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Open Society Foundations Announce 2023 Soros Justice Fellows

New York, Nov. 03, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Open Society Foundations is pleased to announce the 2023 cohort of Soros Justice Fellows, which includes a mix of emerging and established leaders in the field of criminal justice reform, including public educators, artists, lawyers, activists, non-profit innovators, journalists, and filmmakers from across the United States.

“Over the more than a decade that I have worked with the Soros Justice Fellowships, I’ve seen a great number of fellows go on and continue to serve as changemakers in their local communities, and nationally,” said Adam Culbreath, Senior Team Manager at Open Society–U.S. “This is an incredibly unique program to advance justice in the U.S., which supports the notion that change often happens from the ground up.

“Mass incarceration has an enormous and disastrous toll on our communities and represents one of the most glaring injustices of our nation. Today, nearly 10 million Americans—including millions of children—have an immediate family member in jail or prison,” said Christina Voight, program manager at Open Society–U.S. “Each Soros Justice Fellow can play a role in changing this broken system.”

Each fellow will receive stipends ranging from $100,000 to $140,000 for projects lasting between 12 and 18 months to ensure accountability in the U.S. criminal justice system by developing new ways to combat mass incarceration, youth criminalization, surveillance, immigration policies, racial disparities, and police violence. The Soros Justice Fellowships were founded in 1997 and have funded over 400 individuals working to curb mass incarceration and ensure a fair and equitable system of justice.

2023 Soros Justice Fellows

Ashley Rojas will educate movement leaders and cultivate power between the movement for #PoliceFreeSchools and the broader culture of abolitionist organizing efforts to end harm and punishment.

Avalon Betts-Gaston and Lloyd Gaston will research the scope and impact of Illinois Worker Rights amendment on incarcerated workers.

Betty Washingtonwill create OASIS (Our Aging Seniors Incarcerated Society), a project focusing on advocating for the needs of justice-impacted seniors.

Bridgette Simpson will educate the public and create The Protected Class Network, seeking to make justice-impacted people a protected class.

Cheryl Fairbanks will educate native Indigenous people and strengthen concepts of justice through an Indigenous peacemaking lens.

Dominique Branson will educate, document, and destabilize anti-Black ideologies that legitimize pretrial dangerousness predictions and harm Black communities.

Jenani Srijeyanthan will educate and establish a counter-narrative to carceral child sexual abuse prevention approaches through the amplification, technical resourcing, and proliferation of a nationwide prevention movement that does not prioritize policing, criminalization, or surveillance.

Jordan Martinez-Mazurek will educate the public and start local and regional dialogues around fighting the expansion of mass incarceration in the South and in Appalachia.

Mary Baxter will, through an art piece entitled Reimagining Dignity: A Love Letter to Ourselves, educate the public to reimagine racially-charged and gender-oppressive historical events. The piece will reckon with the fallacies of first- and second-wave feminism.

Omisade Burney-Scott will curate a multidisciplinary initiative and educate the public on reproductive justice, radical Black feminism, gender liberation, and pathways to normalizing menopause and aging for the marginalized Black population.

Rachel Gilmer will educate the public and build a united front of survivors and healthcare providers with the goal of creating non-carceral solutions that address the root causes of violence in our communities.

Talila Lewis will educate and create media and art that highlights how ableism informs and drives racism, anti-Blackness, capitalism, and other forms of oppression, violence, and inequity.

Toshio Meronek will educate the public and justice advocates about the expansion of involuntary medical conservatorship in Arkansas, with a focus on its potential human and financial consequences.

Wendi Cooper and Matt Nadel will organize a statewide screening tour of the documentary film CANS Can’t Stand to educate the public about the archaic 1805 Crimes Against Nature by Solicitation statute and the harsh punishments it imposed.

Open Society Foundations
(212) 548-0378

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8972502


France promises to return $150m Abacha loot

Paris made a commitment in Abuja on Friday to return 150 million dollars of deceased Gen. Sani Abacha’s loot frozen in France.

