FRIENDS OF NIGERIA
Friends of Nigeria continues to implement its five goals:
1. to educate the American public about Nigeria,
2. to promote policies consistent with the Peace Corps experience,
3. to be the alumni association for Nigeria Peace Corps Volunteers,
4. to promote continued service to the Nigerian people,
5. to keep members informed about events in Nigeria.
· Marge Shannon Snoeren continued as the newsletter editor. The 16-page quarterly newsletter’s mailing list has grown to 1427 addressees. The newsletter continues to include feature articles, guest columns, opinion pieces, news from Nigeria, an arts column, letters to the editor, member updates, and Cause Call articles (articles featuring grass roots, non-profit organizations deserving of the support of our members).
· Dues-paying members of Friends of Nigeria members received the Friends of Nigeria 2000 Directory edited by membership chair Peter Hansen. The directory included current addresses for over 1550 Nigeria RPCVs and staff, the names of 112 deceased Nigeria RPCVs, and a list of four hundred “lost” Nigeria RPCVs.
· Greg Jones and his son continued to maintain the Friends of Nigeria website that includes our mission statement, selections from our newsletter, and an online Friends of Nigeria directory. Plans are underway to completely modernize the website.
· In January, FON started a listserv for its general membership. The list currently has about 150 subscribers. The listserv has made FON members aware of such opportunities as a Yoruba language workshop in Washington, an Ibo festival in Minnesota, lobby efforts for a variety of causes, and job opportunities in Nigeria.
· Board member Bob Cohen continued the sale of Wole Soyinka’s The Burden of Memory, the Muse of Forgiveness and also offered A. Olusegun Fayemi’s Voices From Within: Photographs of African Children, both to Friends of Nigeria members at a reduced rate.
· FON provided a $500 grant to St. Mary’s School in eastern Nigeria. The grant was delivered by former board member Nkechy Ezeh.
· The Friends of Nigeria board of directors met in February and May via conference call, and in August at the NPCA conference at Shawnee, PA. A fourth conference call meeting is scheduled in November.
· In December, FON member Tim Carroll was present when President Clinton welcomed the new Nigerian Ambassador to Washington, and Carroll presented Ambassador Aminu with copies of the FON newsletter.
· In April, FON officially greeted the new Nigerian Ambassador in Washington at the Nigerian embassy. The FON delegation consisted of President Frieda Fairburn, newsletter editor Marge Snoeren, and member Tim Carroll. The group discussed FON's hopes that the embassy would be involved in the 40th PC Birthday celebration in 2001.
· In January FON member Greg Zell (also President of RPCVs of South Florida) welcomed Mark Schneider, the new Peace Corps Director, to a Miami staging of trainees for South America, and used the opportunity to plug a return of Peace Corps to Nigeria.
· In February, FON hosted a luncheon at the Summit on Africa in Washington -- at least three members were official delegates (Virginia DeLancey for IN, David Axtel for CO, and Leslie Driscoll for VT.)
· In March, 32 FON members participated in Peace Corps Day 1999.
· In July, Nigeria X held its third annual reunion in Seattle, and later in the year a reunion of Bauchi RPCVs was held in Queechy Lake, NY – organizers in both cases were FON members.
· In August the FON Board endorsed the re-entry of Peace Corps into Nigeria – first as a Crisis Corps (to assist with HIV/AIDs education), but eventually as a full-fledged Peace Corps contingent. In November, an FON delegation (Frieda Fairburn, Roger Landrum, Tim Carroll, and Marge Snoeren) will meet with Peace Corps Mark Schneider.
· In September, a Washington-area committee of FON members gathered to begin planning the FON events to be held in Washington during the fall of 2001 in conjunction with the Peace Corps 40th Birthday celebration.
· FON board member John Romano is actively investigating opportunities for a charter flight to Nigeria for FON members.