The African Union organises the African week in Geneva
African Union, African arts, crafts, dance, music, culture, statues
Every year on 23rd May, the African Union celebrates Africa Day. "For quite a long time this event was always celebrated in Bern, but we wanted to bring it back to Geneva", Her Excellency Ms Masri, Ambassador of the African Union here in Geneva, told us.
Although the African Union is generally known among the international community as the provider of the AU force in Darfur, the organization has many other facets to its credit. In fact its history goes back to 25 May 1963, when the founding fathers, the first heads of state and presidents of the newly independent African states, recognized the need for a pan-African organization. Thus was the Organization for African Unity born.
Its aims were to dispel the remaining vestiges of colonization, to promote unity and solidarity among its member states and, not the least, to promote international cooperation within the framework of the United Nations. In 1999, the OAU became the African Union with the aim of accelerating the process of integration on the continent, to enable Africa to play its rightful role in the global economy and address
multifaceted social, economic and political problems.
"The theme for this year’s celebration is ’Strengthening African’s place in the world though strategic balances and responsible partnerships’," says Ambassador Masri. "We would like to draw attention to the positive things happening in Africa and the work of the African Union."
Already on May 21st, there will be the opening of an African arts and crafts exhibition at the ILO. The collection includes ancient sculptures, retracing the evolution of African culture from before the beginning of the Christian era. One objective of this exhibit is to show the use of a variety of materials in African arts and crafts over time. The exhibit will go on for a week and will be open to the public.
A drawing competition for children aged 10 to 15 on the theme of Africa Day is currently being organized in the international schools in Geneva.
On the May 23rd, Africa Day, other events will take place in Geneva. Let us briefly mention a debate about Africa and partnerships to take place in the ILO, then, later that evening, the official commemorations will continue with music, fashion shows, traditional African food and more…