Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by
Ambassador Christopher J. Lamora
2023 Cameroon Alumni National Symposium Opening Ceremony
Thursday, April 27, 2023, 10:30 a.m.
- Minister Alamine Ousmane Mey, Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development,
- Honorable Members of Government,
- Director General of the National School of Administration and Magistracy,
- Dear Alumni,
- Ladies and gentlemen,
It’s my pleasure to join you today, at the opening of this year’s National Alumni Symposium, to celebrate U.S. friendship and partnership with Cameroon. I’d like to express my particular gratitude to our host—ENAM, to Minister Alamine Ousmane Mey, and to our keynote speaker Professor Njong Mom Aloysius.
And I’d like to congratulate the U.S. Exchange Programs Alumni Network of Cameroon and the Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni Association for organizing this symposium.
Exactly one year ago, I participated in the first edition of this symposium. It concluded in the creation of an umbrella alumni association to further build synergy across all exchange program alumni, so that we – and they – can work together to meet the global challenges of our time.
As President Biden said at the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in December, the United States is all in on Africa and all in with Africa. African voices, African leadership, and African innovation all are critical to addressing the most pressing global challenges and to realizing the vision we all share: a world that is free, a world that is open, prosperous, and secure.
Africa and Africans belong at the table in every room — in every room where global challenges are being discussed, and in every institution where such discussions are taking place. Of course, this very much includes Cameroon.
Cameroon is critical to the long-term stability and development of the entire subregion, and by extension the entire continent. Your rich human and natural resources hold great potential for unlocking sustainable growth.
Look around you. Just in this hall, we have the brainpower and creativity to address any challenge you can think of: youth unemployment, climate change, food insecurity, health crises, and so on. Your energy and commitment fuel the close partnership between our two countries. It’s why we do what we do.
The United States is a longtime friend and partner of Cameroon. We continue to cooperate with Cameroon on a broad range of issues.
This year we’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of PEPFAR—the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. In Cameroon, the United States has invested more than 320 billion Francs CFA through PEPFAR, making tremendous progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS and strengthening Cameroon’s health system to deal with other health threats. As just one example: Our PEPFAR investments, and our partnership with Cameroon in addressing HIV/AIDS, laid a critical foundation that helped Cameroon respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our cooperation with the government, NGOs, private sector, and civil society spans all 10 regions.
This year also marks 60 years of partnership between the United States Peace Corps and Cameroon, and the return of volunteers to Cameroon since the global evacuation in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cameroon was one of the first countries to host the Peace Corps and, since 1962, over 3,800 Volunteers have served throughout every region of Cameroon.
Every year, the U.S. government sends close to 100 Cameroonians such as yourselves to the United States on educational and professional exchanges. These exchanges bring about personal and professional growth that empowers individuals to make a difference when they return home. We are proud of you, and of all our exchange program alumni, who are giving back to your communities, sharing and multiplying what you learned in the United States, and exemplifying the enduring partnership between our two countries.
To cite a few examples:
- The Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program Alumni Association project “Promoting Climate Justice through School Communities” is building the next generation of climate change crusaders through greenery initiatives in 200 schools.
- A team of Mandela Washington Fellowship alumnae, under Leap Girl Africa, led a campaign to empower young women in civic engagement and political participation.
- TechWomen alumna Elodie Nonga-Kenla launched AlertGBV, a digital application that provides support to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
- Looking forward, IVLP alumna Valerie Neim will launch the first edition of the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs in Cameroon this June, to empower women with the skills and resources to grow successful businesses.
Whether you are Fulbright, PAYLP, Mandela Washington Fellows, YES, SUSI, TechGirls, or Humphrey program alumni—together, you are a force. This symposium is testament to the results you can achieve when you work together for a collective outcome.
As American industrialist Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”
I wish you successful partnerships.
Thank you. On est ensemble.