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, Ms Catherine Colonna told a news conference that France would return the loot to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

“France will return to Nigeria assets stolen from the Nigerian people by Abacha and his family that have been frozen in France.

“We will start discussions with the Nigerian administration to allocate these 150 million dollars to development projects that will benefit the population, according to the priorities of the Nigerian government,’’ she said.

She explained that the commitment was in response to a request submitted by the Nigerian Ministry of Justice to the government of France.

Colonna added that to deepen bilateral relations between Nigeria and France, her country had reinforced partnership between the two countries over the last year and would want go further.

“I had the great honour of being received by President Bola Tinubu. Our discussion focused on the state of our bilateral partnership as well as on major regional and global crises.

“I thanked him for participating in the summit on a New Global Financing Pact that we hosted in Paris in June.

“More broadly, I acknowledged the irreplaceable role of Nigeria in global governance,’’ she said.

Colonna noted that Nigeria, Africa’s leading economy, is also France’s first trading partner in Sub-Sahara Africa.

“France’s foreign direct investments in Nigeria have doubled over the last 10 years and have exceeded 10 billion euros.

“More than 100 French companies are working in Nigeria.

“They do not only sell French products, they invest in Nigeria’s economy and have created more than 10,000 jobs in factories, farms and also engage vocational training.

“Our goal in the coming years is to further increase these investments in Nigeria and also the investments of Nigerian companies in France.

“The French government also invests directly in Nigeria through financing from the French Development Agency,’’ she said.

Colonna was in Abuja on a one-day visit to discuss Franco-Nigerian partnership in the areas of cultures and the creative industry of the Nigerian economy.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


National Library unveils database for author’s online publications

The National Library of Nigeria (NLN) has unveiled a database called ‘Boldscholar’ that would proffer solutions for pirated works of Nigerian authors.

Prof. Chinwe Anunobi, Chief Executive Officer of NLN at the unveiling of an AI- Powered E-library Platform, ‘Boldscholar’ in Abuja, said the platform would break the jinx of writing and people not getting access to the books written.

Anunobi said that with the advent of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), there was need to move from the traditional means of depositing resources to online format.

She added that this would help generate money for the authors and publishers as well as Nigerian would benefit from getting access to electronic resources.

According to her, Nigerians are highly prolific writers, just imagine within the space of one year, we issued 17,000 International Standard Book Number (ISBN).

“This platform is a database and the national library has the responsibility to collect, process and preserve every information and resource emanating from Nigerians.

“We have been doing it religiously in the traditional format and then with the introduction of ICT it became very difficult for us to gather all the resources that are published in the country in electronic format.

“Initially, we didn’t have any choice but to ask them to submit their resources in CD and flash but we discovered that those that were published directly online but then it became difficult to get them into the memory of the country.

“Thinking of how to solve this problem, Boldscholar in June 2022 approached us to help us with a databank for the national library so that all those resources published electronically, we can have them within the memory of the country.

“So we embraced it and sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). So for us it’s a win-win thing for us because we are going to now have everything that is published in Nigeria so that publishers and authors can have value for their work.

“It will also help visibility because users will be able to access them from the comfort of their houses . It is a win-win thing, authors and publishers will get money and people will know what authors are writing,” she said.

Also, the Consultant and developer of Boldscholar, Chukwuemeka Godswill, said that platform would be of immense benefit to Nigerians as they would only pay one thousand naira for reading online.

Godswill said the platform would curb piracy and authors would be afforded the opportunities to earn money for their works.

According to him, the platform was developed to create online visibility for books published by Nigerian authors, for easy access to scholars.

“It is also to provide aggregate journals published by Nigerian tertiary institutions for global visibility and impact factor acceleration, fastrack the proliferation of e-learning in Nigeria and across Africa by providing easy access to digital resources required for online studies.

