Chiemelie Ezeobi

By Rebecca Ejifoma

The Defence and Crime reporter for THISDAY Newspaper, Chiemelie Ezeobi, has been nominated by the United States Government for the 2018 International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP).

Ezeobi was chosen to represent Nigeria in the multi-regional project of Countering Violent Extremism – Media and Messaging Strategies project under the IVLP.

According to the coordinators, violent extremists have used promotional and social media in their attempt to undermine democratic principles and subvert populations to advance their own ends.

Thus, this project for journalists and specialists supports the Department’s strategic goal of countering violent extremism and supporting democracy by exploring the relationship between government and the media in countering violent extremism.

Participants are expected to examine the roles and influences of professional journalists who keep democracies vibrant by contributing accurate, timely, and verifiable information to the body politic.
They are also expected to examine the roles and responsibilities of a free press in a democracy and the principles and laws governing the press in the United States.

Also, they are to gain an understanding of the evolution, current status, and trends in a variety of media in the U.S., including blogs and social media.

They are to explore ways in which governments and professional media influence communities, policies, laws and regulations.

The are also expected to assess the impact of governmental counter-measures and messaging through social media and new communication technologies in support of democratic traditions.

The programme, which started on Monday, March 12 in Washington District of Columbia, ends March 30, 2018 and is fully funded by the U.S. government.

The IVLP is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange programme

Each year, nearly 5,000 exchange participants come to the U.S. on the IVLP. More than 200,000 international visitors have engaged with Americans through the IVLP, including more than 500 current or former chiefs of state or heads of government.

Launched in 1940, the IVLP helps strengthen U.S. engagement with countries around the world and cultivate lasting relationships by connecting current and emerging foreign leaders with their American counterparts through short-term visits to the country.

The majority of IVLP exchanges include visits to four U.S. communities over three weeks, although projects vary based on themes, Embassy requests and other factors. Participants meet with professional counterparts, visit U.S. public and private sector organisations related to the project theme and participate in cultural and social activities.