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Wole Soyinka Cultural Exchange Project opens next week in Ogun

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From left; Odia Ofeimun, Prof Soyinka, Mahmood Ali-Balogun and Tope Babayemi

The producers of Open Door Series ProjectWS have announced the commencement of the 9th edition of the Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange Project, WSICE 2018, which will hold July 12 -15 in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The theme for this year is THE PURSUIT OF TRUTH (TRUTH AND THE NATIONAL PSYCHE), otherwise interpreted as “The Pursuit of Truth in our Country,” a statement from the organisers said.

Executive Producer, Teju Kareem, said the theme is inspired by the observed intense preoccupation of the Nobel Laureate with the devastating consequences of LIE in our national psyche, which also extends to global discourses, especially the invention of the term Fake News, which now seems to pervade public discourse and information flow.

Kareem said Soyinka’s engagement with the pursuit of truth “has been consistently captured in his latest publications — The two new Intervention series (Vol. 6 &7) and the earlier volume, InterInventions, from which the quote below has been excerpted:

“My commitment to the belief in the fundamental right of all human beings NOT TO BE LIED AGAINST remains a life obsession… I despise that species of humanity whose stock in trade is to concoct lies simply to score a point, win an argument, puff up his or her ego, denigrate or attempt to destroy a fellow being.”

Some of the events include an annual essay competition that will feature 84 students writing analyses of three of Wole Soyinka’s poems — in a reality television-like setting at the 1000-seater amphitheatre situated in the neighbourhood of the laureate’s Autonomous Residency Ijegba (ARI) in the Ibara Housing Estate, Abeokuta.  The particular poems will be unveiled to the participants only minutes to the commencement of the essay writing exercise.

In addition, 1000 students from Ogun State schools will join the 84 finalists, where they would participate in workshops to varied creative endeavors. The workshops will be conducted by poets drawn from writers organizations domiciled in Ogun State. The students will also be given opportunity to showcase their individual talents and skills during the workshop and a free expressive creative session called DO YOUR OWN THING.

Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has confirmed his visit to the participants in the course of the second day of the workshop on July 14, where the results of the final essay competition will be announced, and awards (for winners) and certificates will be given to all participants.

The participants would be privileged to have a one-on-one encounter with Soyinka. This is a mentoring session that marks a highpoint of events for the students as they can ask the distinguished dramatist, poet, political and literary activist and professor of Comparative Literature any question about his life, career and situations in the local and global polities.

The WSICE84 will also feature guest participants from the Southern Illinois University in the USA, who will also be on a weeklong tour of key culture and tourism facilities around the country,

The WSICE is a yearly programme initiated in 2010 by the management of ZMirage Multimedia Company and the US-based GlobalNewHaven headed by the theatre director and culture scholar, Professor Segun Ojewuyi.