UFUK Foundation, a Turkish non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Abuja, with a philosophy of working to ensure global peace and security, using the platform of art and culture, has stated its preparedness to partner the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) in the organisation of some sensitization programmes to enhance peaceful co-existence in the Nigerian society, as the Nigerian Turkish Nile University in Abuja has the facilities to conveniently host such programmes.

The president of foundation, Mr. Kamil Kemanci, who is the immediate past Registrar of the Nigerian Turkish Nile University, disclosed this when he paid a courtesy call on NICO’s Executive Secretary, Associate Professor Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, at the Institute’s Headquarters at 23, Kigoma Street, Wuse Zone 7, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, saying Ufuk Dialogue aims at working consistently towards sustainable peace and that one of such programmes is its forthcoming “International Friendship and Cultural Festival” holding on the 16th of April, 2016 in Abuja.

Mr. Kemanci, who was accompanied by the Foundation’s PRO, Mr. Emrah Ilgen, used the opportunity to formally invite the Institute to participate at the cultural Festival, stating that being the foremost national cultural institute with veritable platforms, it is pertinent for NICO to participate in the festival in order to foster cultural exchange and ideas with the NGO.

His words: ”The main reason why we are here is to invite NICO to our forthcoming festival next week Saturday, the 16th of April, 2016, tagged, ”International Friendship and Cultural Festival. We believe that NICO would also be part of this activity; it is also one of your works. So, we are inviting you. It will open on the 16th April at the Nigerian Turkish Nile University Convocation Arena. We have invited many institutions, many foreign embassies who are here in Nigeria. It would be a kind of multi-cultural organization so that people could just exhibit their cultures. Everything will be handled by UFUK Dialogue and the University.”

The president further highlighted the mission and activities of the Foundation, saying, ”UFUK Dialogue is into peaceful organisations: academic, arts, sports, using all platforms to promote peace; that is what we believe. We believe that no peace, no development. So, we think that everybody must work for peace because there are problems everywhere: there are conflicts, terrorists, monsters killing people, bombing people. We feel the responsibility of going out there and uniting people to come together for peaceful co-existence. So, we use conferences, seminars, panels, workshops, using every platform to promote peace.”

On the activities of UFUK Dialogue, Kemanci listed some of the charity works: free distribution of educational materials to the villages, especially during festive seasons like Easter, Christmas, Ramadan, assisting people in need, medical visits on weekly basis to conduct free medical checkups, and free medical treatment as part of the charity work of the institution.

According to him, the group’s world cultural organizations are there to promote Nigerian Art within and outside the country: “We believe if art is there, peace is confirmed; that means peace is out there. There was a time we did an art exhibition, ‘Art for Peace Project,’ two years ago, promoting some Nigerian artists to showcase their art. They did some paintings, so we exhibited them here in Nigeria in Transcorp Hilton and we exhibited in Ethiopia in the African Union building. We carried it down to New York at the United Nations’ building just to promote Nigerian art. You know in United Nations building nobody knows about UFUK Dialogue; but everybody knows about Nigerian art. This is what we are doing.”

Responding, the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, welcomed UFUK Dialogue and assured the leadership of the Institute’s active participation in the forthcoming cultural festival, saying NICO has always been part of the Foundation’s programmes before now.

His words: “Thank you very much Kamil for your detailed presentation. I know about UFUK Dialogue; your colleague and predecessor had always written to us and we have always honoured your programme invitations. I want to assure that for this festival, we are going to instruct a director and a few officers to attend, so that they share in the experience. Before now, we have also been thinking of organizations that can partner NICO to do certain things. As you were discussing, we realised that there are one, two or three programmes that you can come in to partner NICO to organise.”

Prof. Ayakoroma continued: ”This year, we have a programme we call, “Talking Cultural Diplomacy.” The idea is for people to come together to discuss cultural diplomacy; how Nigeria can further its cultural diplomacy objectives and we know that embassies and non-profit foundations like your organization, will find this platform invaluable for robust collaboration. We also have our Public Lecture series; we want to have it quarterly; so, every year, we want to have four (4) public lectures on cultural matters. Most importantly, NICO also organises a national conference on Culture, Peace and National Security for Traditional Rulers.”

According to him, in 2012, when the security situation in the country started getting out of hand, the Institute conceptualised the “National Conference on Culture, Peace and National Security: The Role of Traditional Rulers and Local Government Chairmen” because they (the royal fathers and the council chairman) are people in the grassroots; adding that the Institute would need Ufuk Dialogue’s partnership to enhance the outcome.

UFUK Dialogue is a charity foundation of the FIRST SURAT Group of Companies, which has Mr. Hikmet Coban as its chairman; and the group has a total of seventeen (17) international institutions, including schools and hospitals, spread across Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Ogun and Yobe States, as well as the prestigious Nigerian Turkish Nile University that has over one thousand Academic and non-academic staff.

Njideka Dimgba

Corporate Affairs Unit