The premier edition of the Calabar International Conference of Theatre and Media Studies, with the theme: “Theatre and Media Studies in the Third Millennium,” hosted by the Department of Theatre and Media Studies of the University of Calabar, at the new Senate Building, held from 24-27 September, 2015.

Welcoming guests at the opening ceremony, on Thursday, 24 September, which had Dr. Joseph Ikpang and Dr. Stanislaus Iyoza, as the Masters of Ceremony, the Conference Convener, Professor Edde Iji, informed that the groundbreaking nature of the conference, the first of its kind in the 40 year old department, was influenced by the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA) conference, SONTA 2015, hosted by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO).

This, he said, reflected in the ambitious organisation, which saw the organisers attracting iconic scholars like Biodun Jeyifo, Femi Osofisan, Irene Salami-Agunloye, Barclays Ayakoroma, Ojo Rasaki, Emmy Idegu, among others, from far and wide, and enjoined participants and students of the department not to just take away but put to good use the knowledge impacted during the conference.

In his welcome address, the Head, Department of Theatre and Media Arts, University of Calabar, Dr. Andrew Esekong, dwelt on the fact that more knowledge is being generated in the academic environment and that gave rise to the expansion of the platforms for sharing this knowledge.

He averred that intellectual discussions and interactions must continue and active scholars constantly seek platforms to share their thoughts, saying the conference was a response to this hunger for knowledge, and that he foresaw a meeting of academics and practitioners, promising that the conference would provide opportunities for delegates to exchange ideas and establish academic and business relations, and partner for future academic researches.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar and chief host, Professor James Epoke, represented by the Registrar of the university, Mr. Moses, wondered why the conference had to be delayed till the university was 40 years; but however gave kudos to the department and urged them to sustain the momentum.

He said he believed the conference will be beneficial to both the attendees and the university community, and promised that the university will give the necessary support to enable the department sustain the conference for the educational advancement of the university.

Declaring the conference officially open, the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Professor Benedict Ayade, who was represented by his Deputy, Professor Ivara Isu, a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar, commended the Head of Department and Members of the Organising Committee for actualising the conference, challenging them to sustain the achievement.

Governor Ayade said as a mark of government’s commitment to the development of the arts and culture sector, plans were underway to refurbish the State Cultural Centre in order to create the enabling environment for artists to perform, promising government’s support to ensure that media organs are properly repositioned for effective job delivery and urged the conference to come up with resolutions that would lift the university and the academia.

Present at the occasion were Professor Chris Nwamuo (Unical), Professor Irene Salami-Agunloye (Unijos), Professor Emmy Idegu (ABU), Professor Molinta Enendu (Unical), Assoc. Professor Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma (NICO), and Dr. Kwaghkondo Agber (UniAbuja), Dr. Liwhu  Betiang (Unical), Dr. Edet Essien (Unical), Rt. Hon. Mrs. Majorie Eyo Asuquo (Executive Chairman, Calabar South LGA), among others.

Law Ikay Ezeh Jr.

SA to the Executive Secretary,

NICO HQ, Abuja