By Chris Ezeh – Publisher EuroAfrica News Online
The co-ordinator of the International Cultural Youth Exchange Programme in Nigeria, Mr Adeolu Onamade who is on an official visit to Europe has criticised the unfair, image-damaging reports on African nations particularly Nigeria in the western countries. Mr Onamade who has also visited the International office in Berlin Germany hopes to use the opportunity for adequate information exchange in order to improve the image of the organization in Nigeria and to shade more light on pressing problems of the ICYE Nigeria.
Talking to the EuroAfricanCentral.com CEO – Mr Chris Ezeh who is also an ex-exchangee from the 1990/91 ICYE Programme Germany, Mr. Onamade decried image blasphemy as the greatest anti-developmental impediment to the smooth running of the activities of the programme in Nigeria. “As at this moment, the foreign missions and embassies in Nigeria are not helping us by telling blood-cuddling stories about African countries to their citizens who wish to visit African countries.
A very good example of the misinterpretation of incidents in the third World by the embassies was the role they played in passing over information to their home press during the last beauty contest fracas in Nigeria. Through misinformation, that the entire country was unsafe three exchangees consequently dropped from participation in the programme”
History of the ICYE/ What is ICYE?
The International Cultural Youth Exchange (ICYE) formerly known as The International Christian Youth Exchange Programme is an international non-profit youth exchange organisation promoting youth mobility, intercultural learning and international voluntary service.
ICYE originated in 1949 as the International Christian Youth Exchange, a post-World War II reconciliation exchange programme between Germany and the United States of America. Ever since more and more countries have joined the programme. ICYE is open to all persons who subscribe to the stated aims and purposes regardless of their religious affiliation.
Aims and Objectives of the ICYE
- To provide challenging intercultural learning experiences for young people.
- To promote their social and personal development through international volunteer programmes.
- To promote intercultural understanding, equality of opportunity, tolerance and peace among people in the world
“You will all agree with me that many countries of the world today have religious problems resulting from terrorist fanaticism among other reasons, but why must the African countries receive a different negatively pronounced report about such civil disturbances from the western media? This situation is worsening and hampering our job at the Nigerian ICYE office “
Continuing, he cited the example of the collapse of a building in Lagos last year, which was blown up within hours in the western media as if this is the first time, such a thing is happening in the world. He noted that the people who work at the embassies do not have contact with the local people and when this exists, they do not have first class information of the countries they are representing.
The other problem as he puts it is “The Nigerian against Nigeria whereby many Nigerians in Europe are not helping the image portrait of their country. This according to the co-ordinator could be attributed to the fact that many of these people have found their ways to Europe on the quest for mere to survive”. Mr Adeolu Onamade advised “that people should remember that there was a time Europe was like Nigeria or most African countries and the European found solutions to their problems by facing it and not by running away from it”
Historically, we must recall that since inception, the lives of thousands of people have been forever transformed by the ICYE exchange programme. Building bridges of peace, justice, and understanding through personal encounters has been our goal throughout the past 50 years. ICYE is one of the most experienced, personal and flexible programmes in the field of youth mobility and youth exchange. Our programmes have been constantly revised and modified to reflect changes in society at a local, national and global level.
Today, the ICYE Federation is an international independent non-profit organisation with 35 Member Committees in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Latin America. Its headquarters are in Berlin, Germany. ICYE has consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, maintains operational relations with UNESCO, co-operates with the European Commission, collaborates with the World Council of Churches, and is a member of the Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS).