Officials of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) led by Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma were guests of the Graduate School of Valparaiso University, Indiana, USA recently. The historic meetings were hosted by the Dean of the Graduate School/Associate Provost, Prof. David Rowland, at the serene campus of the famous private University popularly called Valpo, established in 1859.

NICO was invited by Valparaiso University for initial planning meetings to discuss the establishment of a Nigerian Cultural Institute in the mode of the Confucius Institute, which has become the regional centre for the study, promotion and development of Chinese arts and languages and other areas of mutual interest.

Prof. Rowland noted that Valparaiso University became interested in meeting with NICO  because the Institute was established to promote Nigerian culture and Valparaiso University has been looking for ways to represent Nigerian Culture and give it greater visibility at Valpo.

Dr. Ayakoroma had earlier informed the meeting that NICO was established as a joint initiative of Nigeria Government and UNESCO during the World Decade for Cultural Development (WDCD) Programme (1988-1977) to promote Nigerian culture and give a sense of direction to Nigerian citizens.

He also intimated his host that the Institute’s core programmes include Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme, Promoting Nigerian Dress Culture, academic training programmes leading to the award of Diploma and Post Graduate Diploma in Cultural Administration, Annual Round Table on Cultural Orientation, National Workshop on Repositioning Nigeria Cultural Workers for Improved Productivity, NICO Cultural Clubs in Schools, Quarterly Media Workshops for Arts Writers/Editors, and the proposed International Workshop on Ethics and Good Governance for elected Nigerian Government officials.

Discussion at the meeting centred on the following critical areas: Proposal by NICO for International Workshop on Good Governance, Cultural and Students Exchange Programmes, an Annual Multi-ethnic Convention on Nigerian Culture to be hosted by Valparaiso University, mobilisation of Nigerians in the Diaspora, and funding prospects for the proposed programmes, and five committees were constituted for necessary follow-up actions.

Dr. Ayakoroma expressed appreciation for the warm reception accorded him, and  the honour and privilege to discuss with the officials of the University. He also commended officials of the University who co-ordinated the visit for a wonderful job.

Prof. Rowland said he was highly elated that the aspiration by the University to have this kind of exchange for about four years was now being realised through NICO.

The meetings were attended by the Dean of Graduate School/Associate Provost, Prof. Daniel Rowland, the Executive Secretary, NICO, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, Associate Provost Prof. Renu Juneja, Chair, International Service Programme, Prof. Charles Schaffer, Assistant Dean, Graduate School, Kathleen Scott Gibson, Assistant Professor Dr. Victoria O. Chiatula (a Nigerian), Director of International Students and Schools, Moninder ‘Holly’ Singh, Chief Information officer, Rick Amrhein, and the Chief of Staff, Office of the President of Valpo.

On the entourage of the Executive Secretary were the Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs, Prince Dele Olusa, Deputy Director/SA to ES, Mr. Nelson Campbell, and the Assistant Director (Protocol), Mr. Alex Omijie.

The previous day, the Executive Secretary and accompanying officers were special guests at the ICP Global seminar with Guest Speaker, Mr. David Shear of the US Department of State and at Memorial Opera House, Valparaiso, where they were treated to a wonderful evening of classical music by the Windiana, a Professional Concert Group.

The visit climaxed with a luncheon in honour of the Executive Secretary and his entourage at the Harre Union, Brown and Gold, Valparaiso University.

(c) NICO News