NPCA President Speaks at American University of Nigeria Convocation
By Sarah Kana on Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
Late last month, Kevin Quigley, president of the National Peace Corps Association, traveled to Nigeria to speak at the graduation ceremony of the American University of Nigeria (AUN). Quigley was asked by President Margee Ensign (who attended last year’s Peace Corps 50th anniversary The Promise of the Peace Corps Gala) to give the Convocation Address because AUN has a community service requirement and is trying to inculcate in all its students the values of “service to community and country.”
While there, Quigley had breakfast with five Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) on the faculty/staff and met numerous other faculty members (Cameroonian, Nigerian and Rwandan) who told moving stories of how Peace Corps Volunteer teachers altered their life trajectories in the most remarkable ways.
On the day before his talk, Quigley joined the freshmen class participating in four different community service projects in the Yola neighborhoods around AUN. “It was inspiring to see the local residents taking up the paint brushes to work alongside the students painting the school and clinic walls.” says Quigley.
I am especially honored to be here because this remarkable university’s founder and principal benefactor, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar, had a vision, rooted in his own personal experience, of how an education based on intellectual inquiry grounded in a community of learning and rooted in the values of service could have a transformative impact on individuals and indeed countries. — Kevin Quigley, AUN Convocation Address
According to Quigley, the American University of Nigeria, founded by Atiku Abubakar, is perhaps the most tangible expression of his philanthropy and his advocacy of the centrality of service. “During my flying visit to Yola, I also had the chance to spend time with Atiku,” says Quigley. “Seeing the work he does and listening to him talk about how his Peace Corps teachers shaped his life makes me even more grateful for his generous gift establishing the Global Leaders Program.”
Abubakar recently endowed the Global Leaders Program, a regular series of discussions initiated by the National Peace Corps Association featuring notable figures, influenced by the Peace Corps from the worlds of politics, business and society. The donation will also support the National Peace Corps Association’s Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award, named for the former U.S. Senator and special assistant to U.S. President John F. Kennedy who was instrumental in the formation of the Peace Corps.
“Although I was expecting some, I underestimated how much Peace Corps was in the DNA of the American University of Nigeria,” says Quigley.