flag Day.

We decorated the room and made a thematic book exhibit.
Peace Corps volunteer William O'Roark told the audience about the history of the Flag Day. It was June 14, 1777 when the U.S. Flag was adopted. The person who created the first U.S. Flag was Betsy Ross, and the design of the flag has been modified 26 times since it was first adopted in 1777. Since 1959 the current US Flag has been in use.
After the discussion, William organized a short quiz and exercises.

Result: About thirty people got acquainted with the history of the Flag Day and participated in the quiz. And we all learned more about American celebrations and American history.

Contributions of Asian Americans to U.S. culture are honored in May

On May 29, the American Corner Karaganda organized a Round table dedicated to the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May.

Peace Corps volunteer Erica McMahon told the audience about the history of this celebration that started in 1978 as an Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.
Later, in 1990, President George Bush Sr. extended the celebration to one month. Americans with Asian roots present the third largest population group in the USA - there are over 15 million people with Asian/Pacific background. In the USA, this month is celebrated through local festivals, presentations of traditional cuisine, parades, and various performances. Many schools and institutions offer educational and cultural activities.

As a result, the Round table participants learned about American traditions and values. Also, we placed information about the celebration on the AC Info board for other library patrons.

Staring May 10 till May 26, the American Corner Karaganda offered an educational workshop "Contemporary Methods of EFL Teaching" which was organized in cooperation with the National Association of Teachers of English in Kazakhstan (NATEK) headed by Ms. Jantassova. The workshop was conducted twice a week and attracted over 20 English teachers from Karaganda higher learning institutions.

The trainer was Marc Metzler, an English Language Fellow, who used the extensive AC resources for the workshop. Also, he used effectively the Virtual Library that was provided to the AC by the U.S. Embassy Astana. During the workshop, the participating teachers learned many new innovation methods of foreign language teaching.

Result: the American Corner is proud to be a partner in this program and that NATEK selected the AC as a platform for the workshop. Participants learned about the AC programming and resources and this knowledge definitely contributed to their professional development.

On April 21, the American Corner Karaganda held an event dedicated to the American National Poetry Month. Through the materials received from the U.S. Embassy, AC Karaganda users learnt about this wonderful celebration and subscribed to the "Poem-A-Day" emails from the Academy of American Poets having a wonderful opportunity to receive daily not only American poetry but also translations into English of other poets. By now, we have got a file with new poems from new spring poetry titles. Also, after investigating web site www.Poets.org, the AC users got acquainted with the National Poetry Map.
Getting ready for the event, we made a book show of American poetry, printed logo of this year, and decorated a tree with paper leaves on which we wrote poems received via Poem-A-Day emails.
Result: National Poetry Month shows a great respect to the literature and authors and presents a perfect time to make poetry one’s daily necessity. We are happy to have celebrated it in Karaganda. About thirty users learnt names and works of American poets and paid tribute to the great art of poetry.

On April 14-15, the American Corner Karaganda hosted a training "Project Development and Implementation" which was organized by the Peace Corps (PC) in Kazakhstan. The main goal of the workshop was to help participants develop ad effectively implement projects focused on community development.

On April 16, PC offered presentation n PC activities in Kazakhstan with two focal points – Education (Teaching English) and Youth Development.

The American Corner invited representatives of the Regional and City departments of Education, teachers from local colleges and universities, and NGOs. We also had an honorary guest – PC director in Kazakhstan Mr. Bob Cone.

Result: About forty people got acquainted with the Activities of the Peace Corps Volunteers through the presentation. All of them were eager to fill in an Application form and invite PCV to their organization. The event was covered by local print media.

AC coordinator

The American Corner in Karaganda is the first place in the city to go if one wants to learn about the USA.

On April 11, about 20 students presented their research works "What Do You Know About American Culture?" to the representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Astana – Information Officer Jon Larsen and American Corners Programmer Leili Kokh, the Peace Corps volunteer Elena Augustine and the Foreign languages methodologist of the Karaganda City Department of Education Valentina Razumova. The range of topics was very broad – from American writers, jazz musicians and famous film directors to Disney land, Charlie Chaplin and famous American women leaders. It was not an easy task for pupils of 7–11 grades, but they did an excellent job.

Many presentations had short videos and music clips built in, some got a lot of animation effects to catch viewers’ attention. The winner of the contest, Anna Pak, had the most lively presentation about female American leaders and included even a wonderful poem that she wrote herself!

Result: everyone learnt something new about American culture, practiced their English language and public speaking skills, had a chance to interact with the native speakers and received the certificates and souvenirs from the US Embassy. Most of them used the resources of the American Corner while working on their project. We envision to turn this contest into a regular one!

