By Taiye Olayemi, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
In view of the divergent cultural heritage across the globe, it has become important to embrace cultural integration and diplomacy to foster understanding across tribes and ensure peace, unity and harmony.
Cultural integration, or referred to as globalisation, is when individuals from one culture adopt practices from another without diminishing their own.
Also, cultural diplomacy is a type of public diplomacy and soft power that includes the exchange of ideas, information, art, language and other aspects of culture among nations and their people to foster mutual understanding.
In recognition of the benefits of cultural integration to national development, Chief Olusegun Runsewe, under his mandate as the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), has created a common ground for world peace.
This has been evident in his numerous contributions to the process of uniting Nigerians with other nationals of the world.
Runsewe has been able to engage people from different races in cultural diplomacy and integration through the annual National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) and the International Arts and Crafts Expo (INAC).
During the 2022 INAC Edition, most of the Ambassadors from other nations commended Runsewe for his unflinching efforts in uniting nationals from other countries with Nigerians through the exploration of culture.
Juan Reus, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Spain, said he was attracted to attend the expo due to the laudable exhibitions held by NCAC over the years.
According to Reus, Runsewe’s contributions to development of world cultures, through INAC, is highly commendable as the Spanish would continue to exhibit in subsequent editions of INAC.
Clara Pulido-Escandell, Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, commended Runsewe’s selfless efforts in ensuring cultural exchange programmes between the Cubans and Nigerians is constantly strengthened.
Pulido-Escandell said this is yielding fruitful results.
David Velasquez, Venezuelan Ambassador to Nigeria, said, “It is a honour showcasing our arts and crafts to the world. This is the strongest opportunity for cultural exchange and collaborations, we should uphold this.
“Otunba Runsewe has been a strong cultural pillar in Nigeria. We love his commitment toward showcasing cultures across the globe to foster understanding and we appreciate this.”
Runsewe, through his efforts over the years, continues to bag both local and International awards.
Runsewe receiving an award as China Man of the Year 2021 by the Chinese Industrial and Commercial Enterprises Association
Recently, Runsewe was given a commitment award by the Chinese Community in Nigeria, for his selfless commitment to the promotion of arts and culture between Nigeria and China.
He got the award during the Chinese 2022 Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day, which was held in Lagos.
Dr Eric Ni, Chairman, Chinese Industrial and Commercial Enterprises Association, said that the Chinese Community had enjoyed seamless cultural exchange programmes, due to the support enjoyed from NCAC and Runsewe.
Dr Matthew Uwaekwe, Co-ordinator, Nigeria-China Business Council, during the ceremony, said that Runsewe emerged the “China Man of the Year” after a voting session within the Chinese consulate.
Uwaekwe said that Runsewe had worked tirelessly to build a strong cultural tourism relationship between Nigeria and China.
He said that Runsewe had in various ways convinced the world that Nigerian culture, in its diversity, had the capacity to foster unity and peace among the people of both countries and the world.
According to him, members of the Chinese community in Nigeria are elated at the pace and passion at which Runsewe brought to bear in his assignment as Nigeria culture chief.
“Otunba Olusegun Runsewe has done well for the country. He has the vision to promote the cultural relations between China and Nigeria, and we therefore confer on him China Man of the Year Award.
“He has emerged the China Man of the Year after a voting session within the Chinese consulate, so this award is from the Chinese Community,” he said.
Similarly, Runsewe emerged the best promoter and developer of Nigerian culture, arts and crafts.
This was conferred on him by the National Associations of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) during the NANTA Eminent Persons Awards, in 2021, held in Abuja.
Mrs Susan Akporaiye, NANTA’s National President, said that NCAC under the leadership of Runsewe, deserved the award due to the fact that the council also joined in combating COVID-19 pandemic since 2020.
She said that while the frontline health workers worked tirelessly to get vaccines for COVID-19 pandemic, the council also went all out to produce local face masks and hand sanitisers, using local products within the country, as a way to help curtail the spread of the virus.
According to Akporiaye, Runsewe also repositioned NAFEST and the International Arts and Crafts Expo (INAC) such that they attract more of local and international tourists.
“Otunba Runsewe has been a pillar of support for us in the travel and tourism industries, when we need his help within the shortest time, he attends to us promptly.
“Aside this, Otunba has helped the nation to properly project and rebrand its local cultural products, which are INAC and NAFEST.
“We have seen large production of face masks and hand sanitisers since 2020, which were produced with our local materials, used to curtail the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
“These are beautiful contributions toward the promotion of culture, arts and crafts and should be appreciated,” she said.
NCAC is just one of the numerous parastatals, established by the Federal Government, with the responsibility to promote culture and tourism. When other parastatals wake up to their responsibilities, like NCAC, Nigeria will definitely be a choice destination for tourism and leisure.(NANFeatures)
*If used, please credit the writer and the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)