“It provide easy access to education resources for the visually impaired through audio books, enables Nigerian tertiary institutions and authors to generate revenue (IGR) from their intellectual property (journals and books) through a system that makes them earn revenue for every page accessed by researchers.

“We discovered Nigerians write books but nobody reads these books so we initiated this platform to help reach both local and international audience,” he said.

“On Boldscholar, you can have a billion readers and as more people reads, the authors get more money unlike what it used to be when after writing a book, you hardly see people reading such.

“The platform will also help the national library to collect all the books published by Nigerian as obtained in other climes and readers can also access contents from Nigerian authors,” he said.

He, therefore, said that the platform had been built in such a way that authors work could be translated into 40 languages, adding that the platform would be readily available for access in two weeks.

The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman said that literacy works had contributed in preserving the culture of the Nigerian society, hence the need to preserve the works of the authors for economic and national growth.

Represented by the Director of Basic Education in the ministry, Dr Folake Olatunji-David, he said that there was however need for change in every sector by reflecting a rich cultural diversity, presenting solutions and fostering communities through literature.

He said that literary works had also helped in address addressing societal issues like corruption, gender equality, and social justice.

“In Nigeria, writers are at the forefront of encouraging people of all ethnicities to march toward a future full of vigour and vitality. Therefore, the role of writers in our society is irreplaceable.

“Writers have, over the years, helped to emancipate people’s thinking, stimulate people’s enthusiasm, and inspire people to march towards the goal of national consciousness.

“Looking back, I think that our Nigerian writers, like workers in other fields, have scored considerable achievements and should enjoy the respect, trust, and love of our government,” he said.

Similarly, the President, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Mr Camillus Ukah, said the association had placed a significant emphasis on promoting literature in schools and communities across Nigeria.

Ukah said it had also partnered with educational institutions, libraries, and government agencies to cultivate a love for reading and writing among the youth.

“The association has witnessed remarkable achievements and significant milestones.Together, we have worked tirelessly to promote and celebrate Nigerian literature, to amplify the voices of our talented authors, and to inspire the next generation of storytellers.

“We have fostered an environment that encourages creativity, intellectual discourse, and cultural exchange, and I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished together.

“One of our best achievements has been the successful revival of the Mbari Series, a monthly discussion programme that provides a platform for established writers.

“It has also been a platform for aspiring writers to discuss, learn, grow, connect with one another, and bond with mentors,” he said.

He reiterated the need to recognise the vital role that creativity played in shaping the future of the country and as such had empowered young minds to find their voices, embrace their identities, and contribute to the rich literary tapestry of Nigeria.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


Black History Month: CBAAC lauds Rema’s performance at 2023 Ballon d’Or

The Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC) has commended Nigerian afrobeats star, Divine Ikubor, popularly known as Rema for an outstanding performance during 2023 Ballon d’Or awards held in Paris.

Its Director-General, Mrs Oluwabunmi Amao who recounted how electrifying Rema’s performance was, said Africans had contributed significantly to global arts and entertainment growth over the years.

Amao, during the 2023 Black History Month celebration organised by the centre with the theme “The Contributions of Africans to the Arts” noted that quite a number of blacks have continue to make notable contributions to the growth of arts.

The programme held at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife in Osun State was done virtually and physically.

She said just like in the sciences and engineering, black Africa had made giant strides in the arts and its different facets such as music, literature, fashion, filmmaking, performing arts and many others in the modern world.

“I had the opportunity of watching the performance of one of Africa’s finest pop musicians called Rema at the World largest football award ceremony, the 2023 Ballon d’Or and indeed it was a very proud moment for me as an African and a Nigerian.

“I watched with admiration how Rema held his audience spellbound at this prestigious event.

“Indeed, this was a typical example of the contributions of Africans in the area of music and it is little wonder, that many believe music is Africa’s and Nigeria’s biggest export in the creative industry.