AC coordinator

The Earth Day is an annual celebration in the USA. In anticipation of this wonderful event, the American Corner in Karaganda organized an event on April 11.
We welcomed the Information Officer of the U.S. Embassy in Astana Jon Larsen to attend the opening of the Children drawing contest dedicated to the Earth Day, as well as to interact with around 30 students from the “Bolashak” University on the theme. Among the discussed issues were the history of the Earth Day, the purpose of such event, and the actions that one could do to keep out planet, country, and city clean.
Also, IO Jon Larsen thanked and praised kids that presented their works to the Earth Day exhibit - some 50 children age 11-17 took an active part in this project. The event was covered by a local TV channel Kazakhstan-Karaganda, and Jon Larsen could speak about the Earth Day to the journalists.

Result: with the help of the mentioned events, the U.S. Embassy introduces the local population with the originally American - and at present the international - celebration of the Earth Day and promotes ecological awareness in young generation. In Kazakhstan, the Earth Day is not officially celebrated yet, but though the American Corners in Kazakhstan, more and more people learn about it.

AC coordinator

On March 03, the American Corner in Karaganda hosted visitors from the U.S. Embassy in Astana Marko Velikonja, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) Officer & Elena Beskrovnaya, INL Program Manager. They made a presentation on a topic "Trafficking in persons:modern-day slavery" which is a very important theme for the youth nowadays. AC made a good promotion of the event inviting over forty persons to the event, among them some USG-alumni, NGOS, teachers of English, and law students. The presentation and discussion were very lively, and participants asked many questions. AC got many materials to the event from the U.S. Embassy. Also, every participant of the event received a thematic booklet, the presentation text, and a souvenir. The event was filmed by the regional Karaganda-Kazakhstan TV company, and was attended by some local newspaper journalists.

Result: his presentation showed how one can easily become a victim of the trafficking in persons. NGO representatives asked Marco and Elena to organize additional presentations and meetings on the topic with local NGOs and local mass media in Russian and English.

AC coordinator

On February 24,the American Corner Karaganda's Book Club held an event devoted to African American writer Brenda Flanagan, Professor of English B.A., M.A., Ph. D. University of Michigan. Known internationally for her dramatic presentations of her stories and poems, B. F.Flanagan teaches creative writing, Caribbean and African-American literatures, Ethnic American Women's Literature. Professor Flanagan has won numerous awards for her fiction and drama in the United States and serves frequently as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State, with visits to Kazakhstan, Panama, India and other countries.

Brenda Flanagan visited AC Karaganda in 2008 within the frames of the U.S. Embassy cultural project and donated her books, translated to Kazakh and Russian.

Result: we got acquainted with B. F. Flanagan biography, read and discussed short stories "Sea baths" and also studied a nice website “Black History”: Reach...Teach...Learn...Discern... Go... Grow" –a wonderful resource for revealing the names and achievements of prominent African Americans. Thus, 10 Book club users learnt many new aspects of the American history.

AC coordinator

On February 21, the American Corner Karaganda held a round table dedicated to the President’s Day, originally known as Washington’s birthday. George Washington (1732 –1799) – father of the country – rejected a proposal to become the King of the Nation. Washington became the first President and the only one who was unanimously elected.

We also mentioned Abraham Lincoln, the 16th U.S. President, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and declared freedom for all slaves. He led the Union to the victory in the Civil War and prevented the nation from splitting apart. We talked about Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President, who led the country during two darkest periods (the Great Depression and the World War II), as well as about Barak Obama, the first African-American President.

Participants learnt about Mount Rushmore which depicts four U.S. Presidents:
  1. George Washington, "Father of the Country"
  2. Thomas Jefferson, a visionary and philosopher
  3. Theodore Roosevelt, who built the Panama Canal
  4. Abraham Lincoln, "The Great Emancipator"

Using the materials sent from the Embassy we organized a nice event. Results: We celebrated the President’s Day which falls on the third Monday of February with about 15 people who learnt new things about biographies of great American Presidents and amazing monuments dedicated to them. Audience took an active part in the offered presentation and expressed their gratitude for the shared information.

AC coordinator

On February 14, some active users from the American Corner in Karaganda, together with the AC partner Lingua Land, visited children at the local orphanage named "Bakhyt". With our partner we brought some heart-shaped candies, balloons, small souvenirs, and Valentine cards for each kid.

Teachers from the orphanage helped us organize a small presentation about St. Valentine’s day history and about celebration of the holiday. It was made in Russian and, partially, in English.

We had a nice tea party with children, who have enough food and clothing, but need more attention from the outside world and some love.

