Speech – Larry Koff, FON

AREN: L’Archive de la République du Niger

Opening Ceremony Speeches, April 3, 2015

The following speech was presented by Larry Koff at the opening of the Archive de la République du Niger (AREN) at Boston University. President Issoufou Mahamadou of Niger honored us with his presence at the opening ceremony.

Larry Koff is the Treasurer of the Friends of Niger.

Your Excellence, Monsieur Le President, Professor Ambassador Alidou and honored guests

My name is Larry Koff, a former Peace Corps volunteer and Treasurer of the Friends of Niger. I, and members of the Board of the FON, as well as representatives of our membership who are present, wish to welcome you.

No greeting can be as impressive as what we experienced as volunteers; a local griot, beating of the drums, horsemen, a large, crowded audience of curious local citizens, and the high pitched ululations of the women.

Nevertheless, we want to assure you that we are extremely pleased that you are here at Boston University. Your presence to honor the groundbreaking work undertaken by various departments at Boston University and to inaugurate the opening of the Archive of the Republic of Niger is most appreciated. Mun gode. (mun gode = we are appreciative/we thank you)

The Friends of Niger organization embodies the spirit of service and dedication of the more than 3000 volunteers who were fortunate to have served in Niger beginning in 1962 for 49 consecutive years. We are reminded by your presence that the Peace Corps goals are even more significant and important today to both the USA and the Republic of Niger than when the Peace Corps was initially established in 1962.

These goals are:

To foster development, to promote international cooperation, and to contribute to the education of America and to more intelligent American participation in the world.

We wish to inform you, Monsieur Le President that the Friends of Niger FON is undertaking new forms of collaboration and communication by including representatives of CONUSA on our Board and by expanding our funding of local NGO’s in education, health and economic development.

We sincerely hope that your visit will enable you, Monsieur le President, your most competent Ambassador Professor Hassana Alidou, and staff, to identify new ways of collaboration and communication with the various departments at Boston University, new ways of collaboration and communication with the Board members and representatives of the Friends of Niger, and new ways of collaboration and communication with the citizens and government of the USA.

Finally, it is our wish that our past and current achievements can be continued, as shown by your visit today, to fulfill those goals set out by the Peace Corps some 50 years ago.

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