Lagos–– The United States government is committed to providing free educational information and programs to Nigerians to help develop their skills through its network of American Spaces in Nigeria.
On Saturday, U.S. Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard and Co-founders of Venture Garden Group (VGG) ––Bunmi Akinyemiju and Kunmi Demuren–– officiated the launch of the new American Corner in Ikeja and were joined by Solape Hammond, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Sustainable Development Goals.
Ambassador Leonard hailed the opening as yet another example of the bourgeoning U.S.-Nigeria bilateral relations, noting the broad range of programs that take place at the American Corner.
“A significant aspect of U.S. foreign policy, and a cornerstone of my leadership of the U.S. Mission in Nigeria, is investing in people,” Ambassador Leonard said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by alumni of U.S. government exchange programs, business, cultural, media and political leaders.
“The new American Corner Ikeja will function as a center where young people develop their ideas, as well as their leadership and entrepreneurship skills through programs and workshops.”
Ambassador Leonard praised the partnership with Venture Garden Group which hosts the new American Corner and noted, “Lagos is a city of industry, entrepreneurship, and learning. It is great that the American Corner will help bring the people of Nigeria and the United States closer.”
In their separate remarks, Bunmi Akinyemiju and Kunmi Demuren, Co-founders of Venture Garden Group, explained that the U.S. Consulate General’s partnership with the tech group has been mutually beneficial.
“The American Corner Ikeja directly advances one of our commitments to add value to Nigeria’s efforts to develop and support an educational system that will unlock the expertise, innovative spirit, and entrepreneurial capacity of young Nigerians,” Akinyemiju said.
“We’re delighted that this new American Corner will offer even more opportunities to young people to discover the U.S. as they prepare for their futures,” Demuren said.
Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor, Solape Hammond, welcomed the American Corner Ikeja to the family of American Spaces in Nigeria. “The American Corner Ikeja will go a long way in complementing the efforts of the Lagos State Government particularly in broad areas of promoting education and technology learning,” she added.
The American Corner Ikeja imparts a welcoming and inspiring American-themed environment comprising a maker space, a tech area designed to promote digital skill-building as well as a workshop space equipped with the latest laptops and tablets for learning. Visitors can also learn about Study in the United States through its comprehensive library collection of exam prep materials and information on colleges and universities in the United States.
The Corner offers conversation clubs, discussion groups, virtual programs, film screenings on a wide range of topics as well as STEM learning activities such as robotics and drone technology. In addition, American spaces are home to over 9,000 U.S. government alumni who program at the spaces in an effort to give back to their local communities.
Visitors to the American Corner will typically include students, teachers, entrepreneurs, academics, journalists, civic organizations, government officials, and community leaders, in addition to many others.
There are 18 American Spaces in Nigeria. Addresses and contact details of American Spaces can be found here.