Eritrean UK festival a big success

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The British Eritrean Festival UK 2015, which took place on July 25 and 26 at Lee Valley in the Royal Borough of Enfield concluded its 15th Annual British Eritrean Festival UK 2015.

This year the Eritrean Festival UK 2015 unlike its previous 14 years of festivities had more to offer and did much with extreme zeal. The festival’s theme for 2015 was “Development through Resilience” and it couldn’t come at the most important juncture of the Eritreans, great historical cultural significance to Eritreans and friends of Eritrea. The festival showcased Eritrea’s Socio – Economic, Cultural & Traditional values.

The British Eritrean Festival UK core values being to promote Harmony, Consolidation of Eritrean Unity, Strengthening Eritrea’s Cultural & Identity, promoting a higher mobilisation and organization development of Eritrea, African capacity & ingenuity in addition to recreational activities.

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The Festival opening ceremony was presided by a distinguished Guest of Honour H.E Yemane Gebreab, Head of the Political Affairs of PFDJ  & H.E Estifanos Habtemariam Ambassador of the State of Eritrea to  United Kingdom, H.E. Hanna Simon, Ambassador of Eritrea to France, Rt Hon Stephen Timms – MP for East Ham, Councillor Erkan Hurer,  representative of various organisation,  community elders & religious leaders.

The colourful Festival in London at Lee Valley Edmonton, a magnificent tent arena, that would house the bus-loads that came from Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool, Sheffield, Nottingham, Coventry and Newcastle.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the chairman of the British Eritrean Community Organisation Network BECON, Mr Ahmed Mohammed Mamoud stressed the paramount importance of holding festivals in bringing Eritrean nationals together. It also has a vital role to play in reinforcing identity and bequeathing cherished societal values to future generations, he added.

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Eritrean Ambassador of the State of Eritrea to  UK  H.E. Estifanos Habtemariam also gave a welcoming speech, thanking the participants in taking part on the celebration of the 15th Eritrean Festival UK, there by updating the participants on current state of affairs. The guest speakers included Councilor Erkan Hurer, Abdurahaman Mahdi, Foreign Secretary of ONLF and Dr.Tadesse Biru.

Mr. Abdurahman Mahdi  said on his speech;-  There is only one independent government in the Horn of Africa that has the vision and leadership quality to help bring such an idea.

Amongst the highs of the opening ceremony were the cultural performances by the traditional artists of Eritrea, Ogaden, Zimbabwe,  which captivated the audience from each corner of the festival ground. Each and every face was filled with pride whilst the cultural group displayed a performance that was original overpowering the host culture. An exhibition that depicts the Eritrean culture and current developments in Eritrea was also opened for the public. The exhibition also included paintings, photos and craft works from the diverse Eritrean culture and rich history, which depicted the exceptional history of the Liberation struggle in Eritrea.

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After the opening ceremony and remarks by distinguished honorary guest, the festival goers were witnesses to a much anticipated seminars, Africa Youth Symposium, panellist  from South Africa, Rwanda, Sudan, Ogaden, Gambella and Eritrea. Followed by a presentation by H.E Ambassador Hanna Simon of the State of Eritrea to France on the subject of “Intergenerational Dialogue for Upholding Legacy of Eritrean Women’s Movement Pre & Post independence”.

The seminars where attended by lots of festival goers who also had to many questions to ask during the question and answer session at the end of the presentation all this happening on the back drop of lots of other recreational activities that were happening such as the Football and bike racing games that took place, in which the A – Team from Hadnet Eritrean Community of Manchester UK seen them defeat Birmingham Eritrean community FC at the finals and clinch the Cup to Victory.

In a seminar he conducted with the participants of the festival H.E.Yemane Ghebreab, Head of the Political Affairs of PFDJ, explained that the Eritrean government is making enormous investment with major focus on the rural area with a view to ensuring social justice and sustainable economic development, and that increased endeavours would be exerted to give added momentum to the nation’s development process. He further pointed out that the country is in a stage where its bright future is becoming progressively evident thanks to the spirit of steadfastness among citizens inside the country and abroad in foiling anti-Eritrean agendas.

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The Festival was organized across seven programs, which were children’s activities, family & community activities, arts & culture program, youth forums & ideas, sports competition. Thus, the main thrust of the program was focus on the activities of children, youth, families and communities in general. The above efforts have been very instrumental in consolidating national unity, national mobilization and organization, cultural transformation and the transfer of the values as cultural heritage to the next generation has thus been crucial in the independence of the nation,

Another unforgettable moment of the event was the music performance that sent the crowd wild which witnessed the high level of patriotism with a wave of the colourful Eritrean flag dominating the sight of every participant.

The closing ceremony was a colourful combination which created a nice view which prompted any viewer to stay tuned, that left the crowd wowed and asking for more.

London 27th July 2015
Festival Task Force

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