Promoting Education in Africa: International Affairs Major Ifeoma Anyigor
Ifeoma Evelyn Anyigor is an International Affairs major with minors in Entrepreneurship and Humanistic Studies. Hailing from Nigeria, she is the author of a book titled Think Home Africans. Last year, through the Teresian Association, she traveled to Madrid to participate in “Dreamers and Doers,” a project organized by the Education for an Independent World (EDIW) association as part of the UN Global Compact for Migration.
What brought you and your family to Italy?
I came to Italy in 2012 for a family reunion. I grew up in Nigeria with my mom, twin sister, and younger brother, but my dad and my two elder brothers had been living in Italy since 2004. 2012 was a great year for me, a year in which my family slept, ate, and lived together under one roof.
What made you choose JCU?
I think JCU chose me in a way. I took science-related courses in high school and when I found out that I was going to move to Italy, I began searching for the best universities for pharmacy in Rome. My plans changed when I arrived in Rome and realized how much of a language barrier there was, so I enrolled in an international school. That’s when I heard of JCU and decided to attend an open day. I liked what I saw, I liked how I was welcomed, and this showed me that JCU was where I belonged.
Can you tell us more about the Madrid statement you helped compose with “Dreamers and Doers” and the Teresian Association?
The Teresian Association, which is present in 33 countries, is an international lay association of the Catholic Church, dedicated to education and culture. A group of 40 young adults known as “Dreamers and Doers” gathered in Madrid in the summer of 2017 for a project organized by the Education for an Independent World association as part of the UN Global Compact for Migration (GCM). The statement was a collection of ideas from all the participants. I was among the few who compiled the final statement, which was read at the United Nations by Mrs. Patricia Stockton, a representative of the Teresian Association.
How did you become interested in migrations?
I wrote a project proposal for Professor Tom Govero’s Public Speaking class. In view of the rise in the number of victims of the migration crisis, the dangerous journey undertaken by African migrants through deserts and the Mediterranean Sea, and the xenophobic attacks taking place in South Africa, I thought it would be a great idea to speak to African youths about their “Europe or death” attitude.
What is the “Think Home Africans International Foundation?”
This foundation is the third phase of my project. The first phase is the research that I started in 2015 which is still ongoing. The second phase is documentation. I wrote a book titled Think Home Africans. While the full manuscript is yet to be released, it has been accepted twice for publication but I was advised to wait for a better contract. I went to 13 African embassies, I interviewed ministers, ambassadors, and other staff members. I also interviewed migrants who had been in Italy for years like my father, as well as newcomers and Italians who were interested in the migration crisis that had hit Europe. A few excerpts were published by Evergreen Publishing in New York and by EDIW in Europe for their project “Roots and Wings.” The third phase is Think Home Africans International Foundation (THAIF), an NGO registered in Nigeria.
I hope that THAIF will help combat the migration crisis through awareness programs, especially in Nigeria. THAIF hopes to achieve this through a skills academy where migrants will be given the opportunity to reintegrate into society at home and abroad.
Gaining Grounds African is another project of mine. It’s a non-profit organization that aims to help African migrants gain skills, learn Italian, and find a job.
What are your career plans?
I want to be as flexible as possible. My dream is to be an entrepreneur and to run a life-changing organization. I would like to handle projects that will help improve Nigerian society. EDIW is doing a great job in this respect and I believe it’s what Africa needs: organizations that foster projects that educators and governments might miss. Nigeria has one of the highest youth populations in Africa. However, most of these youths are not integrated into society and need to be engaged in rehabilitative projects with positive leaders, which would ensure strong community building.
Any advice for a new student starting college?
It’s wonderful to be an A student, but what is most important is to graduate and understand how useful each class has been in your life. Every course will teach you something even if you’re not the best student in the subject matter.
I wish to thank Dean of Academics Mary Merva. She has provided invaluable support ever since I arrived at John Cabot University. I am grateful to JCU for giving me a voice and the power of knowledge.