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Monday, 8 September 2014

AUN Foundation Announces Full Scholarship On All Escaped Girls - Boko Haram

The American University of Nigeria (AUN) today announced the formation of the American University of Nigeria Foundation (www.aunf.org) and the launch of the #EducateOurGirls campaign to provide full scholarships to the young Nigerian girls who escaped from being kidnapped by Boko Haram.

Announcing the scholarships, President Margee Ensign, who was supported by Board of Trustees members and senior management, said the #EducateOurGirls campaign will raise global awareness to the need to focus on the education of girls and boys in the North East region of Nigeria and will provide citizens across the globe with the opportunity to demonstrate unflinching support for the rights of girls and women to pursue their education in a safe environment.

"The world was shocked when so many innocent girls were kidnapped for wanting an education, and we are all angry that so many are still in captivity," said Dr. Ensign. "Today, we are proud to announce the @EducateOurGirls campaign that will provide scholarships for the kidnapped girls who have escaped. We are asking the citizens of the world to put their money where their hashtags are and tangibly express their support for education and for protection of the human rights of these girls."

With the #EducateOurGirls campaign, the American University of Nigeria hopes to secure funds for the other girls who escaped. AUN also plans to give scholarships to the girls still in captivity once they are released, as well as to other vulnerable Nigerian girls, boys and young men and women in the three northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe that have been under a state of emergency since May 2013.

“The importance of education and the education of women in particular cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Ensign. “Education transforms lives, and improving women’s access to education and health care is the most important intervention a society can make towards development.”

According to a 2014 UNESCO report, “While universal youth literacy [in Nigeria] has almost been achieved for the richest women aged 15 to 24, their poorest counterparts will need to wait 70 years to realize this fundamental right if no active steps are taken to fight illiteracy among the most disadvantaged groups.”

The education crisis in Nigeria affects all children, not just girls. There are close to 11 million children out of school in Nigeria, the most in the world. The overall literacy rate is around 50 percent and in the northeast, AUN’s own data point to a figure closer to 80 percent. “All Nigerian youth deserve an education,” stated Dr. Ensign. “We want to give them that chance.”

In the face of Boko Haram demanding an end to western education and female education in particular, AUN remains steadfast in educating Nigerian men and women in a western-style university in Yola, Adamawa State, in northeastern Nigeria. AUN is the only American university in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Donations can be made to the American University of Nigeria Foundation, a U.S. based 501(c)3 through www.aunf.org.

About American University of Nigeria

The American University of Nigeria was established in 2003. Conceived as Africa’s first development university, its mission is to promote service learning and to educate leaders who will be prepared to tackle the development issues of Nigeria and Africa. The university offers an American-style education modeled after the curriculum of American universities, using the latest in Internet technology and e-learning resources. AUN has both undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as a kindergarten, primary and secondary schools.

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