On April 21, 2016, the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde welcomed 15 students from the International Marketing and Regional Integration programs of the International Relations institute of Cameroon (IRIC) to the James Baldwin Information Resource Center (IRC). The students, most of whom were visiting the U.S. Embassy for the first time, wanted to acquaint themselves with the functioning of the IRC and have access to relevant resources for their academic research work.
Welcoming the students, Public Affairs Officer Roberto Quiroz II congratulated them on their admission into such a prestigious institution as IRIC and exhorted them to use their unique opportunity to further Cameroon’s efforts to promote good governance, transparency, and accountability. He explained how diplomacy is an instrument of advancing good governance goals adding that public’s perception of their performance as IRIC students and future diplomats and civil servants is very important as real. He said: “Congratulations in your achievements. As students at Ivy League universities in America, students at IRIC and ENAM also are perceived to be part of a select group of students whose degrees can lead them to achieve extraordinary goals. The public will evaluate you and all of us who have chosen a career in public service. They will demand, and rightfully so, that we adhere to the highest ethics and integrity, that we all shun and combat corruption, that we advance the interests of our nations first and foremost and not our own personal interests. The public will also judge how we serve them and how we can improve that service to ensure that we promote the development of every citizen. That is why for the United States public opinion is important. The reason why we built strong institutions to combat corruption, which when it happens – as it has in recent years – officials have been prosecuted under the law whether they were governors, congressmen, or corporate executives. That is why when we succeed we are proud to share those stories with the world, and when we have some setbacks, as you have seen over the years in the media in some questions of police treatment of citizens or human rights during wartime, these issues are raised to the forefront of public and global discussion to seek solutions and live to the ideals of our nation. In those times President Obama – and our media and citizens – remind us that we must strive to further perfect our Union. And so must you as well in the solemn responsibilities that you will embark upon as leaders in your fields.”
Mr. Quiroz also lauded the presence of women among the students, adding: “the presence of women in this hall is testimony of the fact that Cameroon has welcomed the fact that to build a strong and prosperous society, women have to be afforded opportunities, an education, and be given the chance to lead.”
Speaking on the visit this week to Cameroon of the Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations and member of President Obama’s Cabinet, Ambassador Samantha Power, Mr. Quiroz said that her trip included meetings with the President of the Republic, H.E. Paul Biya, ministers, members of civil society, and refugees affected by Boko Haram’s atrocities in the Far North Region. In all venues the Ambassador underscored the United States’ support for Cameroon, especially regarding the fight against Boko Haram, the protection of refugees fleeing violence, support for a vibrant civil society and a free media, and joint efforts to protect wildlife and combat the illegal ivory trade through an ivory burn event hosted by the Minister of Forest and Fauna, which has decimated Cameroon’s elephant population by 2/3 since 2004.
During the second part of the program, IRC Director Mathias Tientcheu, Reference Librarian Edna Enyeji, and Program Assistant Mabel Foncham, introduced the students to the resources and activities of the center. The students also received a briefing on eLibraryUSA, a virtual library created and maintained by the U.S. Department of State and that provides American Spaces users access to nearly forty authoritative databases. Each of the students received a Nouveaux Horizons book in appreciation for their visit.