The Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, has stated that cultural exchanges between Nigeria and China will significantly enhance and promote mutual understanding and appreciation of our dynamic cultures.
Duke made this position known, while addressing a delegation of Chinese cultural experts to Nigeria, at a meeting with their Nigerian counterparts, to deliberate on future co-operations between both countries, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, on Monday, 25th February, 2013.
The minister noted that the meeting, as part of the ministry’s efforts at enhancing cultural relations and promoting cultural exchanges between Nigeria and China, was an opportunity for stock-taking and interaction on how to tackle the present challenges and constraints in the sector through the exchange of ideas on global best practices in all aspects of our cultural heritage.
He said it was gladdening to note that the cultural and educational co-operation between Nigeria and the People’s Republic of China, which was signed on the 28th of March, 1990, has been yielding results, as evident in the series of exchanges in the fields of music, dance, exhibitions, capacity training for cultural experts and cultural troupes, as well as in arts and crafts. According to him, the meeting with the Chinese cultural experts, which was a follow-up to the Interactive Technical Meeting on Strategic Implementation of the Ministry’s agreements with friendly countries, hosted in Abuja from 22nd-23rd of November, 2012, and the Round-Table Meeting during Nigeria’s Culture Week in Beijing, China, which took place 11th – 13th December, 2012, was to strengthen and broaden future implementation strategies of agreements, noting that to keep this on, the ministry will continue with the celebration of Nigeria’s Culture Week in China annually.
The Minister reiterated that the ministry will give serious attention to the outcome of the interface, because the role of cultural diplomacy in fostering mutual understanding and socio-economic development cannot be over-emphasized, and called for more collaboration and networking, noting that the world now relies on soft power, instead of hard power, in solving global issues, and that only inter-cultural dialogue can achieve this goal, despite the apparent diversity of the two countries.
He therefore, pledged that the ministry will continue to provide the platform for such interaction with China, also used the opportunity to call on China to join in the celebration of the Nigerian Centenary by presenting cultural performances in at least three states in Nigeria and urged them to continue their participation in Abuja Carnival annually.
On her part, the leader of the Chinese Delegation, Mrs. Jiao Yunhua, who is the Deputy Director-General of Jiang Shu Nanjing, China, noted that the Chinese people have realized the potency of culture, that was why their culture is in the forefront in everything they do, stating that, if Nigeria’s vision 20-2020 is to be realized, then, the country must promote its positive cultures towards achieving socio-economic development.
The delegation also donated 250 books in English language to the National Library of Nigeria and signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) in the area of strengthening co-operation between the Jinling Library of Nanjing, China, and the National Library of Nigeria and on the promotion and preservation of our Intangible Cultural Heritages (ICH), as well as on strengthening co-operation between the Nanjing Museum of Jiangsu, China, and the National museum of Nigeria.
Present at the occasion were the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Mr. Chudi Nwandu, the Director of Culture in the Ministry, Mr. George Ufot, the Director of Tourism in the Ministry, Mr. Johnson Odekina, the Director-General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments of Nigeria, Mallam Yusuf Abdallah Usman, the Director-General, National Library of Nigeria, Mr. Habib Jatto, and the Director, National Orientation Agency, Mr. Mike Omeri, among others.
Members of the Chinese delegation include, the Director, Nanjing library, Yan Feng, the Director, Nanjing Aerobatic Troupe, Fei Guang Sheng, and the Director, Nanjing Municipal Museum, Bai Ning.
The Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, was represented at the event by the Director of Finance and Accounts, Mr. Godson Ordu and Deputy Director (Protocol), Mr. Alex Omijie.
Jonathan N. Nicodemus