As part of a new nationwide initiative, 350 foreigners will descend this week on rural and impoverished Georgian public schools to teach English. The initiative, "Teach and Learn with Georgia," is the brainchild of Georgia’s staunchly pro-Western president, Mikheil Saakashvili, who announced in August an ambitious program to have every Georgian schoolchild speaking English in the next four years. English language and computer skills are essential to Georgia’s economic and technological development, he said.

A Web site that aims to help Israelis defend the country’s image abroad – which Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein said would be online in April – finally premiered on Sunday. The site (http://masbirim.gov.il/eng/) provides hasbara material related to current events, tips for the “novice ambassador,” myths and facts about Israel and the Arab world, and lists of Israel’s most prominent achievements in science, medicine and agriculture. A Hebrew version of the site has been online since February.

Kyodo News has launched a fully redesigned website for its English-language service as part of efforts to strengthen its multilingual and multimedia services... The Kyodo News English-language service covers developments around the globe 24 hours a day, with a particular focus on Japan and the Asia-Pacific region.

...as Singapore cements its position as a financial services hub and top regional tourist destination, the government is redoubling efforts to persuade locals to speak standard English.

On the campaign trail in 2008, Barack Obama was asked about foreign-language education. He responded emphatically, calling it "embarrassing" that most Americans are monolingual. Being able to speak a foreign language makes you "so much more employable," he said. "We should be emphasizing foreign languages in our schools from an early age."

Armenian adults and school children arrived in Georgia as part of the framework of the English Language Learning Strengthening Program of Buckswood Summer School...They will spend 21 days with Georgian peers at Tskneti English Language Summer School. They will have an intensive course of English and participate in different sports, educational and cultural activities.

Every year for the past two decades, legions of young Americans have descended upon Japan to teach English. This government-sponsored charm offensive was launched to counter anti-Japan sentiment in the United States and has since grown into one of the country's most successful displays of soft power.

December 15, 2005

The latest international television satellite channel, Russia Today, debuted this week, after securing a bank loan of $30 million to cover start up costs. It will broadcast in English, as do satellite networks from the BBC, the Chinese government, and the proposed Al Jazeera channel. The satellite news bandwagon is getting more crowded all the time and English will be the language of choice as new channels develop.