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Programme announced for Wole Soyinka’s 86th birthday

Artistic impression of Soyinka as seen at an exhibition in UNILAG, when he turned 80

A series of activities to mark the 86th birthday of Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka have been made public. Multiple documents sent to The Daily Report show that the events are based on the theme “I Am Because You Are” and will run between 12 and 14 July 2020.

“This year, due to the pandemic, the entire three-day programme will hold in the virtual world, through the Zoom,” says actress and filmmaker Lilian Amah in a press statement signed by Haneefat Ikharo . “We welcome all our guests to the New Normal of our Humanity,”

The activities are hosted on the platform of the Wole Soyinka International Culture Exchange (WSICE), established in 2010 when the celebrant turned 76. They include paper presentations, an exhibition, stage performances and a prize giving ceremony for the international essay competition of the 11th Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange (WSICE).

The Wole Soyinka Advocacy Session

The Wole Soyinka Advocacy Session will hold for two days — Sunday July 12 to Monday, 13th, via Zoom, and it will feature 13 paper presentations with two keynotes: “Pursuit of Happiness and our Common Humanity” to be addressed by Prof. Li-Rong Lilly Cheng of the Chinese Cultural Centre, San Diego University, USA. Her presentation will be supported by Dr. Michael Li, an educator and president of Beijing Shenmo Education Group,

Other speakers are experts in various disciplines of the humanities and they are drawn from five countries, and include: Dr. Bunmi Oyinsan, women empowerment advocate (Nigeria/Canada); Dr. Cristian R. Aquino-Sterling, education researcher (Spain); Shabaka Thompson, culture researcher (Trinidad & Tobago); and Leolyn Jackson, education administrator (South Africa).

The second session of the Advocacy is on the theme: “Reimagining Our World post-Pandemic, andwill bemoderated by Professor Segun Ojewuyi, a theatre and culture scholar, who aside being the head of Directing at the Southern Illinois University (SIU), Carbondale, USA, is also co-Executive Producer of the WSICE.

Professor (Fr) Joseph Brown, a Roman Catholic priest, who teaches in the Africana Studies Department at SIU will deliver the keynote address. Other speakers are:  Nathan Kiwere, a publisher/filmmaker (Uganda); Dr, Ngozi Nwaneri, a global development policy expert (Nigeria); Lucille Huguet, a journalist (France); Veronique Maisier, language teacher/researcher (France); and Daves Guzha, a theatre artist and social activist from Zimbabwe.

WSICE Exhibition series

A second segment of the celebrations is the Exhibition tagged ‘Timeless Memories’. The idea, according to curator Oludamola Adebowale is to project the legacy of Prof. Wole Soyinka and the amazing body of works he has created in new innovative mediums for this generation and the generation to come.”

Drawing its title from the WSICE theme “I AM because YOU ARE”, the exhibition aims to reinforce the commitments of Soyinka to the cause of humanity; as well as the objective of the WSICE programme; aimed essentially at mentoring young minds for a better tomorrow.

Interested members of the public can join the zoom party via Meeting ID: 835 7543 6744 (Password: WSICE2020).

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