On January 13, 2016, thirty students from the Government Bilingual High School Etoug-Ebe visited the James Baldwin Information Resource Center (IRC) at the U.S Embassy in Yaoundé for a film screening of the award winning South African film “Sarafina” promote awareness on civic education and responsibilities.
Welcoming the students, IRC Director Mathias Tientcheu asked the students to describe their meaning of citizenship and views on gender equality. “As citizens, each of us has to do our best to contribute to our country. Many of you have given great definitions such as loving our flag, respecting our anthem, studying to become respectable members of our societies in Cameroon and the world. But also it is important to bear in mind our responsibilities towards serving one another as fellow citizens of Cameroon,” he said.
In his remarks, Public Affairs Officer Roberto Quiroz II, encouraged the youths to embrace attitudes and skills which promote patriotism, good governance and citizenship as these are key elements required for the development of every nation. He added: “All of us have heroes who have impacted our lives. From great leaders in history as Nelson Mandela – which one of you said he admired – to sports athletes, teachers, parents, and others. Identify who are your heroes here in Cameroon or around the world and emulate the best in them. Mandela offered us all an example in forgiveness. He was jailed unjustly for 26 years at Robben Island and when he was released he publicly and in practice forgave his former captors and led his nation to new heights of development. Each of you can also do great things in whatever field you choose to study and specialize in. As President Obama has said, the United States of America believes in you and your immense talents and potential. We believe that the future of Africa and Cameroon must be built through the immense talents, ideas, and contributions of today’s youth – especially women and girls – who will assume leadership one day of all sectors. With that leadership you must be prepared to also assume the responsibilities of building the future of peace, prosperity, and opportunity that every citizen needs and deserves. Those efforts begin today for you, by seizing the great opportunities you have to attain a quality education at your school. We thank your teachers for serving in one of the noblest professions. As you pursue your dreams, know that America believes in you and in your limitless potential to achieve your goals.”
During the post viewing session, the students said they were encouraged to serve others, become better citizens contributing to their country, seek peaceful solutions to potential conflicts, and above all avoid violence. Several students said that they were encouraged by the film’s example, which challenged them to find creative solutions to enhance communications within communities and to serve their fellow citizens and Cameroon. The film screening was part of U.S. Embassy Yaounde’s public diplomacy youth outreach programs.
See Facebook album of program: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10156412251340716.1073742150.312546460715&type=3.