The Lebanese Ambassador to Ghana and President of the Francophone Ambassadors Group, H.E Mr. Maher Kheir has organized a colourful poetry night dubbed “Gardens of Light” in a bid to celebrate the cultural heritage of countries within the Francophone community in Ghana, especially Lebanese Francophone culture.
The ceremony which forms part of this year’s Francophonie week celebration which brought together the heads of various Francophone Embassies in Ghana such as the Lebanese Ambassador H.E Mr. Maher Kheir, Ambassador of France H.E Anne Sophie Avé, the High Commissioner of Canada H.E Kati Csaba as well as representatives from the Embassies of Morocco, Congo, Egypt among others.
To strengthen the message of stronger partnerships, the Ambassadors of Lebanon, France, Canada, Morocco, Congo and Egypt performed poems from their respective countries together.
The event highlighted the important role that poets within the Francophone world played in achieving enlightenment to society as well as how French language could be used to promote cultural, social, and economic cooperation between all member countries.
It brought together schools whose curriculum is based on the French language. Every school presented an artisitc display of French poems by famous Francophone poets such as Léopold Sédar Senghor from Senegal, Ahmadou Kourouma from Côte d'Ivoire, and Amine Maalouf, Salah Stétié, Vénus Khoury - Ghata, Nadia Tueni and Maher Kheir from Lebanon.
The International Day of la Francophonie was celebrated from March 17-20 this year with several activities designed to better integrate member nations as well as develop partnerships with the francophone communities.
In Ghana, the Francophone Embassies together with Alliance Française organised various events during the period to celebrate cultural and linguistic diversity.
The week-long event was characterised by a poetry night, concerts, film screenings, job application workshops, meet-up with authors, and children’s performance.
The event also featured the Lebanese Ambassador H.E Mr. Maher Kheir who performed a collection of his creative poetry using the artistic elements of images, lights, music and choreography to communicate his message of tolerance, love and peace.
Lebanese Ambassador H.E Mr Kheir believes that poetry is a powerful tool to advance social transformation adding that French is a language of openness to the world which allows you to discover new cultures. This combination in his opinion is an unbreakable force to bring people and cultures closer for growth.
In his delivery, Mr. Kheir noted that what the world needed today was a culture of dialogue, tolerance and peace instead of hate and war.
Being the first of its kind in Ghana, he urged the participants especially the Francophone community to be ambassadors of change wherever they find themselves to achieve greater inclusion and harmony.
He commended Ghana under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo for their exemplary commitment to the Francophone Community as part of efforts to realize this harmony.
He noted that “it is therefore not surprising that Ghana, an Anglophone nation, is one of the few countries that is a member of the Commonwealth and of the Francophonie.”
Ghana has, since 2006, had the status of associate member within the International Organisation of Francophonie (IOF).
This year’s Francophonie festival is the 52nd anniversary of the formation of the The International Organistion of the Francophonie (OIF).
H.E Mr. Maher Kheir is a Lebanese poet and diplomat. He traveled to France, where he lived for a period of time. He studied languages and literature and graduated from its universities, founded a poetry forum and worked in the media.
Later, by virtue of his diplomatic work, he moved between the capitals of some major countries. He presented many poetry evenings in innovative performances using sound, light, choreography, music and image, especially at the theatres of Paris, Cairo, Canberra and the Sydney Opera House.
He is considered as the pioneer of theatrical poetry. He was also the first poet who turned his poetry into short movies.
He has participated in international festivals and for all his poetic works, he won the Shield of the International Video Clip Oscar Festival in Egypt.