Addis Abeba – Ethiopia’s capital city Addis Abeba is hosting the East African Arts and Culture Festival which kicked off at Meskel Square on Wednesday 14 June under the theme “Arts and Culture for Regional Connection.” Representatives from Uganda, Burundi, South Sudan, and Somalia as well as representatives from various regional states in Ethiopia are attending the festival, which will last from 14 – 19, according to Ethiopia’s Ministry of Culture and Sport.
Speaking at the opening of the festival, Ambassador Dina Mufti, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, welcomed the participants and said the festival was a showcase of Africa’s historical, cultural and natural resources to the world.
The Minister of Culture and Sports, Kejela Merdassa, on his part said the festival, which is organized by the Ministry of Culture and Sports in collaboration the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is believed to be of great significance in the efforts to unite East African countries.
The time is ripe to lay the centuries old relations between Eastern African countries on unity and strong foundation, Kejela said, and highlighted the importance of understanding the facts that no one can be a winner by running alone, therefore the need to “strengthen our unity.”
He added that East African countries could combine natural resources and cultural assets as a means to strengthen people-to-people relations and a source of pride for tourists coming from all over the world.
Cultural diplomacy is a prerequisite for economic and political diplomacy, the Minister further said and promised that the festival will expand its reach to include all countries of the continent in the coming years.
He thanked East African brothers and sisters for their decision to be part of “this historic event” and conveyed the message that their stay in Addis Abeba will be fruitful and enjoyable.
The festival will showcase, among others, multiple displays of artifacts, food, music, and exhibition of various cultural activities drawn from participating countries as well as from Ethiopia’s diverse regional states. AS