U.S. educational and cultural exchanges drive inclusive economic growth —Satterfield


U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Lee Satterfield traveled March 19–21 to Lagos and Abuja, where she highlighted a broad range of U.S. public diplomacy programs that help to expand access to education and economic opportunities in the creative industries.

Assistant Secretary Satterfield’s trip comes on the heels of the recent visit to Nigeria by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and underscores the United States’ strong commitment to strengthening people-to-people connections with Nigeria that drive innovation, foster knowledge exchange, and unlock opportunities for shared economic prosperity.

In Lagos, Assistant Secretary Satterfield delivered remarks at the University of Lagos on the importance of cultural diplomacy in Africa and announced three new exchange programs for the creative industries. These new initiatives include: the Africa Creative TV initiative for writers and producers in the film and TV industries; the American Music Mentorship Program, which is in partnership with the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs; and the film-focused, one-year Community College Initiative, which will take participants through the script to the screen process.

She also witnessed the MOU signing ceremony for the establishment of a Window on America at the University of Lagos, the 26th American Space in Nigeria, which will serve as a gateway to a wealth of resources, including information about U.S. government-sponsored exchange opportunities, guidance on how to study in the United States, access to eLibraryUSA, a platform for academic research, career mentorship, and professional development workshops.

In addition to visiting the American Corner Lekki, Assistant Secretary Satterfield participated in a tech and innovation showcase featuring six innovative solutions developed by alumni of U.S. government exchange programs. She also met with leading figures in Nigeria’s film and music industries and discussed harnessing the potential of these industries to drive economic growth, job creation, youth opportunities, and cultural exchange while strengthening bilateral ties between the U.S. and Nigeria.

At the National Museum in Lagos, Assistant Secretary Satterfield launched Nigeria’s first Cultural Property Agreement Implementation Grant, which demonstrates the U.S. government’s commitment to working with Nigeria to protect, honor, and preserve its cultural heritage. Through this grant, museum professionals from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will work with their counterparts at the National Museum Lagos to digitize and improve access to Nigeria’s cultural heritage and raise awareness about the importance of cultural preservation.

READ ALSO: US government announces launch of Africa Creative TV initiative, American Music Mentorship Program

In Abuja, Assistant Secretary Satterfield met with Minister of Education Professor Tahir Mamman and the Minister of Art, Culture, and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, and discussed a variety of issues ranging from the U.S.-Nigeria partnership on cultural diplomacy, including in film, to expanding access to educational and professional opportunities for women and girls in science, technology, education, and mathematics (STEM).

The Assistant Secretary also engaged with beneficiaries of the U.S. Embassy Abuja Opportunity Funds Program, which helps high achieving but economically disadvantaged students secure admission and scholarships to American colleges and universities. She urged the students to make the most of their opportunity to get a top-notch education in the United States while gaining first-hand experience of American life and culture.

While in Abuja, Assistant Secretary Satterfield delivered keynote remarks at the Women’s International Film Festival Nigeria and participated in a moderated panel discussion where she highlighted the important role of an inclusive and sustainable creative ecosystem in advancing economic growth and strengthening bilateral people-to-people ties.

“The deep partnership between the United States and Nigeria goes well beyond just our governments; in fact, at the heart of our relationship is our people,” Assistant Secretary Satterfield said during her visit.

Assistant Secretary Satterfield’s visit highlights the commitment the Biden-Harris Administration made at the 2022 US-Africa Leaders’ Summit to deepen ties with Africa in support of inclusive economic growth and shared prosperity. Since the 2022 US-Africa Leaders’ Summit, 20 high-level U.S. government officials have visited Nigeria.


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