“It is only right that we continue to recognise, celebrate and honour Africans who have made significant contributions not just in the arts but the various facets of live.”

Amao noted that the black history month celebration had been deliberately organised to create platform for advocacy to the children.

She urged students present to take pride in their Africanness and black identity.

“I want you all to be conscious of the fact that your African identity is never a limitation to what you can achieve and become in life.

“Pls take deliberate efforts to acquaint yourselves with African history.

“We have carefully instituted this event to celebrate and appreciate black and African history, as well as reecho the giant strides of Africans over forces of domination, discrimination and exploitation.

“Our celebration of the Black History Month is also geared towards showcasing to the world the tremendous contributions of Black people to world civilisation.’

The D-G noted that the black history month celebration began in the United States as Negro History Week and instituted by the renowned African-American historian, Dr Carter Woodson.

She said the sole aim was to protest the exclusion of the contributions of African Americans from history textbooks in the United States.

According to her, since it began nearly a century ago, the celebration of the black history month had grown and gained global acceptance.

Earlier, Prof Gbenga Fasiku, Director, Institute of Cultural Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife described music rendered by David Adeleke, “Davido” and majority of Nigerian artistes as distinctive.

Also, Prof Adetayo Ogunlewe, professor of literature and cultural studies, Lagos State University explained that Africans’ contributions toward world civilisation was mostly from literature, with minimal from history.

He said Africans must work on liberating themselves from mental colonisation which was responsible in perceiving African culture as inferior.

“Pls be proud of your colour, regardless of what you are called. In Africa, we take pride in honour, integrity and achievements.

“We all must continue to work hard to ensure we remain people of integrity, great honour and loaded with achievements,” he said.

The event witnessed series of beautiful cultural performances by different cultural troupes and drama l, as well as poetry presentations.

Students present for the programme were all made to speak on what the black history month means to them, reawakening their consciousness to the beauty of being an African.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

General Uncategorized

We are committed to developing cycling infrastructure in Abuja – FCTA

Mr Arch Uboku, the Mandate Secretary, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Transport secretariat, said the administration was committed to encouraging cycling as a means of transport in the capital city.

Uboku said this at the hand over ceremony of 20 pilot bicycles donated to students of Government Secondary School, Tudu Wada, Wuse Zone 4 and inauguration of bicycles parking facility.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ochenuel Mobility, an NGO, in collaboration with Global Designing Initiative, USA, donated the bicycles to the students and constructed the bicycle park in the school.

Uboku, who was represented by Mr Pascal Nnadozie, Chief Administrative Officer at the Transport Secretariat, stated that the government was committed to developing cycling to serve as complementary to public transport.

“Accordingly, we shall expedite action to facilitate inclusive policies and regulations as well as facility provisions that will enable a safe cycling environment.

“I will ensure that the Directorate of Road Traffic Services, who are in support of this project, play their contributory roles to ensure safety.

“On this note, I call on my counterpart, the Executive Secretary of FCDA, whom we have always worked together to fast-track development, creation and recovery of bicycle lanes at high speed, to enable safe cycling.

“It should be noted that bicycle lanes are parts of the urban road designs in the Abuja master plan but were largely ignored at the point of construction,” he said.

He added that the FCT administration had earlier expressed optimism to commence the recovery of the lanes.

Uboku, who commended Ochenuel Mobility, urged all beneficiary students to ride safely.

He advised the school management to make good use of the parking facility.

The Director of FCT Secondary Education Board, Dr Mohammed Sani, said the benefits of cycling to the students were enormous.

According to him, cycling regularly can improve physical activities which results in enhanced intelligence, healthier life with fewer out-of-school days due to illnesses.

“Parents can save money from the cost of transport and or the use of personal cars as they won’t have to waste time and resources to drive their children to school.

“The government supports and collaborates with Ochenuel Mobility in replicating the project in other schools in the FCT, ” he said.

