‘US Exchange Programme Started So Humanity Could Recover from World War II’

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Conducts orientation for Nigerian participants
Chiemelie Ezeobi

The United States Consul General, F. John Bray, on Tuesday said educational and professional exchange programmes were started 75 years ago to figure out how humanity could recover from the effects of World War II.

Bray said this during the 2016 pre-departure orientation for Nigerian exchange participants in the most prestigious educational and professional exchange programs sponsored by the US government held in Lagos.

The statement from the consular said the participants undertook orientation on health, and safety, and how to be successful as a US exchange programme participant.

The statement read: “Last year, we celebrated the 75thanniversary of the first exchange programs that the United State government attempted. We have learned a lot since about how to design a fantastic experience.
“We started such programmes, trying to fig

ure out how humanity could recover from World War II. But there has been one immutable lesson we have taken away from organising bilateral exchanges during and after the Cold War.

“As President Dwight Eisenhower said when he was advocating people-to-people programs in 1956: “If we are going to take advantage of the assumption that all people want peace, then the problem is for people to get together and to leap governments—if necessary to evade governments—to work out not one method but thousands of methods by which people can gradually learn a little bit more of each other.

“Over these 75 years we have had hundreds of Nobel Prize winners, legislators, governors, ministers, heads of government, and heads of state grow in their careers and emerge as leaders with these titles after they had their immersion experience in a US exchange programme.

“You are a truly impressive group. You are about to attend the leading, most prestigious exchange programs we have to offer, as Humphrey Fellows, Fulbright scholars and researchers, and participants in the Study of the US Institutes program, the Teaching Excellence and Achievement Programme, and TechWomen.
“You may not yet realise it, but I promise you – your lives will be changed forever, both professionally and personally, as researchers, teachers, and entrepreneurs.

“In 20 years, you will remember the American friends and colleagues, the universities, the cities and rural areas where you find yourself. It will shape your thinking and your career in ways you never expected. I urge you to be as open as you can be. Be a sponge, soaking up everything you can, and push your boundaries.

“I urge to you to remember that these exchanges are not just one-way. They are bilateral. We want you to learn as much as you can from what you see and experience in America. But just as importantly, we want you to share Nigeria with Americans who will never have encountered your culture before.
“You have so much music, folk stories and sayings, traditional attire, and ways of thinking that will fascinate Americans. We are a urious people, as you will see.
“Mutual understanding across cultures and national boundaries makes a tremendous difference in international affairs for generations.

“We don’t just advance knowledge and technology and ideas with the creative talent found in every country, we advance lasting human ties and friendships that make peace and prosperity much more possible, and real, for ordinary citizens across the globe.

“Less visible have been all the thousands of leaders who have shined in their fields without the titles, as professors and business leaders, and expert policymakers behind the politicians. You are part of that wealth of talent. How far will you take this opportunity to grow?
“I want each of you to learn from the leaders in this room, but especially about my fellow Americans whom you encounter.
“And I want my Public Affairs staff to hear from you when you come back. Most of all, I want to hear news of how you have taken what you learned, and how you have shaped it to the benefit of Nigeria, and to the benefit of the entire world.”