The United States government has said it’s committed to providing free educational information and programmes that will help Nigerians to develop their skills through American Spaces in Nigeria.
US Ambassador, Mary Beth Leonard, and Co-founders of Venture Garden Group (VGG), Bunmi Akinyemiju, and Kunmi Demuren, on Saturday, March 5, officiated the launch of the new American Corner in Ikeja.
Also, present at the launch was the Lagos State Governor Special Adviser on Sustainable Development Goals, Solape Hammond.
Ambassador Leonard described the opening as yet another example of the bourgeoning US and Nigeria bilateral relations, noting the broad range of programmes that take place at the American corner.
“A significant aspect of US foreign policy, and a cornerstone of my leadership of the US Mission in Nigeria, is investing in people,” Ambassador Leonard said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by alumni of US government exchange programmes, business, cultural, media and political leaders.
“The new American Corner in Ikeja will function as a centre where young people develop their ideas, as well as their leadership and entrepreneurship skills through programmes and workshops.”
Praising the partnership with VGG which hosts the new American corner, Ambassador Leonard said: “Lagos is a city of industry, entrepreneurship, and learning. It is great that the American corner will help bring the people of Nigeria and the United States closer.”
In their separate remarks, Bunmi Akinyemiju and Kunmi Demuren, VGG co-founders, explained that the US consulate general’s partnership with the tech group has been mutually beneficial.
“The American corner, Ikeja directly advances one of our commitments to add value to Nigeria’s efforts to develop and support an educational system that will unlock the expertise, innovative spirit, and entrepreneurial capacity of young Nigerians,” Akinyemiju said.
“We’re delighted that this new American corner will offer even more opportunities to young people to discover the US as they prepare for their futures,” Demuren said.
Hammond welcomed the American corner, Ikeja to the family of American Spaces in Nigeria, saying: “The American corner, Ikeja will go a long way in complementing the Lagos State government efforts, particularly in broad areas of promoting education and technology learning.”
The American corner, Ikeja imparts a welcoming and inspiring American-themed environment comprising a maker space, a tech area designed to promote digital skill building as well as a workshop space equipped with the latest laptops and tablets for learning.
Visitors can also learn about study in the United States through its comprehensive library collection of exam prep materials and information on colleges and universities in the United States.
The corner offers conversation clubs, discussion groups, virtual programmes, film screenings on a wide range of topics as well as STEM learning activities such as robotics and drone technology.
American spaces are a home to over 9,000 US government alumni who programme at the spaces in an effort to give back to their local communities.
Visitors to the American corner will typically include students, teachers, entrepreneurs, academics, journalists, civic organisations, government officials, and community leaders, in addition to many others.