Mr John Emmanuel, the Chief Executive Officer of Ochenuel Mobility, said the vision behind the project was to ensure 30 per cent of students cycled to school in FCT by 2025.

According to him, the project which has six critical activities, enjoyed the support of the Global Designing Initiative from the USA.

He said the project started in May, with a national stakeholder’s forum on safe streets to school.

“Following feasibility study on select school corridors, there will be capacity building programme for the city authority and security/safety agencies.

“Thereafter, an open-street event will be held to sensitise the public, drivers and other road users.

“The final leg in the project is the workshop for parents and teachers ahead of the commissioning of the bicycle parking and handover of bicycles to selected students by random picking of their names.

“I humbly call for sustenance of the collaboration with the government to replicate the project in other schools and to ensure all residents of the FCT can ride bicycles safely across the city’s roads,“ he said.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


Rep begins 5-Day free medical outreach for Lagos constituents

Rep. Bashiru Dawodu (APC-Lagos) has begun a five-day medical outreach in Oshodi-Isolo Federal Constituency 1 of Lagos State, offering valuable healthcare services to hundreds of his constituents.

Mr Salako Damilare, his adviser on Media and Publicity, in a statement said the outreach was designed to provide free medical checkups to residents of Oshodi-Isolo, and to enable them to assess their health conditions.

He said the services offered included blood pressure level check, diabetes test, free medications, and the distribution of prescription glasses to those with impaired vision.

The spokesman said the beneficiaries of the outreach expressed their gratitude for the relevance of the initiative.

He said Dawodu expressed his commitment to providing quality healthcare services to the masses without any financial burden.

“Our aim is to ensure that our constituents have access to quality healthcare services without any financial barriers.”

Dawodu reaffirmed his commitment to his constituents, saying that as a responsive and people-oriented lawmaker, the well-being of his people is his top priority.

“Today, we are conducting a medical outreach to assess the health of our residents and provide necessary medical attention and medications.”

Dawodu also highlighted ongoing efforts to provide additional support to mitigate the effects of subsidy removal.

These include provision of water, streetlights, grants, empowerment programmes for youth and support for women and the elderly.

Mr Shina Obasa, Chairman of the Local Government commended Dawodu for the timely healthcare initiative and encouraged those in need of medical attention to make use of the opportunity.

Obasa said the medical outreach will continue until Nov. 5, with a promise to provide the constituents with the dividends of democracy.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


UNESCO advocates increased access to education, health services for girl-child

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has advocated an improved access to education and health services for the wellbeing of the girl-child and vulnerable groups.

Mr Phillipe Delanghe, Officer in Charge in the Abuja Regional Head of Office UNESCO, made the call in Abuja during the 2023 International Day of the Girl-Child celebration.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of this year’s celebration is “Invest in girls’ rights: Our leadership, our well-being”.

Delanghe noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had reversed gains made in the education of girls, increased inequalities, deepened the national learning crisis and exposed them to exploitation and abuse.

He explained that girls in Nigeria had fewer educational opportunities, faced health risks due to early and frequent childbearing, HIV, early and unintended pregnancies, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and harmful traditional practices.

He said despite the policies to improve access to health and education, a high estimate of 6 to 11-year-olds was out of school.

According to him, the estimate amounts to about 10.2 million children, with a larger proportion being girls.

“This situation does not just call for renewed commitment but a deepened level of engagement, with a critical mass of stakeholders, to the education, health and wellbeing of school-aged children.

This is “particularly to girls and other vulnerable children, through effective reproductive health education”.

He emphasised the role of men in empowering girls and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“It continues to be evident that, in improving the education, health and wellbeing of adolescent and young girls, the formative years to maturing into womanhood, strengthening the response to male involvement is key and imperative.

“Today, we are opening that conversation with role model men that continue to stand with and for girls while inspiring others to invest in girls’ agency, leadership and potential.”

