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World celebrates Soyinka as winners emerge in essay contest

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Winners in the international essay competition of the 11th Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange (WSICE) will emerge virtually on Tuesday, July 14 and would earn various sums denominated in American dollars.

The competition, which ran from June 5-26, was organised in two categories: Junior (12-16 years) and Senior (17-22), and attracted participants from five language zones of the world: Anglophone (English), Francophone (French), Cinophone (Chinese), Hispaphone (Hispanic), and Lusophone (Portuguese). Themed: ‘I Am Because You Are’, it’s inspired by Ubuntu, the Southern African cultural philosophy on the principle of interdependence of the Human Famil.

Meanwhile, the second programme, The Wole Soyinka Advocacy Session,will hold from Sunday, July 12 to Monday, July 13 via Zoom, and it will feature 13 paper presentations on the main theme: ‘I Am Because You Are’ with two keynotes: ‘Pursuit of Happiness and our Common Humanity’ to be delivered by Prof. Li-Rong Lilly Cheng of the Chinese Cultural Centre, San Diego University, USA. She will be supported by Dr. Michael Li, an educator and president of Beijing Shenmo Education Group, which stresses on the importance of love, care and respect for others.

Other speakers are experts in various disciplines of the humanities and they are drawn from five countries. They 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, Carbondale, USA, he is also co-executive producer of the WSICE.

The keynoter is Professor (Fr.) Joseph Brown, a Roman Catholic priest, who teaches in the Africana Studies Department of the same school, SIU, as Ojewuyi. 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.

Aside the essay and the advocacy conference, the project’s third programme is the exhibition, which was introduced three years ago.  Now in its third edition, Timeless Memories’ is an art initiative series created and curated by Oludamola Adebowale, to celebrate the legacy of Prof. Wole Soyinka and others adjudged the icons of the cultural sector.

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