On April 1, 2009, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv opened the newest, and possibly most beautiful, American Corner in the world. This Corner is housed in the newly restored medieval structure at the A-Saraya, and is perhaps the first of the hundreds of American Corners in the world to be located in a UNESCO World Heritage site. On hand for the gala opening were U.S. Ambassador James B. Cunnigham, Akko Mayor Shimon Lankri, and over 150 community leaders, educators, and business people from Akko and surrounding areas. Peter Yarrow of the American folk group “Peter, Paul, and Mary” and Israeli music legend David Broza headlined the gala opening.
American Corners are a unique State Department program whereby U.S. embassies partner with local municipalities and community centers to open small pieces of America throughout the world that give local publics the chance to access the internet, research America, attend embassy events, and host activities. The American Corner in Akko will offer materials in English, Arabic, and Hebrew on such topics as business and education in America, English language studies, and American civics, history and culture.
The American Corner is a formal partnership between the U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv, the Akko Community Center, and the Municipality of Akko. Ambassador Cunningham noted at the opening that “our great hope is that this American Corner will serve as a gathering place for dialogue, discussion and debate on issues important to the greater goal of peace….. We are confident that it will further my Embassy’s effort to extend the message of coexistence between Arabs and Jews in Israel.”