A PREMIUM TIMES journalist has been selected alongside 18 other professionals by the U.S. government to participate in its 2017 International Visitors Leadership Programme, IVLP.
The paper’s Business and Economy Editor, Bassey Udo, is the only representative from Nigeria invited to join 18 other participants from 16 African countries selected for the three weeks regional programme between May 14 and June 3 on the theme, “Transparency in Federal, State and Local Governments”.
The IVLP is the US Department of State’s premier professional exchange programme for current and emerging leaders from across the world to visit the U.S. to meet with professional counterparts and visit U.S. public and private sector organisations and places related to their fields of interest.
The programme helps to bridge cultural and political divides and cultivate lasting relationships by connecting current and emerging foreign leaders with their American counterparts.
Mr. Udo, a 2005 Communication Arts graduate from the University of Uyo and a holder of the 1999 Master of International Law & Diplomacy from the University of Lagos, is an award winner for impact investigative journalism.
A co-winner of the 2013 Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Journalism (Local Government Category), Mr. Udo is an ethical journalist with specialty in reporting the extractive industries, particularly energy, oil & gas, power & steel, mining & solid minerals sectors, apart from reporting finance and economy.
Other participants in the programme include an Assistant Director, Litigation Department, Port of Cotonou, Ibitayo Balley (Benin); Consultant, Link International Consulting, Daniel Edah (Benin); Professor, Law Faculty, University of Ouagadougou, Abdoulaye Soma (Burkina Faso); Chief of Relations with Institutions, COMUC (Coordination des Organisations Musulmanes Centrafricains), Sali Abdoulaziz (Central African Republic); Lawyer, Kinshasa Court of Appeal, Honore Mitshabo (Democratic Republic of Congo); deputy director general, Ivoirian National Police, Elie Pale (Cote d’Ivoire); Judge/Advisor, Cour de Cassation, Sophie Ambounda (Gabon) and Director of the Border & Air Police, National Police, Leyigui Darius, a major (Gabon).
The Programme Officer, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Sylvester Bayowo would be representing Ghana; Legal Advisor, Ministry of Health, Hawa Beavogui (Guinea); Mayor, Mzuzu City Council, William Mkandawire (Malawi); Ombudsman, Office of the Ombudsman of Malawi, Martha Mwagonde (Malawi); Director of Finance, Ministry of Education, Simbo Tounkara (Mali); Expert, Forum Civil, Binette Ndiaye (Senegal); Programme Manager, CARE International, Ahmed More (Somalia); Senior Legal Officer, Financial Services Regulatory Authority, Mhlonishwa Dlamini (Swaziland); Economist, Ministry of Finance,Toure Moroud (Togo) and Program Assistant, Human Rights and Peace Center, Makerere University School of Law, Andrew Karamagi (Uganda).
Details from organisers revealed the programme was designed to afford participants opportunity to examine the historical context of human rights in the U.S., review related contemporary foreign policy issues, and outcomes of adopting the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The programme would also help participants examine the organisations that monitor or advocate for international human rights issues; explore the human rights components of U.S. foreign policy and discuss how grassroots organisations seek to influence human rights policy at the international, national, state and local levels.
They would also analyse a variety of human rights concerns related to such issues as disability rights, freedom of press/speech/religion, access to education, and due process.
To realize the cultural objectives of the programme, participants are expected to have informal engagements with Americans during home hospitality and learn about the historical and cultural diversity of the U.S. through city tours and cultural activities in the host communities.
Participants would also engage in a volunteer activity during their stay in Washington DC, to underscore the importance of volunteerism and civic engagement in the U.S.