By Ndey Sowe
Fulbe Africa (FA), a Fulani cultural organization, Saturday 14th August 2021 organized an intercultural conference for Gambian cultural groups at a local hotel in Senegambia, West Coast Region.
The intercultural conference was attended by eight cultural groups each representing an ethnic group. The event was aimed at unifying Gambians, diversifying the cultural heritage and ensuring peaceful coexistence in the country.
Speaking at the intercultural conference, Alieu Sowe, President of Fulbe Africa, said FA organized the intercultural conference to create a platform where diverse ethnic groups would start a new conversation to maintain and promote peace and unity among Gambians irrespective of different backgrounds. He said FA initiated the conference after recognizing increasing religious and ethnic tensions in the world, especially in some African countries.
President Sowe appealed to stakeholders to embrace tolerance and support initiatives that would foster respect, peaceful co-existence and dialogue among people of different cultures and religions backgrounds.
He assured FA continuous commitment to work with all to promote cultural heritage as well as peaceful coexistence in The Gambia, while commending all partners as well as the first family for attending the event.
Presenting on cultural diversity, Samba Baldeh, Winconson representative in the USA, who visited his homeland, called on Gambians to remain united and avoid all forms of tribalism and tribal identity.
“As the Gambia has multi ethnic groups and languages, there is need for all to use their various languages as a tool of communication and not as a tool of division,” he said.
Bakary Y Badjie, Minister of Youth and Sports said the youth have a responsibility to promote their various cultures as well as embrace cultures of other tribes to ensure peaceful co-existence in the country.
“Culture is part of us and we must do everything to retain it. Of course, there are some cultures that we think are bad and we must change them, but it is our responsibility as young people to keep, learn, understand, sustain and uphold the cultures that we have,” he said.
Minister Badjie added that if the youth failed to learn their cultures, then the country could risk losing her cultures.
Hassoum Ceesay, Director General for the National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC), commended FA for the great initiative in unifying Gambians, saying culture would play a key role in ensuring peaceful coexistence among neighbors.
“National language also plays a crucial role in unifying the public because if someone visits people and speaks their language, they will love and appreciate that person. Language is important,” he said, while calling on Gambians to embrace speaking diverse languages.
Essa Bocar Sey, special guest speaker, called on all and sundry across Africa to maintain peace, adding that no nation can attain development without peace.
However, he said one must be peaceful to advocate for peace.
Imam Alhaiba Hydra, a religious leader, preached for tolerance of diversity and respect for all mankind. He said Almighty God never addresses a particular tribe in the world, but He only addressed humanity. This, he said, shows all humans are one and the same..