Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ambassador Sanders' Remarks at the MOU Signing Ceremony of American Corner at the Ovie Brume Youth Center, Lagos


MOU Signing, American Corner at the Ovie Brume Youth Center

U.S. Ambassador Robin Renée Sanders
Ovie Brume Youth Center
Lagos, Nigeria
December 3, 2008

It is a pleasure to be here at the Ovie Brume Youth Center not only to celebrate the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding to establish the newest American Corner, the first of its kind in Lagos. We have several of these in other states around Nigeria but none here in Lagos until today. Under the U.S. Mission's framework for partnership with the people of Nigeria and particularly their desire for better educational development, I wanted to make sure we had an American corner in Lagos.

This signing provides an opportunity to reflect on the importance of education as an investment in people. The U.S. Government policy is to spend millions of dollars on education, and training of both students and teachers, and providing books and other resources. The American Corner Lagos is part of this contribution. In American Corner Lagos a partnership between the U.S. Mission in Nigeria and the Ovia Brume Youth Centre you will find the literature of America’s best writers. You will find information about American society culture politics history and business and U.S. elections. You can find out how to study in the U.S. and how to apply for a visa. You have free access to the Internet.

This American Corner is not a cyber center. But it is a center for resources for students of all ages for journalists, academics, businesses, civic organizations, teachers, government officials, military, clergy, and traditional rulers. Whether the challenge is transforming conflict into dialogue conducting medical research on issues like HIV/AIDS halting the trafficking of persons or designing an efficient energy grid -- which are all policies addressed by the U.S. Mission in Nigeria -- the materials found in American Corners will help you address these issues and conduct research on almost any other issues.

The U.S. Government through our Fulbright program sponsors several Nigerian and American scholars to conduct research at institutions in the U.S. and Nigeria. One of our Fulbright scholars Dr. Cliff Missen developed software known as an e-Granary which places thousands of resource materials on a single server. The U.S Mission is installing these e-Granary software systems in our American Corners throughout Nigeria as a tool to increase the ability to conduct research for free. We are excited that this American Corner Lagos will be using this e-Granary system to provide the highest quality of service to youth students and scholars in the area.

By signing this memorandum of understanding we are committing to work together to enhance education in Nigeria. While the U.S. Mission to Nigeria is committed to supporting you in this endeavor it is up to the students, businesses, journalists, and academics to be interactive with the resources available at American Corner Lagos. It can provide the best possible service for access to information that you deem important for your future or the future of your business. Education is something the U.S. government spends a lot of money on in Nigeria. We want the best for Nigerian education and the best American Corner Lagos for you. So today I say welcome to American Corner

Thank you.