By Princess-Ekwi Ajide, Abuja
August 21 (Newshour.com.ng) – Sixteen students from different secondary schools are on their way to the United States of America for the Kennedy Lugar Youth Exchange and Study, KL YES programme.
Organized by the Cultural section of the U.S. Embassy, Abuja, the programme exposes high school students to experience other parts of the world different from their own.
During the programme, which is expected to last for one year, students will live with volunteer host American families, engage in volunteer services and participate in activities to learn about the American society, acquire leadership skills and share their home country’s culture with Americans and also study for their exams upon return.
Addressing the new cohort of YES students who will depart for the U.S. today, the Charge d’Affairs, David Green, described 2003 when the Kennedy Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program began as a pivotal juncture that led to transformative experiences.
He reminded them that they are writing a story of unity, understanding, and shared humanity and should as such, commit themselves to embrace learning with open minds, celebrate diversity, and foster appreciation for the unique tapestry of humanity.
Mr. Green told them to immerse themselves in the diverse landscapes and rich cultures of the United States bearing in mind that their journey is not just a personal adventure, but a bridge between cultures and a beacon of mutual understanding.
Earlier in her welcome address, the cultural Affairs Officer, Julia McKay, had told the new cohort that as cultural ambassadors, it is their duty to foster understanding between nations especially as they will meet Americans who might have limited exposure to Nigeria, so it becomes their duty to educate them about their homeland and its rich heritage.
Others who spoke, include KL-YES Coordinator, Dr. Saidu Yakubu, KL-YES Alumni President, Blessing Ogbu, who said the exchange programme started as a means of discouraging terrorism.
For some of the students, Oswald Andrew and Favour Barkindo, they are going to the US to showcase the culture their communities are known for and learn from the Americans what they will share with their school mates and communities when they return.