University of Oxford

Nigerian Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, will travel to Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, for a series of meetings at the invitation of Laboratorio Contemporary Arts in the frame of the series ‘Meetings from here and elsewhere.’

‘Meetings from here and elsewhere’ is organised every year by the Laboratorio Arts Contemporains, and the launch of the second edition was held on February 15 in Haiti.

Mr. Soyinka, 83, will be accompanied by Nigerian personalities including a filmmaker, journalist, choreographer, director, and singers to engage with Haitian intellectuals, journalists, writers, and actors.

Silvana Moï Virchaux, the president of Laboratorio, emphasised the importance of the choice of Mr. Soyinka as the distinguished guest for the America and the Caribbean region for this year’s event.

“Mr. Soyinka was appointed in relation to what he represents in the literary world but also and especially his commitment in the struggle towards a world of understanding, exchange and sharing while explaining that through this movement the body plans to create this space of exchange.”

In addition to Port-au-Prince, Mr. Soyinka is expected to travel to the provinces, especially in Cap-Haitien during his stay. He will be received by President Jovenel Moïse on February 20.

‘Meetings from here and elsewhere’ holds from February 12 to 26 is aimed at “bringing together, the pooling of the essential, of what brings us together and differs.”

According to the organisers, “the world is plural and unique and we must go towards each other, open, modest. Artistic creation opens bridges that lead each one freely to his path.

“Laboratorio Contemporary Arts promotes meetings between creators, those who say the world, beyond politics and borders, and reveal us. Between the creators and the general public, because we are all messengers, bearers of stories and dreams.”

At the Cap-Haïtien Town Hall, the Société Capoise d’Histoire, the ISPAN and the Inhopp (Haitian Institute of Public Policy Observatory) are already at work for Mr. Soyinka’s visit to the North between February 24 and 26 where he will share his experiences and knowledge with the northerners.

Fritz Jean, a former Haitian central bank governor and a founding member of Inhopp, highlighted the context of the octogenarian’s upcoming visitation to the North.

For him, Mr. Soyinka’s life can help young Haitians see life differently.

“Soyinka’s life is full of resilience to all that is wrong in our societies, the world we live in, a world of injustice,” Jean said.

“It’s a life of literature and work extremely important, a life that allows us to see how to look at things in another way.”

In her remarks on the occasion of the launching of the event, the director of the Société Capoise d’Histoire, Thony Eyma, encouraged young students and academics to participate in all the activities planned for the occasion.

Mr. Soyinka will be received in the afternoon of February 24 at the Cap Haitien International Airport by a delegation of diverse personalities from the northern community.

On this occasion, a representative of the town hall will give him a certificate of honorary citizen of this historic city and tourist.

He will participate in several activities, including lectures, a dinner and an excursion including the citadel La Ferriere and the Palais Sans-Souci.

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