U.S. Embassy and YALI Alumnus Visit Monatélé

Young African Leaders Initiative/Mandela Washington Fellow (YALI/MWF) Charles Wandji addresses students.
Young African Leaders Initiative/Mandela Washington Fellow (YALI/MWF) Charles Wandji addresses students. [USEYde Photo]
On October 28, U.S. Embassy Yaounde Public Affairs Officer Roberto Quiroz II, Young African Leaders Initiative/Mandela Washington Fellow (YALI/MWF) Charles Wandji, and Information Resource Center Assistant Mabel Foncham-Chingang visited the Lycee de Monatele in Lekie Division of the Center Region to donate over 100 Nouveaux Horizons books and to promote youth outreach and leadership encouragement to contribute towards Cameroon’s development through an education. See Facebook album of visit: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10156172245360716.1073742115.312546460715&type=3&uploaded=28.

This was the first visit by the U.S. Embassy to the community, which began with a courtesy call on the Assistant Divisional Officer for Lekie, Mr. Adamou Nsangou. During the meeting, Mr. Quiroz conveyed warm greetings from the Embassy community to the people of the Lekie Division and thanked Mr. Nsangou for welcoming his team and Mr. Wandji to the community.  He also added that the visit’s focus was promoting youth outreach and education, which are two key U.S. foreign policy priorities. He also lauded Mr. Nsangou, community and traditional leaders for encouraging more women and girls in rural communities to pursue their education and offer their contributions towards agricultural sector growth and in other fields.

U.S. Embassy team and YALI Fellow Charlie Wandji join Lycee de Monatele faculty and students on October 28, 2015.
U.S. Embassy team and YALI Fellow Charlie Wandji join Lycee de Monatele faculty and students on October 28, 2015. [USEYde Photo]
During the welcoming ceremony with over 200 students at the Lycee de Monatele which was followed after singing of the National Anthem of the Republic of Cameroon by students and a meet and greet exchange with students and faculty, Principal Mrs. Julienne Eteme Yotchou thanked the U.S. Embassy team for visiting her institution, noting: “this is testimony to the place the American Government and our government places on education and development. Your visit speaks volumes (about) the mission of the United States in empowering youth through education and above all fostering the learning of the English, which is the most commonly used language among foreign language speakers.”

In his remarks, Mr. Quiroz thanked the school for the welcome, presented over 100 books from Nouveaux Horizons from the Africa Regional Services of the U.S. Department of State, and encouraged students to persevere in their education to attain their goals and contribute towards Cameroon’s development.

“As Ambassador Michael S. Hoza has said, the United States stands with all Cameroonians who seek to promote a future of development, peace, and prosperity for all citizens – especially women and girls – through their own energy, talents, and ideas. Cameroonian teachers and students are a big part of those efforts.  There are those who do not believe in education and seek to destroy lives rather than to build them up.  Who seek to oppress girls who go to school and to promote violence.  You exemplify the opposite, demonstrating Cameroon’s future of a positive promise for all citizens.  Your lives show a commitment to personal and community development.  Patriotism, love of your country, respect for one another, and embracing the central role that women and girls must have at the center of all development efforts.  You showcase the spirit of Cameroonians who are committed to earning an education and dream big dreams.  You should, there is no limit to what you can achieve if you put your mind into it.  There might be in this group a future entrepreneur, astronaut, doctor, lawyer, someone like Bill Gates whose dream began in his father’s garage in the early 1980’s and revolutionized the world of instant communication through the internet, or like Mark Zuckerberg who at 25 years of age invented Facebook and united once again lost but lifetime friends and brought the world closer together.  Private sector growth is essential because it creates needed jobs and expanded commerce for the 21st century.  As President Obama has said, the future of Africa will be built by young people like you who will bear responsibility for shaping the future.  The first step to attain those goals begins right here with an education. We congratulate your English Club president and members because learning how to speak English is necessary to thrive and succeed in today’s global economy.  We have with us today a young Cameroonian leader whom President Obama invited to the White House last year along with 500 other YALI participants from throughout the continent, and he will share a very special message with you – Mr. Charlie Wandji.  Thanks, on est ensemble!” he said.

Mr. Wandji used his story and experience to encourage the students to dream and strive towards achieving their dreams. “YALI provided me the opportunity to meet President Obama and to do an internship at Yale University.  The greatest experience, however, was meeting other participants from Cameroon and literally from every African nation.  We share similar goals and aspirations, similar challenges and opportunities.  At the heart of it all is our quest for African solutions to African challenges and to contribute to our countries’ development in peaceful, constructive, and effective ways that expand opportunities for all.  This can be achieved through hard work, being at the right place at the right time, self-discipline and above all walking hand in hand with one another. All of us are responsible for contributing towards our country’s future, and to help one another joined together in a common goal to lift the lives of our fellow Cameroonians,” he said.

The ceremony was followed by a town hall meeting with high school students and members of the English Language Club, who highlighted their interest in to learn English and study in the United States of America to return to Cameroon and offer their contributions in several sectors. Some students noted that financial challenges may prevent them from furthering their studies, but the U.S. Embassy officials noted that free scholarship opportunities are available for Cameroonian students who qualify.  “American colleges and universities are eager to provide full scholarships to students throughout Africa and here in Cameroon.  We recently welcomed here Yale University, Michigan State University, and the University of California at Berkeley who wanted to convey the message that their institutions are welcoming Cameroonian youth. Please contact our Education USA Advisor Richard Ewane for an appointment, which is free of charge.  We believe in investing in your future because of Cameroon prospers then America prospers.  We live in a global village and what affects one affects us all,” said Ms. Foncham-Chingang.

To learn more about Education USA, please see: http://yaounde.usembassy.gov/educational_advising.html. See Nouveaux Horizons’ Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/usdos.nouveauxhorizons/?hc_location=ufi.