The Project Director of the YALI Regional Leadership Center (RLC) West Africa, Accra, Dr. Shola Safo-Duodu, has reiterated the key role of YALI Alumni in making significant contributions and leading change for inclusion and socio-economic development across the sub-region, particularly, in Cote d’Ivoire. This, Dr. Shola Safo-Duodu added, was due to the roles Alumni of the Center play in the different sectors of the Ivoirian economy.

The Project Director paid glowing tribute to Alumni of the Center making strides in Cote d’Ivoire across the social work, IT, training and capacity building sectors. These contributions, she added, had a ripple effect on impacting their communities, organizations and countries and to a large extent, Africa. The Director further encouraged Alumni of the Center to work in tandem with Alumni of other US Government-funded initiatives across the country. “The inauguration of this Alumni Chapter should not be grounds for separation from the main USG Alumni group; it should rather improve (Alumni) collaboration and contribution to the joint efforts of all USG Alumni (in Cote d’Ivoire), the Director added.

Dr. Shola Safo-Duodu delivers her opening remarks at the inauguration

Dr. Shola Safo-Duodu said this during the inauguration of the YALI Accra RLC Alumni Chapter of Cote d’Ivoire in Abidjan. The event, which brought together Alumni of the Accra RLC in Cote d’Ivoire and other US Government-funded initiatives, had as its guest of honor, Mr. Mark Zimmer, Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Abidjan.

Mr. Mark Zimmer urging Alumni to contribute to their country’s development

Mr. Zimmer, on his part, congratulated the Cote d’Ivoire Alumni Chapter on its inauguration, while assuring the Chapter of the US Embassy’s support. According to Mr. Zimmer, all US-funded programs, including the YALI RLC program, are important to the Embassy hence the readiness of the Embassy to track and support the activities of the Chapter. Alumni were also urged to continue contributing to the socio-economic wellbeing of Cote d’Ivoire and share their experiences.

The inauguration of the Cote d’Ivoire Alumni Chapter brings to nine the number of Alumni Chapters inaugurated by the Accra RLC to coordinate the activities of its Alumni across the nine countries and liaise between Alumni and the Center.

President of the Cote d’Ivoire Alumni Chapter, Innocent Assoman, expressed his appreciation to YALI Accra RLC for inaugurating the Chapter after initial attempts were unsuccessful in early 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent travel restrictions globally. He assured the Center and the US Embassy of the Chapter’s willingness to work together with all Alumni to push the agenda of the Accra RLC in training more young Ivoirians to impact their country.

Executive of the Chapter pose with Mr. Zimmer and Dr. Safo-Duodu

The inauguration ceremony was preceded by a session on available opportunities from both the US Embassy in Abidjan and the YALI Accra RLC. Alumni Coordinator at the US Embassy in Abidjan, Hermes Adje, walked participants through available opportunities the Embassy had on offer for young people, while responding to questions on the eligibility criteria, program duration and other related questions on these opportunities. Dr. Shola Safo-Duodu provided an overview of the Accra RLC’s available opportunities for Alumni of the Center.

Mr. Hermes Adje takes Alumni through available US Government opportunities