By Prisca Sam-Duru
The first Falling Walls Lab competition in Nigeria took place recently at the Consulate-General of Germany in Lagos with poetry readings and spoken word performances, setting the centre stage for an afternoon of repertoire of ideas.
The Falling Walls Lab is a commemoration of the falling of the Berlin Wall established in 2011 by the Falling Walls Foundation to support ideas and innovation from outstanding academics anywhere in the world.
First to perform was Richard Kayode. His first rendition was titled Oyinbo, an excerpt from a German anthology of poems. His second performance was titled: Behind the Walls. While Oyinbo takes a look at denotative meaning of walls especially man-made walls as well as their boomerang effects, Kayode’s Behind the Walls speaks to several challenges confronting him as a person and how he hopes to overcome them. “I am here because I am living.
Like a bridge on troubled waters, I will lay myself for you to pass…”
Mrs Darko Nanju from the University of Ibadan followed suit with a poem rendered in Hausa language titled: Fadowar Ganuwar, Tashiwan Gadoji translated to Falling Walls, Rising Bridges.
Egwuatu Peace wrapped up the poetry section with Possibilities which she performed in German. In all, the poems were laced with solutions on how to break down walls standing between humans and their develop-ment.
According to the German Consul-General, Ingo Herbert, the Falling Walls Lab Lagos was jointly carried out with support from the University of Ibadan, the German Consulate Lagos and the Nigerian arm of German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD, the first ever Falling Walls in Nigeria.
He added that the Labs are organised independently in various places across the globe, typically by or in collaboration with a scientific institution.
The competition was thrown open to interested students of any discipline from various institutions across the country. The students were judged based on their ideas, vision, and social initiatives to business models relevant to the world today.
They did a three-minute presentation of their project to the jury, which includes Professor Abel Olayinka (Chairperson), Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan; Profs Wole Soyinka and Pat Utomi; Dr Jean-Marc Ricca and others who are experts from the academia, research institutions and the business community.
At the end, out of 17 participants, Dr Agema Agatha, team leader of Sevhage Literary and Development Initiative took the first position for her presentation on Breaking the Wall of Clean Water Access. Dr Ilomuanya Margaret came 2nd with Breaking the Wall of Heterosexual HIV transmission while Mr Adebisi Adenipekun took the 3rd position with Breaking the Wall of Counterfeit Drugs in Nigeria.
They will travel to Berlin, Germany to participate in the Lab Finale, where there will be presentations from 100 other winners of other Labs across the globe. They will also attend the Falling Walls Conference, where more than 600 guests from 75 nations are expected to attend.