Annual Meeting

Boston 2009

FON Biennial Celebration/Reunion/Meeting

FRIDAY, AUG. 14, 2009

8pm – ???.    Informal, no host reception at The Side Bar (in the Sheraton Hotel)

SATURDAY, AUG. 15, 2009

9am. – 12pm: Self-guided tours of Boston and the immediate area.

12pm – 11pm: Reunion and gathering at UMass Boston

12:00 – 2:00pm: Traditional New England Clam Bake

2:00 – 4:30pm Annual General Meeting

[Professor Ifeanyi Menkiti will offer poetry throughout the agenda]   Professor Menkiti’s Poems

a.       FON business – Mike Goodkind

b.      FON sponsorship of VSO in Nigeria – Mike Goodkind

c.       Micro lending through The Fantsuam Foundation – Greg Jones

d.      4 Years at American University of Nigeria, Yola – Jim Garofalo

e.       November, 2008 Nigeria Trip

1.       Returning to communities, schools

2.       Touring regional capitals

3.       Experiences and Observations – panel discussion featuring trip members and New England African Studies experts

4:30 – 5:30pm: Socializing. Training Program Reunions. Service City Reunions

5:30 – 7:30pm: Nigerian Dinner Buffet with Joloff Rice, foo-foo, mai-mai, etc.

8:00 to Whenever High Life Party!

$100 contribution per person covers facility, 2 meals, and a high life party.  Any net proceeds benefit FON’s VSO+ Micro Lending Support Programs.


SUNDAY, AUG. 16, 2009                           
Self-guided tourist activities
Service Project at a local Homeless Shelter
Training Group Reunions, Service City Reunions

We have negotiated special rates at The Midtown Hotel on Huntington Avenue 3 minutes from beautiful Copley Square in central Boston.  It’s about a 15-minute subway ride from the meeting site, or a short easy cab ride away.  Contact The Midtown Hotel at 800-343-1177, 617-262-1000 or,  Explain you are with FON or the Nigeria group for special rates ($129) through July 31.  After July 31, regular rates apply ($185).

Newsletter Announcement

BiAnnual FON Meeting – Boston

The next Friends of Nigeria meeting will be in Boston, August 14 – 16.  Please come join us to hear a dramatic recount of the recent trip to Nigeria, as well as the latest on FON’s activities supporting VSO and micro lending in Nigeria.  We have arranged for special rates at The Midtown Hotel in the center of Boston.  If you identify yourself as a member of Friends of Nigeria before 7/31/09, you will get a discounted rate of $129 per night for your stay.

Friday night there are no scheduled activities.  Instead people can congregate at The Side Bar, a congenial place in the Sheraton Hotel, not far from The Midtown Hotel.

Saturday morning will be a good time to enjoy some of Boston’s famed tourist activities.  You will be located in the midst of many of these activities, and the Boston organizing committee will provide information about the sites and tours (walking tours, trolley tours, and “duck boat” tours).  Especially interesting, for example, is the walking tour of sites on Beacon Hill related to African history.

The main events of the meeting will take place Saturday afternoon and evening at the University of Massachusetts Boston campus.  UMass Boston is easily accessed by public transportation, or by car. There is a free shuttle bus to UMass Boston from the JFK/UMass subway station on the Red Line.  If you are driving, there is ample parking at UMass Boston on the weekends, and parking is just $6.00 for the day.  UMass Boston is right on the water, and sailing enthusiasts may even be able to get there by boaat.

UMass Boston is adjacent to the JFK Library.  If you have never been to the JFK Museum that is part of the library, it is an moving experience.  We are currently negotiating a free admission for our group through Senator Kennedy’s office, since we were part of JFK’s vision.

Starting at noon, the first event will be a traditional New England clambake.  Other venues may have fancy wines, butBoston has clams and lobsters!

The formal part of the meeting will take place from 2:00 to 4:30.  Ifeanyi Menkiti, professor of philosophy at WellesleyCollege, will be the spiritual voice of the meeting, offering poetry recitals at the opening and throughout the program.  Mike Goodkind, president of FON, will report on recent Board activities, decisions, and elections.  Mike will also talk about the VSO volunteers that FON supports.  Greg Jones, Nigeria 22, will report on FON’s micro lending program with The Fantsuam Foundation.  Jim Garofalo, Nigeria 4, will tell us about his 4 years at the American University of Nigeria in Yola.  Then members of last November’s trip to Nigeria will talk about what they found as they toured the various regional capitals.  Those who were lucky enough to return to their places of service will recount their feelings as they found their houses and classrooms after 40 years.   We will cap the afternoon off with a panel discussion of the current state of Nigeria, featuring both trip members and experts from the Boston area academic community.  Throughout the afternoon there will be a continuous slide show in a breakout room where refreshments will be available.

4:30 to 5:30 will be left free as a time for group reunions.  Get in touch with your training program roommate(s) and volunteers who served in the same town or region as you did, and urge them to come to the meeting!  Only you can organize these personal reunions, and you will find the FON website an excellent source for finding the email addresses of your co-volunteers and getting your invitations out!

Dinner from 5:30 to 7:30 will be an authentic Nigerian meal.  Either a local African restaurant will cater it or a group of local Nigerian women that Professor Menkiti knows will cook it.  Foo-foo, mai-mai, egusi soup, Joloff rice and many more authentic dishes will be offered for your recollecting pleasure.  If we possibly can, we will also provide the magic ingredient: Star Beer!

At 8:00 following dinner, the Nigerian caterers will join us for a High Life party.  Nigerian Disk Jockeys will provide the music, and you will provide the dancing.  If we weren’t all of a certain age, this party could go on until the middle of the night.  As it is, we have the hall rented until 11PM.

Sunday is less rigorously organized.  If enough people sign up, we will organize a volunteer project at a local homeless shelter on Sunday morning.  Afternoon time will be available for more training group or service city reunions, or for Boston tourist activities.  To facilitate your activity planning, sign up sheets will be available on Saturday for Sunday lunch locations close to The Midtown Hotel, so you can meet and eat together.

The cost of the Saturday meeting is $100.  That will cover the venue, two meals, and the High Life party.  Beverages will be at your own expense.  Should you prefer an option to the $129 room  at the Midtown Hotel,  there are a limited number of Boston area volunteers who are willing to put people up in their homes, in the old volunteer style.  Do sign up by the middle of July to get those arrangements.  Alternatively, if you know someone in the Boston area, contact them yourself to make the arrangements.

Let’s reach out and make this a really fun meeting!  The Boston Committee has enjoyed getting together to organize it.   As people sign up, we will post the roster on the FON website, so you can see who is going to be there.  Please contact your close FON friends and urge them to come if you don’t see their names on the roster.  We are planning a fun, interesting, and satisfying meeting, but the real magic will be sharing your experiences with those you already know and new friends in the FON community.

Boston Organizing Committee:

Barbara Bush
John Bewick
Murray Frank
John Page
Ron Wheatley
Ann Hilferty
David Rosen
Owen Hartford
Greg Jones

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