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GENERAL CONFERENCE

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea speaks of black Africa’s identity

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea speaks of black Africa’s identity
  • © UNESCO/D. Matar
  • Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea

Speaking before the 34th session of the General Conference of UNESCO, the President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, today declared that African society had to assert its cultural identity.

In view of the challenges of globalization, the President said, “it is urgent that black Africa define strategies to bolster its cultural identity which is threatened by the influence of other cultures that dispose of more means to secure their expansion.” He insisted that “we, Africans, must develop new educational systems which will bring up-to-date, and contribute to reinforce the coherent assimilation, of our indigenous cultures, so that they may retain their special meaning while incorporating elements from other cultures.”

The President paid tribute to all those who contributed to “the recognition of black people and their culture,” especially to the late poet and President of Senegal Léopold Sédar Senghor, the founder of Négritude, the movement which promoted a new understanding of black Africans aesthetics with the participation of intellectuals and artists such as Aimé Césaire, Léon Damas andt Wilfredo Lam.

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo then spoke of the importance of education in Africa. “Better a cultured people than a rich people,” he declared, deploring that the colonial regime in his country had blocked the development of education and limited its level. “It is only after independence, and with the few resources available, that the government turned its attention to education at higher levels when it created technical and vocational schools, as well as the National University of Equatorial Guinea.” The President then expressed thanks “for the support that UNESCO gave us” to achieve this.

The President finally proposed that the Organization create a UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo Prize for the safeguarding of biodiversity, with funding from the government of Equatorial Guinea.

  • Source:UNESCO Press Release No.2007-138
  • 30-10-2007
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