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Consul General Stevens visits Edo, hails robust U.S.-Nigeria partnership

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U.S. Consul General Will Stevens, last week, paid a two-day visit to Edo State, highlighting the robust and enduring U.S.-Nigeria bilateral relationship that fosters inclusive economic growth and shared prosperity for both of our two countries.

Consul General Stevens met with Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki and his key cabinet members; the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II; civil society representatives; and alumni of U.S. government exchange programs with whom he discussed progress made on key mutual priorities such as health, technology, education, human capital development, and trade and investment.

Additionally, Consul General Stevens received a guided tour of the Edo Innovation and Edo Creative Hubs and observed the key role played by U.S. tech companies, such as Amazon Web Services, in training young people, including women, on high-demand digital skills, thereby supporting the development of emerging tech talents in Edo State.

U.S. Consul General Will Stevens and Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki during a tour of the Edo Creative Hub

Governor Obaseki and Consul General Stevens jointly launched the U.S. Agency for International Development-supported Edo State Integrated Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC). Consul General Stevens toured the facility and saw firsthand how U.S. government health assistance programs are helping to build resilient health systems that prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks in the state and across the region. The newly upgraded PHEOC — the first of its kind in Nigeria — will play a crucial role in analyzing data on HIV/AIDS, COVID-19, immunizations, lassa fever, and other public health concerns, enhancing Edo State’s response to emerging health threats.

At the Benin Window on America, Consul General Stevens inaugurated the third cohort of the GirlLEAD STEM Talent Accelerator Program for 25 girls from public secondary schools in Edo State. Supported through a public diplomacy grant from the U.S. Consulate General Lagos, this program offers mentorship and skills training to help girls explore careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). In his remarks, Consul General Stevens underscored the importance of empowering and inspiring girls and young women to pursue careers in science and technology. “When barriers to the participation of women and girls in STEM fields are removed, we all benefit. Whether at home or abroad, promoting women in the STEM fields is a U.S. government priority,” he noted.

U.S. Consul General Will Stevens during a meeting with Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki and his key cabinet members.

The Consul General also visited the National Museum in Benin City, the forthcoming Museum of West African Arts, and toured Igun Street, renowned for its rich history in bronze casting and significance in Benin art and culture. He reaffirmed the U.S. government’s commitment to supporting Nigeria’s cultural preservation through initiatives like the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation and the Cultural Property Agreement Implementation Grant.

While meeting with alumni of U.S. government-funded exchange programs in Edo State, Consul General Stevens learned about the positive impacts these exchanges have had on their careers and community service. Representing different exchange programs, including the International Visitors Leadership Program and the Mandela Washington Fellowship, alumni shared their experiences and emphasized the importance of strengthening people-to-people ties between Nigeria and the United States.

U.S. Consul General Will Stevens and Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki during a guided tour of the Museum of West African Arts in Benin City.

 

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