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Wolfson alumnus present for historic Westminster Hall speech

David Jacques

Wolfson College alumnus David Jacques (1998) received a special invitation from the US Embassy to hear US President Barack Obama?s speech to the joint Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall on Wednesday (25 May) as a result of his continuing work with the Fulbright programme in the Republic of Georgia.

In a letter to Mr Jacques, deputy cultural attaché Kate Bentley, at the US Embassy in London, said: ?When faced with the difficult decision of which select few to invite, you naturally came to mind as an outstanding Fulbright alumnus. The American Embassy recognises the successes achieved during your year?s teaching in the United States and the important work you have done to further education in the Republic of Georgia.?

David Jacques with Kate Bentley at House of Commons, May 2011David Jacques with Kate Bentley

Mr Jacques was invited to Georgia by the World Bank as a consultant for their Education Reform Project, in 2004. He later began a fundraising effort which resulted in a school library being built in Gogasheni, south west Georgia, and stocked full of new textbooks. This is an area of ethnic conflict between native Georgians and Armenians and he stipulated that textbooks should be in both languages, with the hope that the library could become a space shared between the two communities.

After this fundraising, he was invited by the Georgian Ambassador to the UK, Amiran Kavadze, to give a speech at King?s College London to a number of executives interested in business opportunities in Georgia. This led to BP making a substantial investment into the Georgian education system.

David Jacques with House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, May 2011David Jacques with John Bercow

Mr Jacques was part of a small gathering organised by the US Embassy in the Waldorf Hilton hotel, which met members of President Obama's entourage on Wednesday. He read for an MPhil in Archaeology and Anthropology at Wolfson in 1998-9, and now teaches English at East Norfolk Sixth Form College and is a part-time tutor at the Open University.