Thursday, October 22, 2015

Art is Big Business

“There is no bad art because art affects us differently,” said Nduwhite Ndubisi in a message to young artists at the U.S. Embassy’s monthly International Visitor Leadership (IVLP) alumni mentoring program that occurred in September.  With the topic of mentoring young artists and creative entrepreneurship, the event exposed budding business owners to the opportunities that abound in the visual arts world.

To understand the place of art and its economic significance, Ngozi John-Uya of the National Gallery of Art reviewed the works of famous European and Nigerian artists and the worth of their work today.  She said that if handled well, the visual arts could be a revenue earner not only for the artist, but also for the nation, citing traffic to galleries and museums in developed countries as an example.  She listed other ways through which artists can earn revenue to include sales of their work, commissions, training, reproductions of original works, book illustrations, etc.

Suleiman Mohammed, another IVLP alumnus and an artist, challenged participants to come up and draw a face in five seconds.  The first person who responded to the challenge was one of the youngest at the event, a student of the Junior Secondary School, Life camp.  His attempt gave the other artists the courage to test their artistic skills.  Following this, he asked everyone in the audience to draw a picture of the person sitting next to them.  The result was quite interesting, from the very amateur to the professional, but they thoroughly enjoined the exercise.

Speaking from his own experience, Nduwhite shared what he learned thus far as an artist.  He insisted that audience members not compare their work with that of others.  Instead, he implored them to compare their old work with something new.  Nduwhite explained that although going to art school is not compulsory it can get an artist further, adding that real good work takes a long time to make.  He encouraged the young artists to be confident in their skills because “someone, somewhere will LOVE what you do (And pay for it).”

Friday, October 2, 2015

Leading For Change

“From today, begin to prepare yourself as if you are going to be President in 2019.”  This was the challenge by International Visitor Leadership (IVLP) alumnus Olarenwajo Osho to his audience while speaking at the IVLP monthly mentoring series at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

How Can We Call Ourselves Civilized While Women Are Victims of Barbarity?

 By US Secretary of State John Kerry and UK Foreign  Secretary Philip Hammond

Women and Children Rescued by Nigerian Soldiers from Boko Haram
 extremists Arrive at Military Office in Maiduguri, northern Nigeria.
The abhorrent sexual violence waged by groups such as Isis and Boko Haram must be countered by governments and at local levels.
In Syria and Iraq, Isis terrorists have turned kidnapping and the sale of women and girls into recruitment and fundraising tools. Thousands of women have been enslaved and raped. In Somalia and Nigeria, terrorists have abducted scores of young women to force them into sham “marriages” characterized by degradation and abuse.
These practices are a stain on the conscience of the world. Sexual abuse is not a legitimate tactic of conflict or war. Women and girls are not slaves to be awarded to terrorist fighters. And mislabeling this abuse as “marriage” does not alter the reality that rape is rape and rape is wrong.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sustaining Customers’ Interest in Your Brand: Tips for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

How do you package and brand your product to attract and sustain customers’ interest? That was the focus of a mentoring program for entrepreneurs and business owners organized by the U.S. Embassy and the International Leadership Program Alumni Association.

In the program, “The Power of Your Brand, Your Packaging, and Your Process,” two successful entrepreneurs, Victoria Ironbar and Aisha Atta, tutored young entrepreneurs and business owners on how to target and attract customers. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Investing in Nigeria’s Future

Commentary by: Enoh Titilayo Ebong | USTDA Deputy Director

When I was growing up in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, my father used to say that his future was in his past. In other words, you can never know how what happens today might impact tomorrow.

My father, Ime James Ebong, used to regale my sisters and me with stories about rising through the ranks of the Nigerian Civil Service after the country gained independence in 1960. As the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Economic Development and Reconstruction, he worked to coordinate foreign investment that could help build infrastructure and promote growth. He believed strongly in a global Nigeria, and traveled to the United States many times to establish partnerships with American companies.