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Cablegate: Fulbright Alumni Association of Nigeria

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 000025

SIPDIS


SECSTATE FOR ECA/A/E/AF (EBerelson, WBell, AMartin)
INFO AF/PD (AAmirthanayagam); Abuja for CPAO, CAO, CAS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OEXC SCUL NI
SUBJECT: FULBRIGHT ALUMNI ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA
SUCCESSFULLY INAUGURATES BOARD OF TRUSTEES AT THIRD
ANNUAL CONFERENCE


1. SUMMARY: The 3rd annual conference of the
Fulbright Alumni Association of Nigeria (FAAN) was held
from November 25-28 at Nsukka, home of the first
indigenous Nigerian university. The three-day program
with the theme "Globalization and Development In
Nigeria" included addresses by the CPAO and a current
U.S. senior Fulbright scholar; a message read from DAS-
Academic Programs Thomas A. Farrell; and the
inauguration of the newly-formed Board of Trustees, an
innovative idea to enhance interest and planning
activities of FAAN. After a relatively unsuccessful
2001 conference, FAAN proved to PAS this year that it
was capable of organizing a productive conference, and
PAS was proud to have sponsored this year's successful
event.


2. DESCRIPTION OF ACTIVITY: The conference began with
a PAS courtesy call on the Chairman of the conference
and host Vice-Chancellor, former Fulbright Professor
Ginigeme Mbanefoh who also delivered the welcome
address that preceded an inspiring keynote address by
Professor Elizabeth U. Anyakoha, a renowned UNN
lecturer on vocational education. The CPAO read a
congratulatory message from DAS-Academic Programs
Thomas A. Farrell and delivered remarks on finding
one's niche in a globalized world. Duly registered as a
corporate body, a Board of Trustees for FAAN was
inaugurated as part of the opening ceremonies. The new
FAAN Board is composed of many of Nigeria's world class
scholars, including the first and only female Vice
Chancellor as well as several other VCs. Papers on sub-
themes related to the central theme of `Globalization
and Development in Nigeria' were presented, discussed
and defended. There was a consensus that liberal
democratization is an essential ingredient, as well as
national security, good governance, and observance of
the rule of law, for globalization and development in
Nigeria. Finally, a new National Executive Board was
elected for a two-year term, and it was decided to hold
the 2003 conference at the Nigerian Institute of Policy
and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), a prominent public think-
tank in Jos.


The presence of Dr. Jean Borgatti, current U.S.
Fulbright senior scholar of Art History at the
University of Benin, gave a fresh and aesthetic insight
into the topics at hand. She also suggested creating a
FAAN website on which all the papers could be placed
for other Fulbrighters and the general public to read,
and she offered to help create the web-site for the
Association.


Another new development was the decision to publish a
journal of all papers presented at the conference.
Many far-reaching innovations and recommendations were
brought up in the course of the Annual General Meeting
(AGM) on the second day of the conference, such as the
introduction of the Fulbright conference journal to the
GON through the Federal Ministry of Education. At the
end of the conference, a communiqu was issued to all
participants about the highlights of the discussions,
and this communiqu will be forwarded to Education
committees in government circles as well as all Vice-
Chancellors of Nigerian universities. FAAN hopes to
eventually become self-funded and be an important voice
in government decision-making processes in the
educational sector.


3. BACKGROUND: FAAN is one of Nigeria's newest
academic associations though the large Nigerian
Fulbright academic exchange program dates back to the
early 1970s. Inaugurated in 2000, the Association is
now fully registered with the Corporate Affairs
s
Commission as a corporate body with a Constitution and
a National Executive Council (NEC). Although FAAN had
a rocky start, enthusiasm of the National Executive is
high, and this year's conference has been a positive
force for reinvigorating the organization.
In his presidential address, Professor G. M. Babatunde,
outgoing FAAN President and new FAAN Board member,
praised the timeliness of the conference theme and
encouraged members to consider how to make FAAN
relevant to the Nigerian university system and an
audible voice in government policy-making.


4. Result/Impact: Excellent. The selection of the
theme "Globalization and Development in Nigeria" was
timely, relevant, and thought-provoking. It will form
the basis for much of FAAN's future planning and
activities.


5. Date: November 25-28, 2002 FY 2003, First Quarter


6. MPP Umbrella Theme: Strengthening Economic Growth


7. Audience Reached: Despite being held during Ramadan,
70 Fulbright alumni and participants from as far as
Bayero University in Kano State attended. Others,
university students, Trustees of the Board and other
guest participants who are interested in the Fulbright
program, were greatly influenced by the extensive
deliberations by academics and researchers, Vice-
Chancellors, Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Deans and
lecturers alike who were at the conference. The
Fulbright scholars will incorporate the knowledge
gained from these papers in their lectures to varying
student populations in their respective institutions.


The FAAN National Executive has also commenced plans to
publish a journal of all papers presented at the 3rd
annual conference for future reference purposes at
universities throughout the country. In addition, the
conference attracted a total of twenty new subscribers
to the Embassy's Crossroads newsletter. A full report
of the FAAN conference will be published in the next
edition of the Crossroads, providing information on
FAAN to the 6,000 subscribers. Finally, the planned
FAAN web-site will facilitate communication and unity
among Fulbright alumni across the nation.


8. Non-USG Funding: FAAN had a total sum of over Naira
400,000.00 (approximately USD 3,000.00) in its bank
account, which was used to commence planning activities
for this year's conference. The money represented
annual dues paid by alumni over the past two years as
well as minor cash donations.


9. Quality of U.S. Support: Excellent. FAAN is
especially grateful to ECA/A/E/AF for securing the
DAS's special message, which clearly touched the
participants. PAS would also appreciate receiving
information on alternate sources of funding to augment
PAS funds.
HINSON-JONES

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