US Secretary of State – the Rt Hon John Kerry in between managing global trouble and flashpoints China, Syria, Iran, Israel, and Brexit, has met with 14-year-old Film Maker & Girls Education Advocate – Zuriel Oduwole in his office at the US State Department in Washington DC.
He commended Zuriel for her ‘clarity of purpose’ in her fight for Girls Education in Africa through her Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up project and her other secondary initiatives such as her filmmaking class for unemployed youths. She has now taught filmmaking to more than 305 youths across 4 African countries – including Namibia, Kenya, Mauritius, and Nigeria. The secretary was impressed that a student from her first film class workshop in February 2016 – 24 year old Namibian Anna Kalola, produced her first documentary just 9 months later, in November 2016 in Windhoek.
“I don’t believe there is anyone out there under the age of 35 doing anything quite like what you are doing”, the Secretary told Zuriel. “It is incredible you have seen clearly the importance of these global challenges, and taken bold steps to do something about them. As far as I know, you are the world’s most powerful Girl, but you probably just don’t know it !!. You are inspiring and empowering Africa’s youth, and that is very, very powerful” he said. In her reply, Zuriel said “I try”, but Secretary Kerry responded saying ‘No, you are not just trying, you are a doer, and we like to recognize talent like yours”.
Zuriel asked Secretary Kerry what his most difficult challenge was in the last four years as Secretary of State. In one word, he replied ‘Syria’. He explained the difficulty was because of the various proxies and complexities of dealing with many factions with varying interests in the country.
A young independent filmmaker, who has now met one-one-one with 23 World leaders, addressed more than 24,900 children across 11 countries on Education, she was invited to speak at the UN last September. Fluent in English and Mandarin, Zuriel thanked the Secretary for not leaving out the issue of Girls Education in his programs over the last 4 years, and hopes the next secretary of state continues with these policies, when he or she takes over from January 20th.