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Archived from our former blog, The Beacon.

USCIS and the Smithsonian Institution Launch Preparing for the Oath

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Posted by Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

This morning, against the backdrop of the original Star-Spangled Banner, I had the privilege of participating in a naturalization ceremony at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.

My colleagues and I, along with hundreds of visitors to the museum, were honored to welcome America’s newest citizens and congratulate them as they begin their lives as U.S. citizens. Among the individuals who took the Oath of Allegiance were three members of the U.S. armed forces. USCIS is particularly grateful to these individuals and their fellow service members, both native and foreign-born. Throughout the year we honor those who serve this nation and pay a special tribute in commemoration of Memorial Day this weekend.

Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State and 2011 USCIS Outstanding American by Choice recipient, provided keynote remarks. As a naturalized citizen who has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to her chosen homeland through a life of public service, she personifies the vast opportunities America provides. It was truly an honor to hear her story and see her lead our newest citizens in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Above: Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, greets new U.S. citizen Olugbenga Olufemi Obasanjo (U.S. Army)

Above: Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, greets new U.S. citizen Olugbenga Olufemi Obasanjo (U.S. Army)

During today’s ceremony, Wayne Clough, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, also announced the launch of an exciting new resource, Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. This Web-based learning tool features interactive activities, artifacts from the Smithsonian Institution’s collections and exhibitions and a self-test based on the 100 questions given during the civics portion of the naturalization test. The interactive question format and use of historical items will help aspiring citizens prepare for the test in an engaging and meaningful way.

In addition to serving as a self-study tool for immigrants, a section for teachers provides materials and strategies to use Preparing for the Oath in a classroom setting.

Today’s announcement is the culmination of a two-year partnership between USCIS and the National Museum of American History. We are excited to introduce Preparing for the Oath and look forward to your feedback. With all the recent discussion about civic education in our country, I encourage you to take a minute to view our new resource and test your knowledge of U.S. history and government.