As Nigeria grapples with internal security challenges and seeks regional and economic cooperation from nation-states, a call has been made on government to use cultural diplomacy to foster mutual understanding in its relationship with countries in order to enhance national development.
The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, made this declaration in a two-day lecture, titled, Cultural Diplomacy, delivered on 7th and 8th September, 2015 to the Postgraduate class of NICO Training School, National Theatre Annex, Iganmu-Lagos.
According to the NICO Boss, mutual understanding of people from different places leads to better cooperation and this can be achieved with the exchange of cultural ideas, goods and services, adding that, cultural exchanges between individuals and even nations involve the projection of our identity through the indigenous languages, dresses, literature, foods, and other expressions that are truly Nigerian to the rest of the world.
Dr. Ayakoroma noted that Nigeria can use the instrumentality of Nollywood to promote the beauty and uniqueness of the country’s physical, geographical and cultural attractions. This is because Nollywood movies, which have qualities of immediacy, are all encompassing, and evokes consciousness, are veritable tools of cultural diplomacy that reveal the soul of the country. That is, what outsiders need to know for improved understanding, interaction and cooperation.
The erudite scholar who is also an Associate Professor, Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), espoused that what the United States of America achieved with Hollywood, the Chinese with culture and ‘Ping Pong’ diplomacy and Israel with the Bible or religion, can be achieved by Nigeria with an effective cultural diplomacy programme.
The steps towards the realization of the above objectives, he continued, involve the recognition or respect of cultural differences, understanding of the position or disposition of the other party in a bi- or multi-lateral relationship, and the need for continuous bi- or multi-lateral dialogue.
Culture and Diplomacy is one the courses offered at the postgraduate level by the Training School of National Institute for Cultural Orientation; and it examines Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives within the context of cultural diplomacy and encourages students to explore the relationship between culture and diplomacy.
Corporate Affairs Unit
NICO Training School