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US department of state honours Nigerian Runcie C.W. Chidebe

 

The US Department of State has honoured Runcie Chidebe, a Nigerian cancer control advocate, as one of the ‘Faces of Exchange’ in commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).

Chidebe was selected for his exceptional community work in cancer policy advocacy, global health, and cancer prevention in Nigeria.

 

Since his return to Nigeria as an IVLP alumnus, Chidebe applies leadership strategies gained during his programme in the US to facilitate social empowerment and justice for communities.

 

On December 2, 2020, the IVLP Alumni Association in Nigeria hosted a conference to mark the 80th anniversary and inaugurate its new executive council at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.

 

According to a statement by Khadijat Banwo-Fatai, project supervisor of Project PINK BLUE, Beth Leonard, the US ambassador, congratulated Chidebe for being one of the 80 faces of exchanges among 225,000 IVLP leaders from all over the world.

 

Leonard explained that the anniversary of IVLP takes place at the same time that the United States and Nigeria are celebrating 60 years of bilateral relations, adding that the IVLP programme impact has been profound in strengthening the connection between both countries.

 

Each year, the US Embassy and the Lagos consulate select 50 outstanding Nigerians for the programme, which was founded in 1940.

Chidebe, who is founder and executive director of Project PINK BLUE, spoke on his experience as a cancer control advocate in Nigeria.

 

“Working in Nigeria’s cancer care, supporting the government in cancer policy and working with patients can be depressing. However, it is inspiring for me to be honoured among the 80 Faces of Exchanges by the US Department of State,” he said.

 

“I hope my story continues to inspire young people all over Nigeria and Africa to take up diverse sectors of development and make the needed positive change.”

 

Chidebe, one of the leading voices in cancer care in Nigeria, participated in the IVLP visits to Washington DC, Brattleboro, Texas, Albuquerque and a few other cities, during which he connected with many institutions, including the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Susan G. Komen, and the American Cancer Society.

Upon his return, he used the U.S. connection to bring two American cancer doctors to train 44 Nigerian doctors, establish Nigeria’s first patient navigation, train 34 nurses, start an online palliative clinic, translate cancer awareness materials and participated in a number of other collaborative projects between Nigeria and the United States.

 

The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the US Department of State’s premier professional exchange programme.

 

Through short-term visits to the United States, current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields experience US first-hand and cultivate lasting relationships with the American community.

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