Who we are
Eirenicon Africa presents: Africa debates Africa; the Discussion of Our Lives’ event series, a platform of ongoing presentations by, and discussions with political, business, social and intellectual leaders from across the African continent.The Eirenicon Africa event series aims to describe the locus of our lives, to present an African account of the ‘human condition’ in our 21st century. To bring into focus and generate debate on the African versions of the ‘big questions’- the fundamental, substantive and even existential questions on issues such as how to achieve industrialization, modernization. And how to fully enhance pertinent aspects of identity, citizenship and humanity. How societies address these issues is a key factor in their success, or lack of it. We assert that our current state of affairs calls for a level of engagement more evolved than concerns about how to divide citizens and divvy up spoils. We often hear the “African solutions to African problems” mantra repeated but just what are those solutions and where are they being generated and debated?
Why we exist
It is important for Africans to take ownership of what is felt, thought, and said about us in the world outside our shores and borders, and relieve singers and actors and retired politicians from outside Africa of the burden. Perceptions of Africans are formed, fed and reinforced daily in foreign capitals the world over without our contributing to or even being aware of the process. The impressions/decisions thus made are then presented to us as fait accomplis but (inevitably) do not align either with our interests or realities. The Eirenicon Africa event series will step into the breach and situate Africans squarely in that activity.
What we will do
We will collect and reflect back to the world the faces, voices and thoughts of the gathering and growing points of light from among us, the men and women committed to ensuring a different Africa and a better future, the change-agents already waiting in the wings, working quietly, the ‘new stars’ of Christopher Okigbo’s “Elegy for Alto”: “An old star departs, leaves us here on the shore, Gazing heavenward for a new star approaching; The new star appears, foreshadows its going, Before a going and coming that goes on forever…”.Across Africa citizens and their leaders agree that transformative change is needed. Through debates, panel discussions and presentations this series sets out to bring rigor and scrutiny to bear on what this change should look like, and how it will be achieved. Where are we, as people and societies, and how did we get here? But more importantly, where do we go from here, and how to get there? What are the issues, the challenges and the solutions? What holds us back while the rest of the world gets on with it?
How we will do it
We live in times where citizens, empowered and emboldened by technology and social media, demand greater levels of accountability from their governments. This series will be a platform for that two- way engagement between leaders and the led.
The ‘skin’ for our colloquy will be the issues facing many societies in Africa: high unemployment and unemployability, particularly of the young; reconciling and melding ethnic and national identities; fostering religious amity while guaranteeing freedom of religious practice and expression; achieving widened economic inclusiveness; realizing quality and equitability of economic growth even where growth rates are high; fashioning political processes to best deliver the desired ‘dividends of democracy’- a multi party system with parties having drivers of formation other than ethnicity, religion or plunder and rent-seeking, and many other discussion topics.
An emphasis of the series will be on constructive engagement, or finding solutions. We will seek to resolve the discussion into prescriptions (ideational or policy), able to be delivered to relevant stakeholders and decision-makers. Another ambition is to inform: only informed citizens can effectuate meaningful and transformative change. That of reordering and building societies that deliver fulfillment to the talents, aspirations and lives of each and every citizen.
The talks will take place in London and in other cities across Africa and Europe and North America. They will be streamed live and made available on our website and online for access across the world.
We hope you will join us as we move to provoke thought and stoke ideas into action and fulfill instead, Frantz Fanon’s dictum, ‘Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, and either fulfill or betray it’.