Monday, June 15, 2009

Signing A PPP Supporting Fulbright Program

June 12 - This evening the CEO and Managing Director of Bank PHB held a dinner in my honor at the Medici restaurant in downtown Lagos on Victoria Island. The CEO invited his most celebrated clients and friends and it was a lovely evening attend by some 30 people in a lovely resturant. I tend to want these events to have a purpose besides just a good meal and a wonderful atmosphere, so I suggested that we use the evening to formally sign our next Public Private Partnership (PPP) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement with Bank PHB. This MOU-PPP is the only one the U.S. Mission has with a Nigerian Bank that supports one of our premier education programs -- the Fulbright Program -- where Bank PHB funds one Fulbright Senior Scholar to study in the United States each year. The MOU was originally to be for three years, but during my remarks that evening, I highlighted President Obama's recent speech in Cairo on a new beginning for America. Thus, I suggested on the spot that as part of the President's new beginning and given that his inauguration was in January, 2009, we make the MOU-PPP for fours years to coincide with the inaugural year of the U.S President. This got a bit of a laugh by the esteemed group, and by the time I got back to my seat next to the PHB CEO he agreed to extend the MOU to four years. Now we can fund four instead of three Nigerian Senior Fulbrighters with the support of Bank PHB. We signed the MOU following my remarks and penned in the changes. It was a good night for the U.S. Mission, Bank PHB, and education in Nigeria!!