Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Nehemiah Danjuma (Nigeria)

“To inspire every deaf student to think, to learn, to achieve, to care” is not only the ambition of the K-12 school for the deaf YES November Student; Nehemiah Danjuma (Nigeria) attends, but it is his mission as well; dedicating most of his almost 30 volunteer hours to the goal.

Nehemiah is a role model for the school’s motto. As a member of Junior NAD (National Association for the Deaf), he participates in weekly meetings to discuss issues and solutions related to school academics, finance, and events, building his leadership skills to one day become a future leader and advocate in the deaf and hard of hearing community.

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.

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.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Deputy Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, visits MWF’s Fish and Poultry Feed Manufacturing Plant

Deputy Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, accompanied by the Assistant Secretary of State, Linda Thomas Greenfield, on Wednesday July 8 visited Ideal Agro Allied Services Ltd—a fish and poultry feed manufacturing plant owned by Mandela Washington Fellow Saidat Shonoiki.  Founded in 2006, Saidat has gradually expanded her company such that she now employs 14 workers and produces 2,500 large feed bags (30 tons) per month. Saidat is an animal food nutritionist. Her ‘excruded’ (floating) feed product competes with foreign brands from Germany, Israel and elsewhere, such that local farmers feel confident patronizing her products. Saidat’s plant is currently running at full capacity.  She is building an agricultural sustainability training center, Green Skills Initiative, with financial support from the World Bank to the tune of N7, 000,000 naira ($35,000).

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ramadan in the United States as a Mandela Washington Fellow

Almost nothing could quell my excitement as I emerged one of the 44 young Nigerians selected to participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship of President Obama’s Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) in the United States. The program was to last six weeks at various academic institutions and the seventh week at the Presidential Summit in Washington, D.C. It was an honor then. It is a great honor now to call myself a Mandela Washington Fellow. There were so many things to look forward to; there were so many things that only experiencing would explain, but one thing stood out. It was the fact that the holy month of Ramadan would begin in the second or third week of our stay and end while I was in the States.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Preparing young Nigerians for leadership

US Ambassador James Entwistle poses with Norther Nigeria contingent to the 2015 YALI - Photo Credit: U.S. Embassy/Idika Onyukwu
A year ago, 45 young Nigerians from various parts of the country were selected to participate in President Obama’s first ever Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).  The White House developed this program in recognition of the critical and increasing role that young Africans are playing in strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security on the continent.  Those selected participated in the Mandela Washington Fellowship, a six-week academic and leadership program focused on business and entrepreneurship, civic leadership, and public management at select U.S. universities.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Women as Peace Advocates

March is Women’s History Month in the United States.  It is set aside to focus on the contributions of women to the development of the country.  March 8 is also celebrated as International Women’s Day.
In his proclamation, U.S. President Barack Obama said, “Throughout history, extraordinary women have fought tirelessly to broaden our democracy’s reach and help perfect our Union.  Through protest and activism, generations of women have appealed to the values at the heart of our Nation and fought to give meaning to the idea that we are all created equal.”

Friday, March 13, 2015

Gathering for Peaceful and Credible Elections

“Nigeria is making progress in its democratic journey despite security challenges,” said Professor Chidi Odinkalu, Chairman of the Nigerian National Human Rights Commission.  Professor Odinkalu made this assertion at an event organized by the Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni Association in support of peaceful and credible elections in Nigeria.

Citing the success of Nigeria’s democratic process, Professor Odinkalu said, “First, Nigeria will be witnessing the most competitive election in her history with an opposition that is stronger than ever before and which has footprints across the country.  Second, control of the National Assembly is now split between two political parties, one controlling the Senate and the other, the House of Representatives.  Thirdly, the number of election litigations has decreased by 35 percent, from 86.1 percent in 2007 to 51 percent in 2011.”   He said young leaders are important, urging them to be optimistic and use creative ways to connect with their peers.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

AMANA Initiative: University of Abuja Law Clinic promotes trust and peace building through dialogue

“There can be no development without peace,” Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Gwagwalada said as he addressed Abuja Law School clinicians and a group of more than 200 participants at the stakeholders interactive town hall, organized by the University of Abuja Law Clinic under the *AMANA Initiative.

The University of Abuja Law Clinic is a general practice clinic that serves as a laboratory for law students. Throughout the year, student clinicians take turns staffing the clinic—meeting members of the community, registering their cases, and, in some cases, providing pro bono legal services to indigent residents.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

School Children Reflect on the Life of Martin Luther King

Ambassador Entwistle (center) pose with students
and teachers who participated in the Essay
competition -- photo by Idika Onyukwu
February is celebrated as Black History Month in the United States to highlight the struggles and contributions of African-Americans to the country.  Activities are usually held in the United States and in various parts of the world during the month that focuses on different aspects of African-American life and especially those who have made significant contributions to their advancement.

In Abuja, the U.S. Embassy brought together secondary school students in the city to reflect and share their views about foremost American civil rights activist, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  The event was organized in collaboration with the Foundation for Moral and Ethical Development and alumni of the International Visitor Leadership Program.