Festival International Soninke (FISO) Nouakchott, Mauritania

When members of a community are mobilized to pursue a common goal with determination and work collaboratively with the full participation of all – only the sky is the limit. That is the message we should remember from the great success that characterized the third edition of the Festival
International Soninke (FISO), which took place in Nouakchott, Mauritania on February 20 through 24, 2014. The community members came from all over the world to show their dedication. As evidence of that, not only did native Soninke from Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau come in droves, but also delegations came from the Soninke diaspora living in Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Angola, France, Spain, United States, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates. During the cultural celebration, the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott, marched to the drum beat of Wagadu. Through rich and varied programs, the Soninke community shared its historical values, cultural richness, the beauty of its music, and its entrepreneurial genius with the world.
It is worth mentioning that the event was highlighted by a series of activities, such as panel discussions, workshops, cultural performances, parades, Soninke food tasting, book sales and exhibition stands, which generated a strong interest among participants. This interest reached its climax with the decision  of the creation of an Academy of Soninke Language whose mission is to harmonize the transcription and the teaching of Soninke language for a better promotion thorough the world.
Also, humanitarian assistance was included in the programs. Thanks to the clinic that was put in place for medical emergencies; hundreds of people were able to have access to free health screening. Besides that, Kissi Clinic had generously opened its doors to any participant in need of medical assistance. The participation of internationally renowned lecturers, such as Professor Abdoulaye Bathily, Cheikh Sadbou Kamara, Mamadou Soumare, and Mohamed Hadya Kane among others has been nothing short of outstanding.  The quality of their presentations and their constructive interactions with the audience gave a special brilliance to the event. For instance with a remarkable eloquence, Prof. Bathily spoke of the central role that the Soninke people played in West Africa with the creation of the Ghana Empire; which had experienced an unprecedented success because of its institutions, economic development and military power. Because of those cultural and economic achievements, Dr. Kwame Nkruma was inspired to choose the name of Ghana for his newly independent country in 1958. That name choice was a reflection of his Pan-African vision and it provided him with positive historical references as he was planning on building a model-country on the continent during the heights of the decolonization movement. In his speech, Mr. Kane provided archeological evidences supporting the points made by Prof. Bathily. Furthermore, referring  to scientific sources, he depicted the succession and corroborated the seniority of Soninke, Serrere, Peulh, and Berbere people .
In organizing this Festival, the Soninke community has highlighted the importance of the cultural rights that are an essential aspect of the international human rights as recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 10, 1948. It is through such events that we can promote the African cultural heritage — to prevent cultural conflicts which are very often politically motivated. That is why it imperative to develop harmony and cohesion among our cultures so that we can discover the richness of our diversity. On that note, I fully agree with Maya Angelou, who said,” It is time for parents to teach young people early on that there is  beauty and strength in diversity.”
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Posted by on Apr 15 2014. Filed under Community News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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