In an era of globalization, concerns about the dominance of certain cultures over others have been growing among scholars and intellectuals. Addressing these pressing issues and seeking viable solutions, the maiden international conference of the Centre for Arts, Culture, and Humanities at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, was held under the theme “Emergent Intercultural Realities in Contemporary Africa.”
The event received tremendous support from the state government, with Governor Chukwuma Soludo affirming the government’s commitment to lead global efforts in protecting, preserving, and promoting Igbo cultural heritage and language. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Entertainment partnered with the Centre for the conference, signaling the significance the administration places on safeguarding the rich cultural tapestry of the Igbo people.
Representing Governor Soludo at the conference, the Commissioner for Culture, Tourism, and Entertainment, Comrade Don Onyenji, highlighted the government’s efforts to encourage the youths’ involvement in promoting core Igbo culture, especially through traditional crafts and handwork.
The conference was inaugurated by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Charles Esimone, who eloquently stated that culture encompasses the entirety of a people’s way of life, a dynamic aspect influenced by migrations and technological advancements. He emphasized that the chosen theme was timely, given the ongoing impacts and changes that require thoughtful examination.
Delivering the keynote address via a virtual platform, Professor Edwin Etieyibo from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, stressed that no culture should be considered superior to another. He advocated for the recognition of cultural interconnectedness, asserting that societies thrive on diversity and exchange, rather than isolating themselves as monocultures.
The Director of the Centre, Professor Nkechinyere Nwokoye, underscored the importance of embracing one’s cultural identity. She emphasized the significance of preserving the positive aspects of Igbo and African cultures, which have historically fostered unity among people.
Academics and distinguished guests, including Chief Ifeanyi Okoye, Reverend Father Professor Bonachristus Umeogu, Dr. Nkechi Udeze, and Mr. Uzor Ekemezie, all echoed the sentiment that cultural pride should be celebrated and upheld, regardless of the level of intercultural interaction.
The conference successfully concluded with a renewed sense of unity and a commitment to promoting cultural diversity and interconnectivity in the modern world. As participants return to their respective communities, they carry with them the collective vision of a more inclusive and culturally vibrant future for Africa and beyond.