Result :over 50 children enjoyed the celebration, learnt about the holiday and thanked the visitors for creating a special, beautiful day at the orphanage.

AC coordinator

On February 10, the American Corner in Karaganda held an event dedicated to the 85-th anniversary of National African American History Month, which has been celebrated since 1926. It was originally established as a Negro History Week by a noted African-American author and scholar, Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Through the information materials from the U.S. Embassy in Astana we learnt about the focal point of the year 2011. This year's theme - African Americans and the Civil War - invites us to reflect on 150 years since the start of the Civil War and on the patriots of a young country who fought for the promises of justice and equality. We have a book "Civil war battlefields and landmarks: a photographic tour" and it helped us to make our event more interesting and documentary vivid! Many materials we took from the website of Association for the Study of African-American Life and History, using web site http://www.asalh.org and learnt more about the celebration. Peace Corps volunteer Erica McMahon showed us the film "Malcolm X" which tells about the life of a controversial civil rights leader named Malcolm X. It shows how events in his childhood changed him, depicts his life, and tells the story of how African Americans struggled for civil rights in America. Result : More than thirty people attended the movie viewing. After the movie, we discussed Malcolm's life, how he helped or hurt the civil rights movement, and compared it with society in Kazakhstan.

AC coordinator

On January 30 ,the American Corner in Karaganda hosted an event dedicated to American writers who had their anniversaries in January. Within the frames of the program "Portraits in Words", we spoke about Jack London(born in 1876, i.e. in 2011 is his 135th anniversary), John Dos Passos(born in 1896, his 115th anniversary), and Mary Mapes Dodge (born 1831, her 180th anniversary).
During the Round table, we learnt more about their literary heritage. Through the book exhibition we could see that Jack London is very popular in our country, his stories and novels were translated into Kazakh and Russian. We have many of his works at the AC, and the most popular novels prove to be "Martin Eden," "White Fang," and "The Call of the Wild." Also, the AC host library has many books of Jack London.
Mary M. Dodge was mostly children's author, and at the AC we have her book "The Silver Skates." However, we do not have much material about John Dos Passos. In order to learn more about those famous writers and their works, we used our new resource Victual Library, especially its part "Literary resource center" powered by EBSCOhost which contains many photos and biographies.

Result: 15 users got acquainted with American writers using print and electronic materials.

AC coordinator

On January 27, the American Corner in Karaganda organized an event dedicated to International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.
Peace corps volunteer Elena Augustine made a presentation "Ordinary thing: Discovering the Holocaust through historical artifacts" (this presentation was created by Paul Salmons from the Holocaust Education development program, University of London).
The Holocaust, or Shoah (Sho'ah, Shoa), is the term used to describe the deliberate murder and desecration of millions of people prior to and during World War II in Germany and German occupied areas in Europe. Many of them were Jewish, but also the Roma people, Soviet civilians and prisoners of war, ethnic Poles, people with disabilities, homosexuals and political and religious opponents were also killed. Many people died in concentration and death camps spread across Nazi-occupied Europe. One of the most notorious camps was Auschwitz-Birkenau, near Oświęcim, Poland. More than one million people died in Auschwitz-Birkenau before Soviet troops liberated it on January 27, 1945.
UN resolution was drafted to designate January 27 as the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. The resolution called for education programs on the Holocaust to help prevent genocide. It also rejected denials that the Holocaust occurred.
Result: more than twenty people talked about this serious topic and discussed the words of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: "We must continue to teach children the lessons of history's darkest chapters. That will help them do a better job than their elders in building a world of peaceful coexistence." Afterwards, we watched movie "Schindler's list" and discussed it.

AC coordinator

On January 17, the American Corner in Karaganda had a Round table discussion dedicated to Martin Luther King Day for 15 regular AC patrons.
Dr. King led the non-violent struggle against discrimination of African-Americans. In December 1955, he was leading the protest in support of Montgomery (Alabama) boycott of the public busses. During the Civil Rights Movement, an important event was March on Washington in 1963 and that's when his world famous speech "I have a dream" was delivered. On January 1986, people across the USA celebrated the first official Martin Luther King day. Through a number of electronic data base, books, leaflets we got to know about his life and activities. We received many materials about Martin Luther King from the U.S. Embassy, and they helped us to organize an informative book show about Dr. King. As a result, the active AC patrons discussed life and influence of Dr. King, many other library visitors learnt about him via the book exhibit, and it has been decided to arrange a movie viewing "Let Freedom Sing" with music, songs and interviews from Billie Holiday, Quincy Jones, James Brown, and many others and tells how music inspired the civil rights movement.

AC coordinator
Gogol Library

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