Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Explaining U.S. Elections

Cultural Affairs Officer Robert Kerr addressing Nigerian
 Turkish Nile University students
The U.S. presidential election is followed in Nigeria with some excitement, but also confusion.  The excitement comes from the volume of media coverage it enjoys, the fact that whatever happens in the United States affects many other countries, and also that the contestants are usually major players in the global space.  This year’s election has been a huge media spectacle with an estimated $10 billion spent on advertisements and the major players enjoying cult-like followership.

Representing Nigeria well

Tolu Alabi is a graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa.  She is a recipient of the Stanford Africa MBA Fellowship.  Joseph Ekpenyoung studied math at Bates College in Maine and is now giving back by teaching math at the African Leadership Academy in South Africa.  Daniel Akuma attended Kenyon College in Ohio and got accepted into the top eight medical schools in the United States.

What is common among these three young Nigerians?  They are all beneficiaries of the Opportunity Fund Program, popularly referred to as EducationUSA Achievers Program (EdSAP) of the U.S. Embassy Abuja.  The program assists highly qualified but low-income students to finance upfront costs of obtaining admission into U.S. universities with full financial aid.  One common feature of all three is that they went to public schools, including Federal Government Academy Suleja and Model Secondary school.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Guitar virtuoso Stephane Wrembel Concerts in Lagos - June 27-30

The U.S. Mission to Nigeria is proud to bring you - from America by way of France – guitar virtuoso Stephane Wrembel next week! Wrembel, joined by co-guitarist Thor Jensen, will perform in Lagos, June 27-30.

 Among many achievements, the Brooklyn-based Wrembel composed the score for the 2012 Academy Award winning film Midnight in Paris, and appeared live on The Oscars 2016: 88th Academy Awards ceremony telecast. Wrembel learned his craft among Gypsies in the French countryside, and is expanding on his many other influences to make a mark as an original guitar voice in contemporary music. His musical accomplice, Thor Jensen, is also a longtime student of jazz, including the music of Django Reinhardt, and rock and roll.

 Wrembel and Jensen will take the concert stage with Nigeria’s own powerhouse collective Prudence, in these venues:

  •  June 27: SPAN Jazz Academy Masterclass, 10:00 am (By Invitation only)
  •  June 28: MUSON Center, Agip Recital Hall, 6:00 pm (Open to the public)
  •  June 29: University of Lagos, Main auditorium, 5:30 pm (Open to the public)
  •  June 30: Classic FM 97.3: streaming live at, 9:00 am 
Read Stephane’s complete biography, please click the link:
Watch one of his live performances via the link below:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The America You Don’t See on CNN

Anytime I think of the United States, what comes to my mind are the following: a beautiful and charming country where skyscrapers surrounds the cities and towers are used as fences, a country where children don’t see sand except in their school labs, a country where everyone has equal opportunities and poverty is not an issue, a country without challenges, a country filled with milk and honey flowing all over the streets for everyone to savor.  This is what CNN and Hollywood show us.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Mentoring Future Journalists

IVLP Alumni L-R Lydia Samson and Evelyn Onyilo
One of the founding fathers of the United States and principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, stated, “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.” This quote underscores the role of the press in the development of a healthy democratic process. To encourage young people to aspire for a successful career in journalism, the Abuja chapter of International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Alumni Association organized a mentoring program for young Nigerians at the U.S. Embassy. Media personalities, who benefited from the IVLP, including distinguished journalists Evelyn Onyilo and Lydia Samson, led the conversation.