He explained that UNESCO’s “Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future (03 programme)”, provided support to ensure that policies developed and implemented had an impact on the wellbeing of children.

“It also deploys a user-centered approach, delivering cutting-edge impactful information and education to students, teachers, school management, religious leaders and other stakeholders with intent to ensure the agency of the adolescent and young person.

“The programmes also cater by ensuring safe spaces within and outside the schools, thereby reducing school-related GBV.”

Delanghe said that the 03 programme was currently in the second phase and covering 13 states in Nigeria with a plan to scale it up to an additional seven States by the end of 2027.

Dr Levin Damisah, father of four girls, reiterated his commitment to advocacies on providing opportunities and policies for the girl-child to harness her potentials and thrive.

“When you educate a girl child, you have solved a lot of societal problems.

Society is in crisis because, today, the girl-child is largely neglected; she is not supported and is at a disadvantage in education.

“So, we are here to change that narrative, to present an alternative narrative that the girl-child is unique,” Damisah said.

Also, Ene Okpe, a girl-child and student stressed the need to end all stereotypes and encourage girl-child to adopt Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related courses.

“There are lots of girls who don’t know their potential and what they can do in society.

“Girls are coming here to know about their rights, potentials and know that not all STEM courses are for boys.

“(Girls need to) understand that we should not limit our potential,” Okpe said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event featured panel discussions by students and other critical stakeholders on the need to improve access to education for the girl-child to enable her to explore her potential.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


KOICA, others laud alumni’s commitment to nation-building

The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) Office in Nigeria, in collaboration with South Korea International Cooperation Association of Nigeria (SKICAN), on Friday, lauded its alumni’s commitment and contribution to nation-building.

Mr Son Sungil, Country Director of KOICA Nigeria during the 2023 Annual Gathering of the association in Abuja, noted that Nigerian civil servants who have received training and scholarships through the KOICA Fellowship Programme (CIAT), are worth celebrating.

“Reflecting on the remarkable journey so far, the Alumni Gathering is not merely a celebration of past achievements, it serves as a platform for Alumni to reconnect, share their experiences, and lay the foundation for collaborative efforts to shape a brighter future.

“We also want to express our immense pride in the development and achievements of SKICAN.

“The development of the website will support and facilitate initiatives that promote education and skills transfer from KOICA including scholarships, training and mentorship programs.

“It is also our pleasure to see Nigerians who have finished their training program in South Korea returning back to develop their home country.

“We reaffirmed KOICA’s commitment to providing unyielding support for the Association’s progress,” he said.

Mr Sungil also encouraged the newly elected executives to uphold the legacy of their predecessors for the association’s continued growth.

Mr Rabiu Adamu, the immediate past president, expressed gratitude to the country director for the cooperation extended throughout his tenure.

In his address, he unveiled the new SKICAN Magazine and website which have become the go-to platforms for Alumni updates and insights.

“In the age of information and communication technology, it is essential to create a website that will provide South Korea and Nigeria an avenue for accountability and to share information on Corporate Social Responsibility.

“The Association was able to complete its website which was launched today, affords members from all over the country and the world in general, to follow on the work and activities of the association.

“We believe that the website will promote development of a comprehensive database of members, professionals, entrepreneurs and experts, in order to monitor integration, investment opportunities and knowledge transfer.

“The Association for the first time printed its Maiden Edition of the SKICAN Magazine, as a legacy which would encourage the incoming executives which will be on the website for sustainability of KOICA and SKICAN collaboration,”Adamu said.

Furthermore, this year’s Alumni Gathering marked an election year, resulting in the election of nine (9) new officials. Mr. Joseph Oboh emerged as the new President of SKICAN, ready to lead the organization into a new era of growth and collaboration.

