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Juabenhene courts America for cultural exchange

BY: Kwame Asare Boadu
Otumfuo chatting with some of the guests at the dinner
Otumfuo chatting with some of the guests at the dinner

The Juabenhene, Nana Otuo Siriboe II, has advocated a cultural exchange programme between Ghana and the United States of America (USA) anchored on mutual respect.

He said as the world progressively became interconnected such a cultural exchange programme would bring infinite benefits to the two countries.

Nana Siriboe, who is also the Chairman of the Council of State, made the call at a dinner held in honour of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, last Wednesday as part of the ongoing 44th Memphis in May International Festival in the USA, which is being held in honour of Ghana.

Speaking on behalf of the Asantehene, the Juabenhene said there was wisdom and value in each other's culture and tradition, and, therefore, urged the USA to see Ghana as the best destination in Africa for cultural exchange programmes.

He said cultural festivals in Ghana, for instance, provided a platform for Americans, especially African Americans, to explore on a win-win basis.

Welcome Dinner, honour

Dubbed: "Ghana Welcome Dinner," the event, held at the Rendezvous Restaurant in Memphis, attracted a cross-section of the Memphis community, business leaders from Ghana and the United States, political leaders and members of the Ghana Community in the USA.

The Ghana Dance Company treated the gathering to some beautiful performances laced with appellations which got the Asantehene, who was dressed in a dark blue kaftan, nodding intermittently.

Nana Siriboe II said Asanteman and Ghana were honoured by the invitation to the festival, which is christened, "Salute to the Republic of Ghana."

"It has been a wonderful treat and we are happy about what has gone on so far," he stated.

The Return

Zooming into the 'Year of Return' and the 'Beyond the Return', Nana Siriboe II said the twin initiatives by the government called for a buy-in from Africans in the diaspora.

"The Year of Return, launched by the Ghana government in 2019, and the Beyond the Return, which President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo launched earlier this year in London, are all meant to mobilise Africans in the diaspora, and for that matter the white community, to come and see what is worth in our culture and tradition, and to expose Ghana to the world, " he explained.

Diversity

Welcoming the Asanteman delegation to the city, the Mayor of Memphis, Jim Strickland, said the city was proud to host the Asantehene at the festival.

He noted that the Asantehene’s aura of grace at had brought to the festival would forever be cherished, emphasising that Memphis city was equally excited about the festival honouring Ghana.

"We have incredible diversity here in Memphis and we embrace all, " he added.

The Mayor of Shelby County, Lee Harris, who was also present, said Ghana had a rich culture which the country must be proud of.