Under the aegis of the Centre for Esan Studies (CES), an Esan-centric Non-Governmental Organization,  The Esan Dialogue (TED) 2021 will hold its maiden edition of a cultural discourse on Wednesday March 31, 2021.

The programme, to be held virtual starting by 4pm Nigeria time will feature three brilliant minds of Esan extraction on a panel discussion to educate a great number of Esan people and other culture aficionados across the world.

A sequence of high-powered conversations, The Esan Dialogue(TED), is aimed at advancing the Esan cause through stimulating and beneficial projects and activities. In this outing, the webinar will parade three remarkable individuals, together on an intriguing panel discussion, centered on the theme: The Role of Documenting Esan Arts and Culture: for Scholars or for Everyone? The discourse is envisioned to trigger ripple effects that will culminate in birthing fresh ideas and enthusiasm on improving the  documentation of the cultural patrimony of the Esan ethnic stock and other tribes in similar situation.

Eminent speakers to dissect the theme and engage the audience in this first episode to include popular litterateurs and academics like —   Dr. Osahon Christopher Eigbike (an internationally acclaimed visiting professor), Pa Ikhide R. Ikheloa (popular literary critic, writer, essayist and polemicist) and Dr, Isi Agboaye (poet, playwright and storyteller). The panelists will share from their wealth of experience on a theme geared towards shaping and stirring people to action on matters regarding cultural preservation and documentation.

Centre for Esan Studies (CES) project coordinator, Samuel Osaze, said activities of the NGO are interventionist in nature and will go a long way in helping to reposition and restore the cultural pride of the Esan people.

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“Today, before our very eyes, the number of Esan language speakers is plummeting drastically. Many members of the older generation – and some not so old – are dying, taking invaluable cultural information with them.  The threat of extinction is present and overwhelming, prompting the agonizing question: can Esan culture really survive beyond the next fifty years without being subsumed?”

Osaze spoke further while bringing the imminence of extinction to fore and the urgent need to forestall and document in any form that can be referenced now and in the future.

Speaking about the theme, Osaze said; “the theme is inspired by the United Nations’ alarming prognosis.  It is that many indigenous languages would become extinct in the next few years.  The Esan language is estimated to have about 2.5million speakers in Nigeria.  Furthermore, this minority ethnic group is virtually sandwiched between larger groups, who often evince an expansionist and repressive agenda.  It is therefore crucial that the minority but important Esan group should be protected from geographical and cultural inroads.”

He also noted that the Centre for Esan Studies (CES) has the clear mandate to advance the cause of the ethnic minority tribe through conscientious intellectual discourse and rigorous research.

According to him, the CES aims to unearth the truth, document, rediscover, retell and refine – highlighting the cultural patrimony of the Esan people, stimulating unprecedented growth and development of Esanland. Thus, the CES has as one of its visions the creation of historical artistic and cultural reservoirs, which will serve as resource centres.  These will be replicated physically and online, providing invaluable reference materials for scholars and other culture-inclined individuals.

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