NAN also reports that the highlight of the event was a performance by Dosi-Korean Fusion Music team, dance performance from the famous M.B Crew-Korean B.boy team who flew in from South Korea to Nigeria for the first time in honor of South Korea-Nigeria relations.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


Institute says committed to making African men, women positive change agents

The African school of diplomacy (ASDIR) says it is committed to making men and women in Africa positive change and transformation agents by equipping them with excellent leadership and diplomacy skills.

Vice Chairman/CEO of the institute, Dr Tunji Ashoalu, said this in Abuja during the closing ceremony of ASDIR Executive Masters Programme in Leadership, Diplomacy, and Team Development.

According to him, the institute has a mission to equip future leaders with the necessary skills and knowledge to drive positive change not only in Nigeria and Africa but in other parts of the world as well.

“Today marks not only the end of an enriching educational journey but also signifies the tremendous achievements and growth exhibited by the participants throughout the programme.

“In the course of the programme, participants were exposed to an immersive learning experience designed to cultivate their leadership potential, enhance diplomatic abilities, and foster effective team dynamics.

“The comprehensive curriculum covered a range of topics, including strategic leadership, conflict resolution, international diplomacy, negotiation skills, and inter-cultural communication.

“It gives us great pride to witness the growth and development displayed by each participant throughout the programme.

“The knowledge, skills, and networks acquired during their time at ASDIR will undoubtedly serve as invaluable assets as they embark on their respective careers in leadership and diplomacy.

“We would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to all the faculty members, guest lecturers, and staff who have dedicated their time and expertise in making this programme a resounding success” Ashaolu said.

He expressed gratitude to the institute’s partners and sponsors for their support.

In his remarks, Prof. Jonathan Aremu, the Chairman of the Governing Board of the institute noted that it is important to train people in international relations.

A consultant of the ECOWAS Common Investment Market (ECIM), Aremu said, “Nigeria is a member of ECOWAS and the African Union.

“So, men and women need to be trained on what to do when it comes to diplomatic activities because there is a lot of discussion to be carried out for the good of our country.”

“We need to teach them how to trade, especially with the recent developments regarding the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, among others,” he added.

Eucharia Ejimadu, one of the participants, thanked the management of the institute for the training, saying that she would apply all that she learned in her organisation and the advancement of Nigeria.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


Don tasks African leaders on unity to strengthen continent’s excellence in arts

Prof. Gbenga Fasiku, Director, Institute of Cultural Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, has called on African leaders to work unanimously to promote peaceful co-existence within the continent.

Fasiku made the call during the commemoration of the Black History Month organised by the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC).

He said this was to strengthen African identity and promote the African spirit of excellence, most especially in the area of Arts.

The programme, held virtually and physically, had its theme as “The Contributions of Africans to the Arts”.

He said that in view of the success stories always recorded in African arts, music, literature, fashion and all, Africans must remain united to sustain, maintain and improve on the successes.

“In the face of seemingly continuous regime of recolonisation, Can African arts ever be allowed to perform its functions?

” One of which is to drive genuine African emancipation, redefine African true consciousness, develop and lead Africa into her rightful position as a world power.

“ This is clarion call to African leaders to unite and strengthen the Africa identity, which will hydrate the African spirit of excellence in all facet of life.

“At the Grammy Awards this year, Nigerian singer Tems came fringed in ostrich feathers and at the Cannes Film Festival, a young French-Senegalese director, Ramata-Toulaye Sy was a breakout star.

“African fashion had its own shows in Paris and Milan. In Venice, Africa is the focus of this year’s Architectural Biennale.

“Last year, an architect from Burkina Faso won the prestigious Pritzker Prize. In 2021, Tanzania-born Abdulrazak Gurnah won the Nobel Prize in Literature.”

He said many African artistes have continued to make serious impact.

” We must work on ensuring peaceful co-existence in order to create more success stories,” he said.

Fasiku said the contributions of Africans to arts were observed to be driven by the African souls, which represent the cultural consciousness that define the identity of Africans.

