BreakingNews 27/6/16: A Mandela Washington Fellow from Nigeria Dies in US

[ Masterweb Reports ] - 100 Nigerians who were selected for the Mandela Washignton Fellowiship, President Obama’s initiative to strengthen Young African Leaders, left Nigeria last week to the different top American universities where they are currently undergoing the Fellowship program. On Saturday, June 25, rumour of the death of one of the students flew around. The gossip was quelled by a letter from the Department of State and made available to Masterweb News Desk which read:  
 
 
Dear Mandela Washington Fellowship Host University partners,
 
 
It is with a very heavy heart that I write to you to let you know that earlier today, a Mandela Washington Fellow, Jean Paul Usman from Nigeria, has passed away after a tragic accident during a hike.  Jean Paul was studying civic leadership at Virginia Tech.
 
 
Jean Paul was a shining star who will be missed.  I know that your fellows will begin to hear the news and we wanted you to have some basic information at hand so that you can assist them to process this.  As there are 100 Nigerians in the program, it is very likely that many knew him or were friends with him.  For all of us, this is simply horrifying news and we are so very, very sorry.
 
 
The U.S. embassy has notified the family.  We, at both IREX and ECA, are available to assist you should you have any questions or concerns. I know this is extremely difficult for all of us.
 
 
Britta Bjornlund
Branch Chief, Mandela Washington Fellowship
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
U.S. Department of State
_______________
 
Nkechi Udegboka, a fellow participant from Nigeria in the same program with Jean Paul in an interview with Masterweb said 24-year-old Paul was a vibrant young man. She said the deceased ( John Paul Usman - as she called him in the interview) hailed from Kogi State and was a final year student at  University of Ilorin, Kwara State. 
 
According to Udegboka, Usman led many initiatives which included: President of UNESCO Clubs; Coordinator for the Pan African Youth Network on the culture of Peace Nigeria, Ambassador for the Center for Ethics and Self-Value Orientation among others. He was also an award winning creative artist according to her.
 
In order to honour Usman, the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellows in various American universities have set aside Wednesday, June 29 for memorial service to be held in every institution at 7pm and dress code would be white.
 
*Photo Caption - Late Jean Paul (John Paul Usman) - Not sure of the discrepancy in name. Inscriptions by fellow program participants.
 
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