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WS at 87… That Our Future May Not Disappear

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Soyinka

The yearly gathering of young people across the globe, under the auspices of the Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange (WSICE), comes up July 13 in a hybrid format – live and virtual.

According to Alhaji Teju Kareem, Executive Producer, WSICE, this year, will focus on the theme, That Our Future May Not Disappear. He said the event is expected to attract over 5,000 young people drawn from across four continents of the world.

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His words: “Taking a different direction this year, the WSICE, which, in its youth segment had always featured a writing competition for students the past 13 years, will hold as a forum to air the views of young people about critical developments in world polity.”

According to him, “this year, young people from as many as 20 countries will engage in discourse on the now widely spread incident of ‘disappearing humanity’ through acts of kidnapping, abductions, human cancels, social and cultural discriminations on the bases of colour creed, faith, physio-mental features, and others — all framed in the conceptual context of theme.”

Past winners of the yearly contests of the WSICE will be joined by contemporaries from other countries and cultures will converge on a panel named “The International Youth Assembly” to discuss the issue of disappearance of all forms and how it affects their future and the survival of the human family.

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While the discourse will hold in the virtual space, the live event will hold at the Ijegba Theatre Resort located in the heart of the Autonomous Republic of Ijegba, A.R.I – the thickly forested residence of the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, who is the grand inspiration behind the project. This segment will have over 1000 pupils and students of Ogun State having a mentoring session with members of the Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA (Ogun State Chapter).

“The programme will also have group of specially selected eminent cultural and educational leaders named “Advocates of Conscience” – who are renowned for having dedicated their time, life, and careers to speaking for and working with young people. They will share their experiences and remarks,” Kareem said.

Some of them are the renowned Caribbean performance poet-philosopher-activist, Mutabaruka; the American physician-storyteller, Dr Russell Low, and the classic musician, Jian Wang.

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To further consolidate on its international profile which it firmly established last year, the WSICE has renewed its partnership with the San Diego State University, SDSU in the United States, which will be the virtual host, and as well supplying some of the resource persons.

Russell Low
Physician with a passion for discovery and storytelling, the discovery of his own roots began 30 years ago through the stories of his parents and their siblings.

Growing up in Central California, more American than Chinese, his connection to Chinese culture and history was limited and incomplete.

Discovering the 1903 Hong family photograph among the belongings of 100-year-old great Uncle Kim sparked a decades-long search for the stories behind the photograph.

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These are the stories presented in his seminal work, Three Coins. In his searches, Russell came across a 130-year-old newspaper notice titled “Villainous-looking Chinese after a Chinese Girl.” In the article, he recognized his great-grandparents’ names, but the romantic drama it uncovered shook the core of his family’s belief in who they are and how they came to be Americans.

Russell frequently lectures on Chinese-American history, and his family’s story has been featured on the History Channel, National Public Radio, Public Radio International, the Voice of America, the California State Railroad Museum, and the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

Russell’s discoveries as a physician in the medical field have changed the way that his colleagues worldwide practice medicine and image disease.

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Jian Wang
Born to a musical family in Beijing, China, cellist Jian Wang began her musical studies at the age of five with her mother, a cellist with the former Central Philharmonic of China, and she made her Beijing Concert Hall début at 13 with the Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D Major.

She was a pupil of the renowned cellist and pedagogue Eleonore Schoenfeld, who also guided her through her years at the University of Southern California. Ms. Wang has been the recipient of numerous awards, including top prizes at the ASTA State Competition and the LA Philharmonic Fellowship for Excellence in Diversity Scholarship.

She has appeared as a soloist with such orchestras as the Pacific Symphony, the American Youth Symphony, the YMF Début Orchestra and the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra of China.

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Wang performs frequently in recitals and as a chamber and orchestral musician. She was invited by Maestro Zubin Mehta as one of the featured artists at the 60th wedding anniversary celebration of Mr. and Mrs. Mehli Mehta. She recently made a film titled, PSA, which involved 46 kids/12 adults from 28 families of diverse ethnic groups who appeared on camera.

The film was inspired by the attack on Asians during the pandemic in America and sparked by a simple question from her daughter “why do they hate us?” A recent transplant to the San Diego area, Ms. Wang makes her home in La Jolla with her two daughters and her Emmy Award-winning cinematographer husband whom she met while covering five Olympics as a reporter for NBC’s Olympics coverage. She has been performing for several months this season at Copley Symphony Hall at the invitation of the San Diego Symphony.

Mutabaruka Allan Hope
Better known as Mutabaruka, is a Jamaican Rastafari dub poet, musician, actor, educator, and talk-show host, who developed two of Jamaica’s most popular radio programmes, The Cutting Edge and Steppin’ Razor. His name comes from the Rwandan language and translates as “one who is always victorious.”

His themes include politics, culture, Black liberation, social oppression, discrimination, poverty, racism, sexism, and religion.

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