Pan-African Festival of Dance; "We cannot change the past but TOGETHER..."

Courage Wed, August 2, 2006 - 10:00 AM by Courage

Rwanda to show new face at Pan-African festival
New York, 07/29 - Rwanda will use the occasion of the forthcoming Pan-African Festival of Dance to show the new face of a nation ready to build a better future, the country`s ambassador to the United Nations has said here.

From 4-12 August, Rwanda will host the festival, known by its French acronym FESPAD, will be hosted by. About 20 countries, most of them from Africa, have registered to participate.

Ambassador Joseph Nsengimana said at a press briefing at the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday that his country has "a big message" to convey at FESPAD.

"We cannot change the past but we can build a better future," he said of the message.

Rwanda experienced genocide in 1994 that claimed nearly a million people.

FESPAD was first held in the country in 1998 following a decision of African ministers of culture to help heal the country`s wounds from the crisis.

Rwanda is organising the fifth edition of the festival in cooperation with the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation of the UN Development Programme and the World Culture Open (WCO).

WCO is a New York-based international non-profit organisation committed to promoting world peace and intercultural understanding.

Nsengimana said while genocide remains the dominant image people associate with Rwanda, the country has turned a leaf and is ready to join the international community in pursuit of development.

The festival will feature dance, cultural and musical performances around the country by national and international artistes as well as symposiums on a variety of topics.

African ministers of culture will hold roundtable discussions on preserving cultural identity and cultural diplomacy among communities and peoples, and issue a declaration on the outcome of the discussions.

One central discussion at the conference will focus on how to use the creative economy for development.

Mr Yiping Zhou, of the UNDP`s Special Unit for South-South Cooperation, said creative economy, which refers to the use of people`s cultural assets to create jobs and generate income, was important to development.

We cannot change the past but TOGETHER we can build
A brighter future
FESPAD in partnership with World Culture Open, (New York) seeks for the success of this message at FESPAD 2006.
FESPAD and WCO wish to mobilize all human development actors for the achievement of the African Union objectives reflected below.
The Pan African Dance Festival (FESPAD) as set up by the 67th Council of ministers of former African Union Organization (OUA) in February 1998 is an event that aims at developing the African continent and its people. FESPAD aims at “bringing together the African people so as to take an active part in social, political, economic and cultural development of Africa by creating meeting points and providing opportunity for dialogue on everlasting peace, understanding, appreciation and mutual respect.
It is unquestionable that despite critical situations Africa is currently undergoing, it continues to profit from its cultures that provide opportunities for development. It is against this background that the cultural manifestation of FESPAD is willing to promote a new face of Africa and Rwanda in particular. A picture that defies a never-ending afro-pessimism giving Rwanda an image of an area of genocide, AIDS and poverty.
The land of a thousand hills now has an outstanding new face, willing to emerge and compete with world strong nations.
FESPAD 2006 will make this a reality through its slogan “Dense Culture and Imagination”
When using the word ‘Dense’ sounding ‘Dance’, we wanted this FESPAD 2006 to call upon all Africans in general and Rwandans in particular to promote their valuable culture. We look forward to attaining a truly wealthy culture. And being precious, culture itself has to promote development and social harmony. Achieving Development and Peace through Education is the priority of FESPAD 2006 campaign.
‘ImagiNations’, symbolizing the Image of Nations and also meaning «creative imagination», is the second part of FESPAD 2006 project. All festival events will celebrate a new face of Africa. Rwanda as the festival venue has many reasons to be proud of her present picture. Only a decade after things fell apart as the result of the first African genocide, Rwanda has now revealed its true colors and is being regarded as a row model. This enthusiasm to absolutely emerge from a painful and dark past makes FESPAD 2006 eager to join other national and international institutions for a better future of Rwanda. FESPAD 2006 will act as a mobilizing voice for this partnership striving for a new face of Rwanda. The message will be: «We cannot change the past; but TOGETHER we can change for a better future».