‘Carrington Youths Initiative will Create Knowledge Economy for Nigeria’

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Emma Okonji

The United States Consul General, John Bray has said the Carrington Youths Fellowship Initiative (CYFI) will graduate fellows that will bring wealth of knowledge and skills to the table, and share a common vision with the goal of positively impacting Nigerian society.

Bray, who spoke during the graduation of the 2017 Fellows, said the youths came from diverse academic and professional backgrounds in the fields of public health, medicine, technology, journalism, law, agriculture, and finance.

The CYFI fellows are grouped into four teams based on their common interests and backgrounds – civil liberties, health, education, and economic empowerment.

The U.S. Consulate General launched the Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative in 2011 with the goal of bringing together Nigerian youth to design and implement projects focused on societal innovation. These projects center around broader themes championed by Ambassador Walter Carrington, for whom the initiative was named.

The Fellows were initially selected by a committee comprised of the Carrington Youth Fellowship Alumni Network (CYFAN) and officers at the Consulate in coordination with the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy.
At the 2017 Fellows graduation, which took place in Lagos recently, Bray thanked the Public Affairs Section of the Embassy for working so hard to make sure that the finances for the program are maintained and distributed each year.

“Our objective at the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos is to support efforts that address Nigerian issues, particularly economic development, access to healthcare, peace and security and transparency and good governance. To that end, the CYFI program is an incredibly valuable program, in that it allows some of the most promising young people in Nigeria who are passionate about these issues to affect real, positive change,” Bray said.

He advised the graduating students to always remember that they are a select few chosen from a pool of the most talented and driven young people in Nigeria, adding that the friendships and partnerships they have developed over the year with CYFI, will become some of the most rewarding.

He urged them to remain in touch with their cohort and maintain the strength of the common bond they have formed together through their collaboration in this past year.

“Stay committed and passionate to societal innovation and change in your society, even in the face of obstacles. As you’ve learned this year, you can run into all kinds of challenges in the course of implementing real and meaningful change. I hope that the successes you have had this year have shown you that the importance and impact of your efforts far outweigh the trials and tribulations you sometimes face in the course of enacting this change,” Bray said.