Meeting with African Leaders in Denmark

                         By Shey Tatah Sevidzem (Wo Scandy)

 Meeting at the Danish Cultural Institute last Wednesday 7th August 2013 in Copenhagen were leaders of the African Organisations in Denmark maybe for the very first time and the result was the proposal to the birth of an African Diaspora Platform in Denmark.
African Leaders present

 The meeting which was organized by The Danish Cultural Institute in collaboration with Celebrate Africa aimed at implementing a new concept launched by the Danish Cultural Institute  in October 16th 2012 in Copenhagen. This concept won the name Africa Denmark Rally (ADR).

Africa Denmark Rally is designed to create a strong foundation for partnership through culture between the African Countries and Denmark. The process at the time of creation had one founding member and project initiator Aziz Fall from Senegal who believed in the concept of "Charity begins at Home" took his lovely country Senegal on the boat but since his love for Africa was supreme, decided to bring other African leaders on board.
Aziz Fall from Senegal
 Although the meeting was supposed to be moderated by Syriaque Thomsen of Celebrate Africa, a young dynamic mate from Ivory Coast, gave him rather a more observing role to moderate the subsequent gatherings as this very first meeting took a completely new dimension. The Hosts of the evening remained
Aziz Fall, Finn Andersen of the Danish Cultural Institute.
Finn Andersen & Syriaque Thomsen

1)     Exhaustive presentation of the concept Africa Denmark Rally
2)     Introduction to the Cultural Rally next fall and the possibilities of follow up for other African countries in the coming years
3)     Exploration of best ways to create synergy among African organizations, associations and residents in Denmark for a successful execution of the concept.
The meeting that was slatted from 6pm to 8pm started approximately 10 minutes behind schedule with a word of Welcome by Finn Andersen the Secretary General at the Danish Cultural Institute in which pleaded on the various delegates present to intoduce themselves to set the pace for mutual Communication.

Finn immediately after the introduction took upon himself the challenge to give a brief history to the creation of the the Danish Cultural institute dating as far back as 1940 and stating the various countries they partnership and work at and with. Some of these countries where the Danish Cultural insitutes were situated were China, Russia, Brazil, South Africa etc a complete view of almost most continents represented. Admitting that the concept of Culture is very broad but reiterated the role of the society and getting together for a common/mutual goal as to dialogue. He also stated precisely the fields they are interested in, summarizing that it is a give and take situation on Win-Win basis.
 Aziz Fall was handed the floor to introduce the concept of Africa denmark Rally.
Aziz Fall on ADR
He shared his experience on the trip last year to Dakar Senegal where he worked on the project on how to use Arts to a sustainable environment. Since Africa as far as he knew was part of the world, there was no need to talk about Globalisation without Africa. While in Dakar they had the opporunity to meet with the Minister of culture and other dignatories who showed interest for the project.
Aziz Fall & African leaders
A similar meeting was held in copenhagen at Asia house with some African Ambassadors where HE Tomusange of Uganda made promises to the ADR.

Sticking with the fundamental premise that Africa Denmark Rally is about creating the basis on which Denmark Works With Africa, it is essential that the strategy gravitates around enabling a real interaction between the parties. In other words a strong emphasis will be put on generating conditions for the people of Denmark and ACP to share platforms, build common commitment and earn mutual trust.

 Jesper Boysen DCI presented the programme for the Fall events laying emphasis on the 28th Sept outdoor events at the Rådhuspladsen.

Jesper Boysen & Shey Tatah
 he started by presenting the funding situation and what they have been able to do from inception to the present. He admitted that lobbying for funds has never been an easy ride but gave room for further support. The run down of programme is taking place not only in Copenahagen but also in other cities in Denmark like Odense and Aarhus. He enemurated the numbers of Icons from Africa invited for the events and the venues for the presentations.

After Boysen's presentation, the delegates took the floor to express their interests and from the interventions the lone and powerful lady Joy Okoye was worried about the presentation of African culture only exhibited in dance and music. This set the pace for many like Kewong Isaac who could not see the link between culture and the ADR concept as he apologized for his ignorance in the whole understanding. Aziz on his part thought it was a great and brilliant remark which gave him room to express the need for a more indepth understanding.
Hassan Lasineh dyfan from Sierra Leone expessed his dissatisfaction over African intellectuals in Denmark who have failed the African community by not coming out with the knowledge learnt to regroup the Africans and to re-sent a positive and brighter view of Africa. he regretted that African intellectuals after studying go back home or stay in their holes thinking only about themselves. This gave a motion of support to bring them out of their shelves.
Ahmed, Joy, Jalloh, Hassan

Tevi Lawsen from Togo, Peter Ntende,Peace Kabushenga both from Uganda, Ahmed Dhaqane from Somalia, Lassina Badolo from Burkina Fasso, Kinga Charles from kenya, Anil Prince Nanji from Tanzania all gave very positive and constructive contributions, though approached from different angles, Adika Henry from cameroon and Syriaque Thomsen summarized them as "same palm wine different containers".

Adika & Arsenne

The last intervention came from Arsenne Bankambona from Burundi who despite having a different view from what he expected found some aspects lagging, the general consensus was to start by building an African diaspora platform proposed by Shey Tatah Sevidzem as the premise to a more reliable and sustainable network.
This was unanimously accepted by all including the hosts who gave their premises for the start of such initiative. They admitted their openess to any constructive ideas that could help achieve the aims of the project. The delegates shall be meeting on monday the 12th of August at 6pm same place and Syriaque Thomsem has been charged with the moderation.
The event ended at 7.50 pm with hope for a more fruitful discovery on monday. Other African experts and leaders were encouraged to partake.

Written & Compiled by
Shey Tatah

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