The President, UFUK Dialogue, a non-governmental organization (NGO) with a Turkish stint, based in Abuja, Mr. Kamil Kemanci has reiterated the need for peaceful co-existence among people of diverse cultures and religions to ensure global peace, saying that cultural festivals are good because unlike war that pulls people apart, festivals bring people together irrespective of cultures, tribes, religions, ethnicity, country and race. 

He said: ”We need to co-exist. We don’t try to make plans to destroy others, to kill others, to bomb others, to terrorise others. No! We need to know how to live together; we need to know how to tolerate each other and love each other. So, that is what we need – tolerance and love.”

Kemanci, who is the immediate past Registrar of the Nigerian Turkish Nile University, stated this in an interview with NICO News, shortly after the Opening Ceremony of the Foundation’s 1st International Friendship and Cultural Festival, held on Saturday, 16th of April, 2016, at the Nigerian Turkish Nile University, Airport Road, Jabi-Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Earlier in his welcome address, Kemanci appreciated guests for maing out time to attend the maiden edition of the cultural festival, assuring that it would be an annual event and the Foundation will network to make sure that the festival is sustained: ”This is part of our mission; it’s part of our annual plan, we will find many ways to sustain it and we will continue to do this every year. We will have the second edition next year, we will find ways, find sponsors and people to come here for the festival, and I believe that even this venue will be too small, we will look for a larger venue.”

Continuing, he said: ”Festivals are nice. Normally, culture is something that brings us together; we believe that culture is something good which, instead of pulling us apart, would bring us together. Therefore, we are using it to tell people that we need to live together, because as you look all around this arena, you see people are eating, dancing, listening to music and performances and they are from different cultures, tribes, different religions, from different countries but they can still enjoy the festival, so that is what we need. So, I hope this kind of cultural festival will help people understand that we need peaceful co-existence.”

The Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Associate Professor Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, represented by the Coordinator of the NICO Training School, Abuja, (Mrs.) Regina Onuoha, lent his voice in commending the Foundation for the initiative, adding that the international friendship and cultural festival would enable the diverse cultures, religions and nationalities propagate the message of peace, tolerance, love and harmony, especially with the increasing security challenges, wars and terrorism in the world.

There were other goodwill messages from the UNESCO Regional Director, Ambassador of Serbia to Nigeria, Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), National Gallery of Art (NGA), among others, all geared towards congratulating and encouraging UFUK Dialogue to continue in this giant stride of global peace and unity using cultural festivals and arts.

Different local and international cuisines were on display for the food fair session; just as the festival had Book Fair where the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) displayed her publications; Arts and Crafts Exhibition, Traditional Dress Parade, as well as Cultural Music and Dance performances.

Countries like China, Burkina Faso, France, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkey, and Nigeria, among others, participated actively in the exhibition at the festival.

Dignitaries at the International Friendship and Cultural Festival included the Chairman, Surat Group, Mr. Hikmet Coban; Ambassador of Serbia to Nigeria, Prof. Joan Maric; Ambassador of Sudan, Mr. Ibrahim Bushra; representative of Honourable Minister for Foreign Affairs, Prof. Femi Adegbulu; Secretary, Cultural Affairs, Catholic Secretariat, Abuja, Rev. Fr. Moses Iyara; Oba of Abuja, Oba Dr. Olusegun Salau; Eze Igbo, Airport Road, His Royal Highness, Dr. Eze Udo; UNESCO Regional Director, Mr. Benoit Sossou; representative of the Executive Secretary of NICO, Dr. (Mrs.) Regina Onuoha; representative of the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Dr. (Mrs.) Lizi Ben-Iheanacho; representative of the Director-General, National Gallery of Art (NGA), Mr. T.A. Ibrahim; President of Female Artists Association of Nigeria, Mrs. Ngozi Akonde, among others.

Njideka Dimgba

Corporate Affairs Unit