The annual Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange (WSICE) will feature 82 students to participate in a writing competition to signpost the fact that Prof. Wole Soyinka (the pivot of the project) will be 82 years old on July 13th 2016.
The event has been designed to coincide with the Nobel Laureate’s birthday.
Executive Producer of the WSICE, Teju Kareem, said the event, scheduled to hold between July 13 and 14 at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Abeokuta, will also feature other programmes.
‘As is traditional to the project in past six years, it is to coincide with the birthday anniversary of the Nobel laureate, Professor Oluwole Akinwande Soyinka, who is the grand motivation behind the project, and after whom it is named’, he said.
Kareem explained that the project is organised under the auspices of the Open Door Series promoted by Zmirage Multimedia Limited in collaboration with US-based GlobalNewHaven.
‘As a common feature of the project in the past six years, themes and topics to be addressed by the various segments of the programme are selected to reflect current happenings in Nigeria and around the world’, he said.
He said the overall theme for this year is: Corruption: A battle for the Arts, which is calibrated for the youth and the adult segments of the programme.
“The youth segment will feature an essay writing competition by students, while the adult segment will feature two keynotes on the main theme, as well as an all-female panel of discussion on Corruption as it affects Children, Women and our common humanity,” he said.
Kareem stated further that for the youth segment, the theme for the annual essay competition, is “Challenges or Not, I love my country”, disclosing that the writing competition will feature 82 students tackling the topic — in a reality television-like setting’.
‘In addition, 18 past winners of the competition will be congregated to write commemorative essays on same topic’, the producer said
He said wife of the Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun will have a special mentorship session with the 82 student essayists and 18 past winners, along with 1000 other children from various schools in Ogun State on the youth essay topic.
‘This is a tradition which Mrs Amosun has held strong over the years, as it presents one more opportunity for her to impact and encourage the youths. This year’s theme/topic for the youth segment is aimed at awakening the patriot in young Nigerians, even as many in the older generation have become disillusioned due to the recurrent failure of the Nigerian State,’ he said.
The 82 student essayists and 18 past winners, along with WSICE officials, will pay a courtesy visit to Governor Ibikunle Amosun, and afterwards, proceed to the country home of Soyinka in Abeokuta for a unique personal one-on-one experience.
“And for the adult segment, the choice of topic for the Advocacy forum is to weigh in on the current battle against corruption by the government, especially to see how the arts can use its civilizing principles and tools to help the society cleanse itself of the virus of material and moral corruption”, he said. “The arts cannot thrive proficiently in an environment polluted by the pervasive scourge of graft and moral decadence.”
He said the Open Door Series WSICE began in 2010 as an avenue to enlighten and enrich young minds through the use of various art forms.
“Focusing on the youths as the future of humanity, the WSICE seeks to foster unity among mankind regardless of nationality, ethnicity and religion. The project aims to combat fear, socio- cultural and religious intolerance amongst humanity and in its place foster a sense of unity, tolerance of diversity and subsequent embrace of and respect for each other’s differences”, said Kareem.
Producer of the series, Haneefat lkharo, said the youth (secondary school age) are the main target because ‘we believe at that age, their minds are still open to receive and process change and they are also curious enough to explore and accept the unique nature of mankind.”
Features of the 2016 edition are: the Special Non-Competitive Essay Writing ,while all past winners of the essay competition from the past six years have been invited to come together for a special non-competitive essay.
‘All the essays will be edited and subsequently published into a book. Also present to write an essay on the same topic will be 82 students from various schools preselected to symbolically signpost the fact that Prof. Wole Soyinka (the pivot of the project) will be 82 years old on July 13th 2016.
He said the programme will also have segments where 1000 students are given an opportunity to exhibit their talent through other mini competitions like Spelling Bee, dancing competition, fashion parade and debates.