For Immediate Release-Igbo Diaspora Cultural Heritage Festival 2017

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Igbo Masqurade

Igbo Kwenu! Igbo Kwenu! Igbo Kwezuenu!

We, the sons and daughters, inheritors of the great Igbo World Civilization bound together by common ancestry and Igbo heritage customs and traditions have united with common purpose, goal and resolve to do whatever that is necessary to keep our great Igbo language and Cultural heritage alive and thriving for the enjoyment of new Igbo generations and for posterity. To this effect a Consortium of Igbo Organizations and Individuals have come together to work for the staging and exhibition of an all Igbo Cultural Heritage Festival;  “Igbo Diaspora Cultural Heritage Festival 2017”.

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According to the plan, this maiden event will be staged in the first week of September, 1 to 3, 2017 near Washington DC/Maryland area. Next year in 2018, the event will be staged in Atlanta Georgia, to be followed by other major cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Boston, Nashville, Houston, Dallas, Toronto in Canada, and South African and Nigerian cities. (Ilu Igbo kwuru si na anyukoo nwamiri onu ogbaa ufufu)

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Staging events of such magnitude is always costly, but the cost will be mitigated and managed through support of member organizations, brochure sales, donations from Igbo Philanthropists and Igbo owned businesses, Raffle drawings and business vending booth opportunities. Such unified effort removes the burden of one organization footing the bill for this great festival. The venue for this great cultural event will be announced as soon as a suitable place is secured in and around the Washington DC/Maryland areas.

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The purpose of the new Igbo Diaspora Cultural festival is to continue to focus on the propagation of Igbo language and Culture to the new generation of Igbo Children born outside Ala-Igbo. There are estimates of over 15 million Igbos living in the diaspora and majority are young and are showing great enthusiasm and interest in learning Igbo language and cultural traditions and values. Our aim here is to encourage these young Igbos and to help them learn more about their great Igbo cultural heritage. WE CERTAINLY DO NOT WANT IGBO LANGUAGE TO DIE!

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Recently ABW published a heartwarming story of Chinyere Ohaya a 16 year old Igbo daughter born and raised in Atlanta Georgia USA, who through her efforts in addition of the efforts of her parents now speaks, writes, and reads perfect and fluent Igbo. She has now taken up the mantle of speaking and encouraging all Igbos both old and young of the urgent need to save Igbo language and culture from going extinct. We hope to feature Chinyere as one of the many speakers at this great cultural event. See the story and video link below. (http://www.africabusinessworld.com/first-igbo-born-in-diaspora-speaks-writes-reads-perfect-igbo/2017/01/28/) Stories like this illustrates that progress is slowly being made to keep Igbo language and culture alive one small step at a time. Many Igbo Schools are springing up in different  locations in the diaspora, teaching Igbo language to students. We certainly encourage and applaud such noble effort.

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In an initial meeting with the leaders of many Igbo organizations, which included, World Igbo Congress Chairman, Ichie, Dr. Larry Udorji, Vice Chair of Nwannedinamba USA, Engr. Edwin Udenkwo, Hon Odibeze Nkiru Onyema of Nwannedinamba USA, PILA-USA represented by Model Kanayo Ntukogu, and Africa Business World of ATL Georgia represented by Mazi Okechukwu P. Oranika, an agreement was reached that such large scale event should include all Diaspora Igbo Associations and Organizations that want to be part of this great cultural heritage extravaganza.

It was further agreed that this event is needed not only to galvanize the growing interest of Igbo children born outside Ala-Igbo in Igbo language, heritage and cultural traditions, but also to exert unifying influence among our people. Many other Igbo organizations have been consulted and the overwhelming majority of these organizations were excited and have joined this effort and others are consulting with their members including ICOTTH-USA, Nze Na Ozo USA, South African Igbo Organizations, including Progressive Igbo leaders South Africa (PILASA), Council of Igbo State Leaders South Africa, (CISLSA), Royal Brothers Association South Africa, Abia Royal House South Africa, Nze na Ozo South, Greater Awgu Leadership Forum, Umuada Di Igbo Mma of Los Angeles, Igbo Language School of New England (ILS), Igbo School of Atlanta, and many more. In the coming days, we will be reaching out to Igbo organizations in Europe, Asia, South America and Australia to encourage them to become part of this all Igbo Diaspora annual Cultural event.

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We are also reaching out to our Igbo Royal Majesties, Igwes, Nze na Ozos, Chiefs and Elders in Nigeria, as well as the Nollywood Movie Industry which pioneered the efforts to showcase Igbo culture and traditions to the world. We invite Nollywood to join us in doing Igbo movie premieres at the festival with emphasis on Igbo language and Culture.

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In the coming days and weeks, we will be consulting and contacting many more Igbo organizations in the USA and Canada, including, ASA-USA National, ASA-USA Canada, Igbo Union Canada, Igbo Union Atlanta, Imo State Congress of America, Abia USA, Enugu USA, Ebonyi USA,  Anioma USA,  Umuada Ndigbo National groups, Abatete USA, Peoples Club of Atlanta, Brothers Club of Atlanta, Tuesday Forum, Otu Umunne, Umuokpu Association, Anaedo Social Club of Atlanta, Idemili United, Umuigbo Unite, Umuibe Group, Igbo Catholic Community of Atlanta, Ogene Ndigbo of Virginia and many others. We encourage these groups and other Igbo organizations to send their contact details to Okechukwu P. Oranika at [email protected] for formal consultation. More updates will be provided in the coming days and weeks.It is a new day and beginning for our great Igbo language and culture. This event supports Igbo unity of purpose as well. This is a just cause and with God’s Blessings we will succeed! Please join us!

Signed                                                                                   Signed

Prof. Okechukwu P. Oranika ,                                         Engr. Edwin Udenkwo

Chairman Planning Committee                                      Co-Chair, Planning Committee

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