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Nigeria: Cultural Diplomacy Projects

Nigeria: Cultural Diplomacy Projects

NATIONAL FESTIVAL FOR ARTS AND CULTURE (NAFEST)

Project Details

  • Country:        Nigeria
  • Telephone:   +234 923 423 60
  • Email:             info@fmct-nigeria.net
  • Website:        http://www.ncac.gov.ng/nafest
  • Sponsored by: The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation

Organisation Description

NAFEST was initiated in the 1970’s, and is organised annually by the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation. The event is also called Unity Fest on a local level, and was developed as a post- colonial strategy to promote national unity using a cultural festival. NAFEST is hosted by a different state each year, and spans over the course of a week featuring competitive and non- competitive events. Examples include musical concerts, dance, traditional wrestling, children’s moonlit games, colloquium, dramatic performances, an arts and crafts exhibition, a herbal fair, a book fair, a food fair, an indigenous circus and choral music performances, all carried out under a topical theme.

Project Description

The participants are drawn from the 36 Nigerian states, and include people from cultural NGOs, government agencies, academia and relevant stakeholders. The underlying aim of NAFEST is to it provide a means to showcase Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and thereby build cultural bridges amongst the country’s diverse communities.

Aims of the Project

–          To promote young talent;

–          To promote creativity, and highlight the best of the nation’s collective heritage;

–          To create an interest in Nigerian art forms, and introduce Nigerian traditions to the world;

–          To stimulate and maintain the interest of young Nigerians, and by extension, neighbouring Africans in traditional dances and songs;

–          To attract tourists, and foster mutual cultural understanding with the aim of forging long-term relations in other areas, such as trade and creative collaborations.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

NAFEST illustrates Nigerian national unity and cultural diversity in its assembly of different ethnic groups, with the aim of fostering cultural appreciation and understanding. The festival also provides a platform for national minorities to showcase their talent, and to demonstrate their culture through different forms of art. The festival draws a large international audience each year, serving as a tool of global education.

NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR ARTS AND CULTURE (NCAC)

Project Details

  • Country:        Nigeria
  • Telephone:   +234 923 423 60
  • Email:            http://www.ncac.gov.ng/
  • Website:        info@ncac.gov.ng
  • Sponsored by:         The Government of Nigeria

Organisation Description

The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) was established by Nigerian Decree No. 3 of 1975 and amended by Decree No. 5 of 1987 (now Cap 248 Laws of the Federation 1990). It is a Federal Governmental organization, charged with the responsibility of national and international coordination, development and promotion of the ‘Living Arts and Culture of Nigeria.’ The organisation envisions the use of culture as a cornerstone to build a solid nation where the citizens see its cultural diversity as a source of strength, using it as a resource for national integration and unity. It is hoped by the organization that such awareness will also serve as a catalyst for the sustainable growth and development of the nation.

Project Description

The goal of the NCAC is to refocus its programmes and projects towards positively improving the perception of Nigerian culture and cultural activities, as opportunities for job creation, poverty alleviation and economic empowerment. The council has a decentralized structure known as zonal offices in ten zones across the country, with each department focusing on the unique cultural aspects of the zone, such as its regional cultural heritage. This framework is intended to ensure an effective grassroots impact on tapping and harnessing the diverse and rich cultural industries for the purposes of rural economic growth.

Aims of the Project

–          To promote and foster the revival, development and appreciation of Nigeria’s artistic culture;

–          To plan and co-ordinate cultural activities, with a view to develop literary, visual and performing arts within the country;

–          To promote skills acquisition and youth empowerment through Nigeria’s cultural industry.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

Through its employment of various cultural expressions as a source of strength and integration, the NCAC is a strong example of how a governmental organization can work to unify a culturally and ethnically diverse country through arts and culture.

MINISTRY OF CULTURE, TOURISM AND NATIONAL ORIENTATION

Project Details

  • Country:        Nigeria
  • Telephone:   +234 923 408 297
  • Email:            None listed
  • Website:                           http://www.visit-nigeria.gov.ng/
  • Sponsored by:         The Government of Nigeria

Organisation Description

The Federal Government of Nigeria established the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in 1999, in an attempt to increase levels of visitation. The ministry was created through the fusion of the former Ministry of Information and Culture and the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Tourism by the Olesegun Obasanjo administration.

Project Description

The core mandate of the Ministry is to promote culture and tourism as a catalyst for foreign investment, an income distributor, a method of job-creation, a catalyst for rural development and poverty reduction, as well as a vehicle for fostering peace. Through the use of cultural tourism, the ministry will undertake practical steps towards harnessing the nation’s cultural and tourism potentials, with the aim of ensuring that tourism contributes a minimum of 4% (against the current level of 0.95%) of the GDP.

An example of a project which the Ministry supports is The Ovia Osese Festival. Ovia is an ancient ‘maiden festival,’ where young women are initiated into womanhood in preparation for marriage. The concept has evolved over time from a formal training school lasting between one and three years for both sexes, into a simple rite of passage.

Aims of the Project

–          To use Nigerian culture and tourism as leverage for economic growth and development;

–          To promote the nation’s rich cultural heritage through identification and marketing;

–          To develop policies aimed at diversifying Nigerian economy, to place it on a path of sustainable growth.

Relevance as Cultural Diplomacy

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation is the main government arm responsible for cultural affairs, and development in Nigeria. Increased government investment and sponsorship in the ministry will contribute to the advancement of the country’s ability to export its culture beyond its political and geographical boundaries.

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