“Grassroots leadership is critical in changing a society for better,” Ambassador Symington told participants at an exchange alumni strategic planning workshop in Abuja. The workshop gathered alumni from 27 states and the Federal Capital Territory who had participated in one of 20 United States exchange programs. Ambassador Symington emphasized that the United States and Mission Nigeria would continue to partner with Nigerians committed to making institutions work better for the people they serve. He challenged the alumni to use their skills and leadership positions to advocate for good governance, peace, and economic growth in their communities.
The workshop theme, “Promoting Alumni Programs & Networks in Nigeria,” underscored the need to build strong connections across alumni networks and share best practices. One participant remarked, “This workshop reawakened me not only to do more for my community, but to do more with others.” All of the participants were excited to learn about how best to partner with civil society groups, NGOs, and local government officials to successfully implement community projects.
Highlights of the workshop included information on grant writing and funding opportunities offered through Mission Nigeria and the International Exchange Alumni (IEA) website. The resources available through the 11 American Corners and Information Resource Centers in Abuja and Lagos were also described in detail. The alumni left the workshop eager to connect with other alumni in their region, and set to work to expand peace and prosperity in their respective communities.