US exchange programmes: Ambassador urges Cameroonians to use opportunity to impact home country.
The US diplomat was speaking while chairing the opening of the second edition of the Cameroon Alumni National Symposium. The symposium began yesterday on the campus of the National Advanced School of Administration and Magistracy, ENAM, in Yaounde.
The three-day symposium which ends tomorrow Saturday, is organised by the US Embassy in Yaounde. This is in collaboration US Government Alumni Network Cameroon.
Speaking during the event, Ambassador Lamora called on Cameroonians to seize the opportunities of the exchange programmes to sharpen their skills and be able to impact Cameroon socio-economically upon their return.
“We are very happy that thousands of Cameroonian over many decades have been able to take advantage of these programmes to go to the United States, improve their skills, come back, and contribute to the economic and social development of their country,” the diplomat said, while urging others to do so.
“We have brought together all the people who have done this programme to strengthen their network even more and I think it is a good thing for Cameroon’s future,” Ambassador Lamora added.
Describing the US as a long-time friend and partner of Cameroon, Ambassador Lamora pledged to continue cooperating with Cameroon beyond education and the exchange programmes.
Citing the example of the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR, the Lamora stated that: “In Cameroon, we have invested 320 billion FCFA through PEPFAR in helping and accompanying Cameroon in making progress in fight against HIV and AIDS, and strengthening Cameroon health system overall to deal with other threats”.
US-Cameroon relations saluted
The Representative of the Minister of Youth Affairs and Civic Education, saluted the bilateral relations existing between Cameroon and the US.
Urging the participants to actively participate in the programme, he also appreciated the government of President Joe Biden for the different mentorship and scholarship programmes that have and is still empowering the Cameroonian youth.
On his part, the Board Chair of the US Government Alumni Network Cameroon, Josue Noukam, said the holding of the second national symposium is an indication of the successes registered during the first edition held in April 2022.
“The created alumni network had as mission to be registered, encourage unstructured alumni groups to be structured and registered, and enhance synergy among alumni associations. Today's event is the manifestation and fulfilment of this mission,” he said.
Noukam further mentioned that the multiplicity of the exchange programmes is an indication of the ever growing collaboration between the US Department of State and the Cameroonian government to support youth actions for Cameron's economic development.
He stated that “these joint efforts has contributed greatly over the years to finding practical solutions to gaps in access to health, good governance and the rule of law, human rights and democracy, peace and violent extremism, women's rights, and youth entrepreneurship to name a few”.
Participants declare expectations
The several participants who thronged the event hall, have declared their expectations for the symposium.
Young agricultural engineer at the University of Dschang, Katte Nsiyapnze, said the programme on the first is already enticing.
“I came here with several expectations on how to make use of the opportunities that are being provided to us by the American Embassy through the different programmes. The discussions that I have had with few other alumni has already galvanise me the more,” Nsiyapnze stated.
Similarly, Theophile Bobga, student at the University of Yaounde II, said he hopes to benefit from one of the programmes by attending the symposium.
“I came here to learn more on the exchange programmes and the opportunities that the US government offers to Cameroonians. Since I am interested in International Relations, I want to know how the US relate with Cameroon in fostering economic development through the youth,” the participant averred.