Remarks by U.S. Embassy Country Public Affairs Officer Aruna Amirthanayagam – Inauguration of Osun State Chapter of U.S. International Exchange Alumni

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Good morning.

All protocols duly observed.

It is wonderful to see alumni of different Department of State exchange programs.

As alumni of one of the 20 exchange programs that the Department of State has sponsored over the years in Nigeria you join more than one million Department of State alumni worldwide.

It is my honor to meet such a distinguished group of people.

You were selected to participate in your exchange program because of your achievements, potential, and your ability to inspire and lead others.

During my time in Nigeria I have repeatedly heard that alumni’s lives have been enriched by their participation in exchange programs.

I know that you have used your new knowledge and expertise to improve the lives of people in your community.

You are a vital link between the American and Nigerian people.

As you may have heard the Department of State anticipates a cut in its budget in the coming year.

However, we expect that our exchange programs will continue as will our efforts to stay connected with you.

If you have not done so already please join the State Alumni website at https://alumni.state.gov.

State Alumni is a central point for exchange alumni to network regionally and globally.

You and the work you do is proof of the positive impact of the programs in Nigeria.

As a result of your efforts, academic and work opportunities for Nigerians have increased and efforts to achieve peace and prosperity have been strengthened.

During an exchange alumni strategic planning workshop, which was held in March in Abuja, Ambassador Symington challenged the participants to use their skills and leadership positions to advocate for good governance, peace, and economic growth in their communities.

Some of the participants have taken on the challenge and it’s heartwarming that today we are launching the Osun State alumni association.

I applaud Mr. Femi Adefila for rallying the support of other alumni leaders to spearhead this initiative.

As association members you will share best practices and build strong connections between alumni of U.S. government exchange programs and local communities in Osun State.

I encourage you to actively participate in this new association.

You will be able to meet other alumni and future friends and partners, to strengthen your network of contacts, exchange ideas, and explore future collaborations.

I urge you to work together and stay connected.

The success of this group depends on all of you.