The American University of Nigeria has just held this year’s annual Convocation and Pledge Ceremony, which included fifty-seven of the rescued “Chibok Girls,” now young women and first-year university students. They hope to help build a better and more peaceful Nigeria at Africa’s premier “Development University”.
They take their places among the newly matriculating students, including dozens transferring from foreign universities, particularly from the United States and other Nigerian universities.
AUN’s Executive Director,Marketing and Communications, Daniel Okereke in a statement published on the institution’s newsletter, AUN This Week, said that the 57 Chibok students had been enrolled in the AUN New Foundation School (NFS) program as they prepared for university work, and for life. “They have been on the scholarship of the Federal government of Nigeria, under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, and were sent to AUN, which has the facilities and resources to mentor them through their personal healing, educational development, and gradual community reintegration.”
Many of them have indicated an interest in studying Law, Natural and Environmental Sciences, Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Business Administration, Communication & Multimedia Design, and Economics.
New students enrolled in the American University of Nigeria’s Classes of 2023, 2025, and 2026 began their academic and life-changing journey at a colorful and well-attended event on October 18, 2021. President Margee Ensign, newly returned from a university president in the United States, charged them to find solutions to the problems facing our world today without fear or doubt.
“Whether it is climate change, challenges to our very health, threats of violence, injustice, desertification, inequality, poverty, pollution, tyranny, all our problems are man-made and so are the solutions,” President Ensign told the freshly enrolled students who come from 27 states and three countries outside Nigeria. Many of them were accompanied by parents and relatives to the University’s fall semester Convocation and Pledge Ceremony held in the large-capacity Lamido Aliyu Mustafa Commencement Hall.
“Here at AUN, we begin with honesty and hard work. We look the world in the eye; we look Nigeria in the eye with an unflinching gaze. We confront problems with accurate facts, not fake facts. We work hard to distinguish between them. We see the world’s problems for what they are, and we find ways to make things better. It can be done. It must, and it will be done. And we will do it together”, she said.
President Ensign, who was presiding over the University’s first Convocation ceremony since her reappointment as President/Vice-Chancellor in July this year, assured the new students and their parents that the American University of Nigeria is fully equipped to play the traditional roles of a university – teaching, learning, and research. However, a part of its founding is not traditional, a part that makes AUN unique.
“We are Africa’s Development University, that is our core identity, our central mission; our primary role is to develop solutions to local, regional, national and global problems.”
President Ensign also noted that the students could not have begun their academic journey at a more challenging time than the present when their country and the world need them most.
“Coming to you from America, I know that Nigerians are one of the very most successful immigrant groups in my country. Nigerian-Americans are famously creative, hard-working, and very successful. That, of course, is true- true here in Nigeria as well. You, as students are Nigeria’s most important resource—not oil. You are the resource that Nigeria needs in order to succeed”.
Lauding AUN’s steadfastness to its core Development mission, the President stated: “I am happy to say that this work has been well launched at AUN. Our students have for many years been involved in the community development of many kinds. Our faculty have been at the forefront of cutting-edge development research. Our graduates have gone on to help change the world”.