By Ochiaka Ugwu
United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Trust for African Rock Art (TARA), National Commission for Monuments and Museums (NCMM), University of Calabar, and Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria.
The MOU provides a grant of $125,000 to the three organizations who are working together for the preservation of Nigeria’s rock art.
The project which is funded by the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation is titled “Rock Art of Nigeria from Cross River to Jigawa: Preservation and Promotion” will raise awareness of the importance of Nigerian rock art.
It will also ensure its conservation through documentation and the provision of basic infrastructure, as well as engage communities living near the rock sites.
“Now we are celebrating something that unites Nigerians from Calabar to Zaria and beyond” said Ambassador Symington. He added that the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation is a reminder that we were not the first to be here and we won’t be the last, but that “we are bound together by our time on this great planet and we have a chance not just to make a new mark but see the marks of those who have come before us.”
The project objectives will be achieved through a series of activities over a period of 16 months. An ongoing activity will be the processing, editing, color correcting, and addition of metadata by TARA, of 2000+ images captured during the survey.
The U.S. Embassy in Abuja has supported cultural preservation in Nigeria for many years. Recent Ambassadors Fund projects include restoring the Gobarau minaret in Katsina and the Kofar Kanakali gate in Kano, improving preservation of museum collections, and documenting traditional knowledge of the Ifa.
In a related development, Branch Chief, Education USA, Mr. Alfred Boll has said that more than 11, 700 Nigerians are currently studying in 1000 American Universities in all the 50 States of the Union.
Boll made this known in Abuja yesterday at the event of Embassy Education Advising Center’s 19th annual college fair hosted by members of the team in Public Affairs Section and EducationUSA advisers.
He said the Embassy College Fair gives all a great opportunity to get current information on study in the United States and to discuss career choices.
“We’re glad you’re here, and you follow in the footsteps of thousands of Nigerians who have traveled to the United States to study. More Nigerians study in the United States than from any other African country.
“According to the most recent data we have, more than 11,700 students studied at over 1000 institutions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia last year. And if you’re wondering which state is the most popular -it’s Texas!
“Our annual college fairs have directly contributed to the increase in the number of excellent applicants to US. Institutions, as well as increased financial aid and scholarship opportunities for Nigerians students.
“This past year, nearly $6 million (2.1 billion naira) in financial aid and scholarships were awarded to students advised by EducationUSA Abuja alone.
“Many of those students attend a diverse range of institutions in the United States, from small liberal arts private colleges to large state universities. Today we’ve assembled an equally diverse group.
“There are representatives here today from 40 US. colleges and universities, and we are thrilled they made the trip. Those of us who live here are well acquainted with the talent, intellect, and energy of Nigeria’s students.