Country Public Affairs Officer Aruna Amirthanayagam – Remarks At American Spaces Workshop 2018

On behalf of the U.S Mission Nigeria, I welcome you all to this year’s American Spaces Workshop.

Let me begin by extending our sincere appreciation to this great team of American Spaces Coordinators and partners represented here today. We congratulate each and every one of you for the wonderful job you have been doing.

CPAO Aruna Amirthanayagam speaking at the 2018 American Spaces in Nigeria Workshop - AbujaThe American Spaces program first started in Moscow with just two centers. The concept has now grown to include over 650 Spaces in 150 countries worldwide. We currently have 14 American Spaces in Nigeria. To strengthen our relationship with Nigeria, over a year ago, a Priority One American Space was established at CCHUB Lagos.

I know many of you have worked closely with Linda Parker who is the immediate past Regional Public Engagement Specialist. She was passionate about what you do and always fought for resources to support your efforts at all American Corners. She has moved on to Pakistan and I know that she will be missed.

However, it is my pleasure to inform you that after Linda’s departure from the Post, we created an Abuja based team that are equally passionate to support you. In that regard, I am honored to introduce you to Malia Heroux, our new Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer (ACAO) who took over Linda’s portfolio here at the Embassy and we also have Myra Brown who will serve as your consultant on everything American Spaces.

Considering the role of American Spaces as platforms for engagement, education and empowerment, they deserve our greatest appreciation for the lasting impact that they are making on youth in Nigeria. The American Spaces can still do more in empowering these young Nigerians by planning innovative and life changing programs.

American Spaces programming focuses on five core areas:

  1. English language learning and teacher training;
  2. Educational advising and promoting study in the United States;
  3. Alumni networking, projects, and activities;
  4. Cultural and outreach programs; and
  5.  Information about the United States.

The American Spaces Directors in both Abuja and Lagos remain your primary contacts at the U.S. Mission. Hence, I urge you to continue to reach out to Sagir and Samuel with your needs.

As the amount of support we can provide is connected to results, I request you to please provide reports of your activities on a timely basis – as they happen would be even better – to enable us give Washington up-to-date summaries of the good things you do. The reports of your work are greatly appreciated in Washington.  That is why it is important to provide them with even more, to increase their attention and inclination for funding.

Finally, on behalf of the United States government, and her people, I want to thank you for being here. And I am so glad to open this workshop today. I wish you a great stay in Abuja.