Cassava products on display at the Cassava Unit exhibition stand.

IITA celebrates Open Day in grand style

Cassava products on display at the Cassava Unit exhibition stand.

Cassava products on display at the Cassava Unit exhibition stand.

It was a day of fun and laughter, and celebration and appreciation for the entire IITA community, friends, and well-wishers, as they gathered at the IITA Sports Center on 25 November to celebrate the IITA 2017 Open Day.

The special event, which was attended by more than 5,000 participants, marked the official end of IITA50 celebrations and R4D Week. There were exhibitions from different units, where staff and guests had the opportunity to come, see, learn, feel, and experience first-hand the Institute’s research activities over the past 50 years. The program was attended by members of the Board of Trustees, scientists, staff members and their families, and students from IITA International School who gave musical and theatrical performances.

The celebration was declared open by Hilde Koper-Limbourg, Deputy Director General, Corporate Services: “Today is not about making long speeches, but it is about you—the staff and your families enjoying the day and making the best out of it. As we celebrate this day, I urge you all to make a conscious effort to ensure that we tackle the various dimensions of the food and nutrition security challenges that face us over the next 50-year cycle leading to the centenary of IITA.”

“Open Day is about interacting between and among staff and families, and providing a relaxed atmosphere to unwind and get together as one big IITA family,” she added.

The highlights of the day included the conferring of Long Service Awards to more than 25 staff members in the 10, 20, and 30-year service categories. Ten retirees were also recognized; and the annual Board Award of Excellence was given based on merit after a short talk by IITA Board of Trustees outgoing chair, Bruce Coulman.

In his talk, Coulman noted the many milestones achieved by IITA in its 50 years of existence and recorgnized the work of Director General Nteranya Sanginga and the staff in ensuring that IITA meets its goals. Coulman then proceeded to call on the various awardees of the Board Award of Excellence (see separate story).

The occasion was spiced with various cultural dances and displays by groups depicting the culture from Western, Eastern, and Northern Nigeria. Children were not left out as they enjoyed themselves at the lawn tennis courts which were transformed into a big playground.

The unique day incorporated the Women’s Group Scholarship Award given to children of IITA staff from Pay Grades 1 to 6 throughout IITA’s hubs. This year’s scholarship is the biggest since the inception of the Women’s Group in 1992 as $11,500 was given out to scholars for their excellent performance. As a result of hard work, 25 students from Ibadan, four from Kano, one from Abuja, seven from DRC, two from Cameroon, and three from Uganda, benefited from the scholarship scheme.

The Golden Jubilee Open Day activities ended with a raffle. The winner of the grand prize was Emily Iwu, Administrative Assistant, Genetic Resource Center.

IITA News no. 2412

Communications • 8th January 2018

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