U.S. Consul General F. John Bray Graduation – Ceremony for Fellows of the Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative

I want to start by thanking some of the people who made all of this possible tonight. First off, thank you to our Public Affairs Section for working so hard to make sure that the finances for this program are maintained and distributed each year.  Thank you to our CYFI alumni coordinators for your tireless work with our fellows this year.  Your continued engagement really speaks to the value of this initiative.  And thank you to the officers from our consulate who volunteer to participate on the CYFI board and act as mentors for the teams in addition to their regular work as Foreign Service Officers.

Our objective at the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos is to support efforts that address Nigerian issues, particularly economic development, access to healthcare, peace and security and transparency and good governance. To that end, the CYFI program is an incredibly valuable program, in that it allows some of the most promising young people in Nigeria who are passionate about these issues to affect real, positive change.

The CYFI projects from 2017 are truly inspiring. You taught indigent youth to sustainably farm. You developed the next generation of young female coders. You improved the health of Nigerian women by promoting early detection of cervical cancer. You taught young men that they can speak out about their abuse at the hands of adults.

You have laid strong foundations for future work. These are meaningful, impactful projects and I look forward to seeing where these initiatives go from here

I sincerely hope that you will remain involved in the program through the vibrant alumni network run by your peers, and that you will use this network to help guide and encourage future CYFI fellows

CYFI has also provided you with an invaluable network of U.S. and Nigerian contacts for your future endeavors

Always remember that you are a select few chosen from a pool of the most talented and driven young people in Nigeria. The friendships and partnerships you’ve developed over your year with CYFI will become some of the most rewarding.

I urge you to remain in touch with your cohort and maintain the strength of this common bond you have formed together through your collaboration this past year

Stay committed and passionate to societal innovation and change in your society, even in the face of obstacles. As you’ve learned this year, you can run into all kinds of challenges in the course of implementing real and meaningful change.

I hope that the successes you have had this year have shown you that the importance and impact of your efforts far outweigh the trials and tribulations you sometimes face in the course of enacting this change