He said it was instructive to note that African arts play dual roles as it served as a source of aesthetic pleasure to the artists.

” And as expressions of the artists’ inner being, that represents the African’s shared identity.

“Therefore, African sculptures are distinctively or peculiarly African, because they represent the soul of Africa,” he added.

Haven identified the numerous contributions coming from the Africanists, Fasiku noted that it was correct to assert that Africa had reshaped and still reshaping the narrative of art history over the last 50 years.

He added that Africans’ contributions to the growth of arts had brought about novel, interdisciplinary, Africa-centered approaches which had all changed the face of global arts.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria


Digital citizenship: UN urges youths to be agents of change

The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, has advised youths to be agents and citizens of change in the digital space.

Mohammed said this in her visual message to the members of the Nigeria Model United Nations Society (NigMUNS) on in Abuja.

She spoke during the 2023 Nigerian International Secondary Schools Model United Nations (NISSMUN), with the theme, ”Promoting responsible digital citizenship among young people”.

According to her, digital technologies have a truly transformative potential and the digital age has much promise for technology.

She said in spite of the numerous advantages of digital technology to society, it had its darker sides.

”It enables instant dissemination of hate speech and disinformation to potential audiences.

”You have a role to play as local citizens, before sharing content online, consider its source and credibility. By being vigilant, we can combat hate speech and misinformation.

”You are more connected and empowered than ever before. You are more aware of what is possible. At the United Nations, we believe that a bright future for everyone is possible.

”Today, I call on you to join the UN as well as the citizens, to be leaders and agents of change.

”And as we strive to build a sustainable, inclusive and resilient future, let no one be left behind, “she said.

Also, Mr Chika Nwaozuzu, Chairman, Governing Council, NigMUNS, reiterated the need for young people to be guided as they accessed the Internet.

”And I’m glad that everyone even at the highest level of the United Nations encourages responsible digital citizenship,” he said.

Similarly, Mr Thomas Ageh, a Staff member at Regent School, Abuja, commended the organisers of the event while calling for a similar forum for youths in the society.

He said: ”This is a platform for the next generation and these kids have lived up to expectation.

I recommend this more for the parents, society and the Nigerian educational system.”

Meanwhile, the President of the General Assembly for NISSMUN 2023 Conference, Sofia Nwafor, said the conference was about coming together, joining minds and finding solutions to the world’s problems.

”This year’s conference has been very innovative and life changing. It enabled us to cultivate our minds collectively to proffer solutions and build problem solving skills.

”I want the youth to remember that to be a citizen of the digital world comes with great power but with great power comes great responsibility.

”You must take responsibility for your actions and ensure the safety of yourself and those around you.

Similarly, Eniola Oguyinka, a Director of NISSMUN, said verbal abuse and hate speeches were having a negative impact on our society.

He urged the youth to spread love and be kind, adding that society can make Nigeria a better place through digital space.

On her part, Ameera Sallam, Deputy Secretary-General, NISSMUN 2023, said the conference enabled youths to interact with others with common goals and vision.

She thanked the organisers for the opportunity while urging the youth to maximise what they acquired and be better digital citizens.

Mr Oche King, Co-Secretary-General, NISSMUN, said it was crucial for the youth to manage their time properly in the digital space.

”I advise all youths to be very mindful of what we say on social media as they can make or break other people and they can be a deciding factor in other people’s lives,” he said.

Also, Mr Olisa Egwuatu, Director of the General Assembly, NISSMUN 2023, said ”in this 21st century, almost everybody has access to the Internet.

”It is now left for us to decide what we want to do with the internet. We should make sure to use the internet positively to connect, research, relate and learn.”

Meanwhile, the newly-elected President for the 20th NISSMUN 2024, Kenneth Nnamani, expressed joy at being elected to serve.

He said:” I am very honoured to receive this position and I pledge to ensure all the activities for next year go very well.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria