A Global Moment in Time

Kunle Ogunfuyi

In the fall of 2021, the U.S. Department of States, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (Office of International Visitors) in collaboration with World Learning and other sister agencies set out for the first time in the history of the oldest professional exchange programme to focus on photojournalists who risked their lives documenting the challenges and opportunities in the Covid Era around the world.

The programme, “A Global Moment in Time,” is a multi-regional project of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) that brought together 67 photojournalists from 53 countries. All these journalists were individually selected by the U.S. embassy in their respective home countries.

The year-long programme included a month-long virtual bit from October 2021, a bridge programme covering monthly gallery exhibition, panel discussions with activities that enabled participants to stay connected and a two-week in person programme in the United States. The in-person programme was also an expository exploit to the reality of the States.

All participating photojournalists landed in Washington DC before embarking on group visit to five states covering; Texas, Minnesota, Louisiana, Oregon and New Mexico. 

The groups converged at St Pete Florida to share experience before returning home.

Washington DC Tour

Washington DC, the U.S. capital, is a compact city with 75 National historic landmarks which includes, memorials and monuments to presidents, wars, servicemen, and individuals. It is home to The White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court building and the famous Abraham Lincoln memorial. You cannot get enough of the Capital in one or two tours because of so much stops. 

Surprisingly, the streets and parks of DC are also home to homeless people with some of them with stories that are unverifiable within my given time to back their situations.

Some claimed they are forgotten war veterans; others are foreigners including a Nigerian with stories to get sympathy or support, although, he was looking physically healthy with his shopping cart holding his belongings with a smile.  

If truth be told, not all that glitters is gold with the land, do not “Japa” because it’s trending without a legitimate and proper plan so you don’t contribute to the ever-increasing homeless population in the capital city or any other parts of the world within a short time.

My Split City 

We landed in Santa Fe, New Mexico’s capital. The calm atmosphere and uniformity in the adobe architectural buildings almost everywhere as we shuttle from the city’s small airport to the residential area will make one wonder if there is a local law that prohibits other styles of buildings. Santa Fe is 400+ years old and also a home to an extensive array of museums and immersive art experiences with over 220 galleries, and close to 100 are located on Canyon Road.  

If you are over excited to see a lot of native Americans like myself, you may be disappointed as tourists and settlers have taken over the traditional city. 

There are places to keep you busy day and night during your stay in New Mexico as most hotels have free well-detailed printed maps and friendly staff that are always ready to direct you to your next stop. Hotel Santa Fe, the only native American owned hotel, is a nice way to start the exploration. For the Art lovers, Artist Market, Canyon road, historical worship structures, Nampe Lake, Bandelier National Park; and the list is endless.

Back Home

If the Nigerian system can take conscious effort in preserving and cleaning the paths to our numerous historical monuments and tourist destinations, just imagine the numerous benefits.

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