Acting DCM Aruna Amirthanayagam Talking Points for Education Pre-Departure Orientation

Good morning, parents, friends, and most importantly students.  It’s my pleasure to join you for this morning’s send-off in advance of your departure to the United States.  I want to thank the Public Affairs team, especially the advisors of EducationUSA – Shade, Lilian, Kathryn, and Malate – for their support of all young Nigerians who have dreams of studying in the United States.  Today we celebrate the more than 140 young men and women, members of EducationUSA, who have received offers of admission and scholarships to attend U.S. colleges and universities.  This send-off continues the support they have received over the past few months, or more, to realize their goal of U.S. study.

EducationUSA advising provides clear, authoritative information on U.S. undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate academic programs.  Furthermore, our advising centers, both in Abuja and Lagos, assist high achieving, low-income students to apply to U.S. colleges and universities that will offer admission with full scholarships.  This Opportunity Funds program removes the financial barrier to U.S. study for some of Nigeria’s most talented students.

The list of acceptances is quite impressive including more than 560 schools in all, among them are Boston University, Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Vanderbilt University, Bowdoin College, Howard University, Smith College, Swarthmore College, Tufts University, Vassar College, the University of Rochester, Auburn University, the University of California – Berkeley, and Wellesley College.  To support these Nigerian scholars, this year EducationUSA members received more than $6 million in scholarships from these institutions.

According to the latest Institute of International Education Open Doors Report, over 10,600 Nigerians study at more than 980 colleges and universities in the United States.  This is a 12 percent increase over the previous year and contributed to a 5 percent increase for all of Africa.  Nigeria continues to be the undisputed leader in Africa, sending more international students to the United States than any other country on the continent, ranking number 14 among countries worldwide.

This message is for all the students in the room … please know that as you pursue your studies in the United States, remember that people back home are cheering for you.  Your courses in electrical engineering, public health, computer science, business, chemistry, and economics – subjects that you’ve chosen – will be difficult.  But you are no strangers to hard work.  You have shown yourselves to be life-long, committed, active learners, and if you maintain this determination to succeed, your academic achievements will contribute to the peace and prosperity of your great country.

On behalf of Ambassador Symington and the entire U.S. Mission in Nigeria, I congratulate each one of you on your tremendous success.  You make us proud, your families proud, and all of Nigeria proud.  Good luck and best wishes for continued success!