Academic journal article Nebula

Non-Governmental Organisation and the Promotion of American Education in Nigeria, 1941-1953

Academic journal article Nebula

Non-Governmental Organisation and the Promotion of American Education in Nigeria, 1941-1953

Article excerpt


The end of World War II signalled the beginning of a period of massive expansion of higher education in the United States. One important consequence of this was that Nigerians who had received their higher education in America agitated for the application of what they perceived to be the greater adaptability of American educational model to the needs of Nigeria. Against this background, this paper discusses the activities of some nongovernmental organisation in propagating the American educational model, particularly in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Furthermore, these organisations came into existence towards the end and immediately after World War II. These organisations had a common aim of encouraging interactions between Nigerian youths who were hungry for higher education and American schools, colleges and universities. Many Nigerians and indeed Africans who were resident in the United States of America during and immediately after World War II took upon themselves the burden of performing the duties of "unaccredited cultural ambassadors." (1) Many of these Africans expounded their views on politics, economy, culture and education among other issues, "to receptive audiences in churches, voluntary organisation, newspapers, and journals of opinion, usually but not always run by African-Americans committed to cultural nationalism." (2)

In line with their new titles as the 'unaccredited cultural ambassadors of Nigeria,' some Nigerians and other fellow Africans went ahead to establish organisations, such as the African Students Association of the United States and Canada (A.S.A) in 1941, the African Academy of Arts and Research (A.A.A.R.) in 1943, and the American Council on African Education (A.C.A.E.) in 1944. (3) These organisations were established by their promoters mainly to promote and facilitate the admission of Nigerians and other Africans into American schools and colleges and to protect the welfare of their members. The contributions of these organisations to the acquisition of American diplomas and degrees mainly by Nigerians form the primary focus of our discussion. However, it is important to mention that of less significance to our study is the A.S.A. because this organization was a mere umbrella body for all African students in the United States and Canada. It was set up mainly by Nigerian students who were studying at Lincoln University in 1941. (4) Though this organization was primarily interested in the welfare of its members, yet it succeeded to a large extent in creating awareness back home about the benefits inherent in the acquisition of American education.

The African Academy of Arts and Research (A.A.A.R.)

Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe, a Nigerian, had a strong conviction that there should be an organization to provide a meeting ground for mutual exchange of views between the peoples of America and Africa; out of this conviction was the A.A.A.R born in New York in November, 1943. (5) The A.A.A.R. was founded primarily with the aim of positively projecting African culture and also to facilitate educational and cultural exchanges between Africa and America. Other objectives of the A.A.A.R. included the promotion of research, information, and news as a way to educate Americans about African culture and to promote African independence. What is more, "as part of its exchange programme, the A.A.A.R. aimed to secure scholarship in American schools for African students and promote the exchange of teachers between Africa and America." (6)

To fulfil some of its objectives, the academy embarked on the promotion of African culture in the United States through cultural shows for which it sponsored well acclaimed African Dance Festivals at Carnegie Hall in 1943, 1945 and 1946 to spark American interest in African culture. The academy also published two journals in 1945 titled Africa Today and Tomorrow, a collection of eighteen essays on African history, culture and politics, and The African Eagle, both under the editorship of H. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.