CPAO Aruna Amirthanayagam Talking Points for EducationUSA 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 110 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. Our advising centers, both in Abuja and Lagos, also run a membership program for students who meet the pre-requisite academic requirements and have the financial means to study in the United States. Furthermore, our advising centers 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 this year is quite impressive comprising more than 400 U.S. colleges and universities. We have students with us today who have been accepted to institutions like Bowdoin College, George Mason University, Arizona State University, Drexel University, Duke University, Dartmouth University, Stanford University, Tufts University, University of Rochester, University of Toledo, amongst others. This year EducationUSA Abuja members received more than $5.3million in scholarships from these institutions.

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!

According to the latest Institute of International Education Open Doors Report, 11,710 Nigerians study at more than 1,000 colleges and universities in the United States. This is a 10 percent increase over the previous year. Nigeria continues to be the undisputed leader in Africa, sending more students to the United States than any other country on the continent, ranking number 12 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, biological sciences, 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.