Government and US Embassy officials pose for a family picture
By Etienne Mainimo Mengnjo
The U.S. Ambassador to Cameroon, Christopher J. Lamora has said, more than 2000 Cameroonians have participated in US government exchanges.
HE Lamora pronounced on April 21 in Yaounde during the opening ceremony of the first-ever Cameroon Alumni National Symposium.
The three-day event was held under the theme: “Building synergies between US Exchange Programmes and leveraging youth potential through US-Cameroon Cultural Exchanges.”
Mounouna Foutsou, Cameroon’s Minister of Youth Affairs and Civic Education launched the three-day event accompanied by the Minister of Women’s Empowerment and the Family, Marie-Thérèse Abena Ondoa alongside other dignitaries.
“More than 2000 Cameroonians have participated in US government exchanges including Prime Minister, Chief Dr. Joseph Dion Ngute, Ministers Felix Mbayu, Pauline Nalova Lyonga, Alamine Ousmane Mey among others and so many here today,” The US Ambassador said “…One of the many ways we demonstrate our commitment to Cameroon is through our exchange programmes. As many of you can attest, exchanges are often life-changing experiences, building networks and mutual understanding between Americans and Cameroonians.”
According to him, exchanges also create opportunities for participants to share a diverse range of perspectives on how to address many of the challenges that societies are facing.
He stated: “We live in an interconnected world and there is much to learn from each other, not only between Americans and Cameroonians but also among Cameroonians. Like the United States, Cameroon is a diverse country with diverse ideas on how to make this country and our world a better place.
“One of the objectives of this symposium is to break down what Americans often call silos or stovepipes between fields of expertise as well as between generations,” he added.
To Ambassador Lamora, “We are dedicated to partnering with Cameroonians like yourselves to build a more secure, prosperous, and just future for both of our countries. We must all together to address many of the complex challenges of our time whether it’s climate change, economic growth, food insecurity or instability.”
While launching the three day-event, Minister Mounouna Foutsou said the symposium is timely and maximizing the strength of every alumni community does not only bring challenges but acts as a stronger force toward better innovations and impacts.
While hailing the bilateral relationships that exist between the two countries, the Minister said, “Cameroon and America share one great attribute which is cultural diversity. Therefore, this working session is an opportunity to share these cultural practices in a bit to improve on human relationship and collaboration not only with the US but also foreign diplomatic missions and development partners.”
The opening ceremony also witnessed the speech from the President of the Mandela Washington Fellows Cameroon, Bar. Clifford Neba Akonteh and a keynote address from Christian Achaleke, International Visitors Leadership Programme, IVLP Alumni.
Before the end of the symposium, participants were expected to chat about ways of deepening and reinforcing the relationship between the different alumni associations and work towards enhancing US Government Exchanges Alumni participation in public life in Cameroon among other things.
America is Cameroon’s long time friend and partner with these partnerships spanning areas like health, trade and business growth, humanitarian assistance, the fight against piracy, human trafficking as well as terrorism and academic collaboration.