On Thursday, March 27, 2014, students, professors and U.S exchange program Alumni converged on the Ebitimi Banigo Auditorium for the Grand Re-opening of American Corner Port Harcourt. The American Corner which is hosted in the Donald E.U Ekong Library will serve as a center for information and learning for the residents of Port Harcourt.
In his opening remarks the Consul General of the U.S. Consulate Lagos, Jeff Hawkins, highlighted the enormous benefit the University students will gain from the Corner and encouraged students, NGOs, business people, artisans, government officials to take advantage of the resources available at the Corner. He expressed his appreciation to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Professor Joseph Ajienka, for facilitating the relocation of the Corner to the University Library and to the Alumni of the U.S exchange programs for the important role they played towards making the reopening a success.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Joesph Ajienka expressed his thanks to the United States Government for continuing to extend exchange program opportunities to the University Professors and pledged the University’s support of the American Corner. The university has a virile Fulbright Alumni which was instrumental in relocating the American Corner to the institution.
The Consul General noted “the materials at this American Corner are a gift to the people of Port Harcourt from the people of the United States of America. They represent our common quest for knowledge, for information, for education. And they assist us in our desire to engage with cultures outside our local communities, exploring new ways of thinking and learning about others.”
CG Hawkins also expressed his hopes that this Corner will serve as a small piece of America within this great city of Port Harcourt. According to him, “the Corner can play a key role in expanding U.S. contacts with Nigerian institutions in the region. We look forward to partnering further with the University of Port Harcourt to bring other U.S. government representatives to the Corner for educational and cultural events.”
One of the highlights of the ceremony was a beautiful rendition of the Nigerian and U.S. national anthems by the choir from the university’s Department of Music. The choir also drew a loud applause from the audience following their performance of a musical piece from an indigenous artist.
Following the opening ceremony, the University Librarian, Dr. Obiageli Nwodo, led the guests to the American Corner for the ribbon cutting ceremony and a tour of the American Corner. Other dignitaries at the event include the U.S. Alumni community, including Prof. Femi Shaka, who worked tirelessly to make the move to the University of Port Harcourt a reality. Another alumna, Prof. Mrs. Ebi Amakoromo, who was instrumental to the renovation of the Corner and the University Librarian, Dr. (Mrs.) Obiageli Nwodo, who provided staff for the American Corner.