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Africa Day 2015 to Celebrate Partnership between Ireland and Africa

Diplomatic Relations, International relations, Irish Aid, Minister Charles Flanagan, MoS Sean Sherlock, Press Releases, Africa, Ireland, 2015

Africa Day 2015 to Celebrate Partnership between Ireland and Africa

The annual celebration of Africa’s unity takes place right around the globe, and here in Ireland, Irish Aid is the driving force behind celebrations which aim to celebrate African culture and community. A nationwide programme of events will take place to mark Africa Day 2015 throughout the week leading up to 25th May 2015.

The main event will be a family festival in the grounds of Farmleigh Estate in Dublin’s Phoenix Park on Sunday, 24th May. Regional events will take place during the week around the country, in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.

Launching the programme, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, stated:

“2015 is the European Year for Development, aimed at demonstrating Europe's commitment to eradicating poverty worldwide and inspiring more Europeans to get engaged and involved in development.

“Our annual Africa Day celebrations in Ireland present an ideal opportunity to show how Ireland’s commitment to international development has helped to forge strong links between our country and a wide range of African nations. The celebrations also showcase the important contribution made by the African diaspora in Ireland – to our economy, our society and our evolving culture.”

The Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion and North-South Co-operation, Sean Sherlock, TD, stated:

“Ireland is one of the few countries around the world to celebrate Africa Day in such a public way and Irish Aid is delighted to continue to commemorate the anniversary of Africa’s unity.

“This year, we are once again holding a flagship family day in Farmleigh in Dublin, as well as partnering with city councils around the country, including Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford. As in previous years, we hope that thousands of people will turn out to experience the culture and traditions of Africa at events during Africa week. It’s a fantastic opportunity for African and Irish people to experience each other’s cultures, and the 2015 programme of events is just as exciting and appealing as in previous years.”

The programme of Africa Day events in Ireland is coordinated and supported by Irish Aid at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. In addition to celebrating African unity during Africa Day, Irish Aid aims to increase public awareness of Ireland’s overseas development programme, which is strongly focused on sub-Saharan Africa.

The Africa Day events planned for 2015 will see free public performances by well-known African and Irish musicians; children’s entertainment; intergenerational education projects; film screenings; art exhibitions; traditional African drumming and dance workshops; and public seminars.

Dublin

The national flagship event for Africa Day will take place from 11am to 6pm on Sunday, 24th May, in the grounds of Farmleigh Estate in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. This will be a family-focused event, and will be free of charge to attend. Highlights will include:

Regional Events

In Cork, the City Council, in partnership with African communities, is organising a range of Africa Day events. On Saturday, 16th May, the Lord Mayor will launch Africa Day at an event with African music and dance, which will take place in the public plaza outside the Central Library in Cork. On the same day, an integrated soccer tournament will start at 10am at The Glen Resource Centre with eight teams participating from a range of nationalities. An evening of films by African directors will take place in St. John’s College from 6pm on Wednesday, 20th and Thursday, 21st May. Finally, Africa Day will be celebrated on Saturday, 23rd May, with a parade featuring musicians and dancers from African countries, along with a marching band and céilí dancers. Commencing on Patrick’s Street, the parade will make its way through Winthrop Street and Oliver Plunkett Street, culminating in an outdoor event in Bishop Lucey Park. This free event will take place from 1pm to 6pm with a strong focus on music, dance and celebration.

In Limerick, a week-long programme of events is being organised by Limerick City & County Council and DORAS Luimni, with the support of the local African community. On Tuesday, 26th May, the University of Limerick will host an Ethiopian modern dance performance. A family fun day will take place on Sunday, 31st May at the Milk Market on Mungret Street, featuring music, dance, song, a fashion show and a range of activities for all ages. Additionally, there will be an interactive seminar on development and trade as well as African drumming workshops, art workshops and storytelling.

Galway, meanwhile, will celebrate the 8th Annual African Film Festival in the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at NUI Galway from 22nd to 24th May and will screen a number of shorts, feature films, and documentaries. Galway City Partnership will also provide educational school initiatives to coincide with Africa Day. The ARD Family Resource Centre will run an Africa Day event on Saturday, 23rd May at Doughiska, showcasing art, dance, music, poetry and food from a range of African countries. Africa Day Doughiska aims to celebrate the rich diversity of African culture in the Doughiska area on the East side of Galway city, where approximately 20% of the Doughiska Roscam and Ardaun population are of African descent according to the last Census.

Africa Day activities in Waterford will have a strong focus on local schools. The City Council is working with the Waterford One World Centre to hold a four-day celebration in honour of Africa Day 2015. Events will be held in Dungarvan; Tramore, Co. Waterford; and in Waterford City. An education programme for primary-school pupils featuring a film and workshops addressing human rights, environmental issues and positive images of Africa will take place on 18th May in Dungarvan; 19th May in Tramore; and on 20th and 21st May in Waterford City. There will also be a free public screening of the film ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ on the evening of 21st May at the Garter Lane Arts Centre, which will be preceded by an outdoor reception featuring performances from the Waterford African Drummers and African Gospel Choir.

For further information on Africa Day, visit: www.africaday.ie.

ENDS

Contact: Martina Quinn / Sebastian Enke, DHR Communications, Tel: 01-4200580 / 087-6522033 / 087-3239496 or Ross Church, Irish Aid on 087 243 8291 / 01 408 2058

Note for Editors:

Africa Day, which falls on 25th May annually, is the official day of the African Union and marks African unity. In Ireland, events to mark Africa Day celebrate African diversity and the cultural and economic potential of the continent, in addition to raising awareness of the development challenges that remain and the progress that is being achieved.

· Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas development. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Further information is available at www.irishaid.ie.

· Check out Africa Day on social media: follow us on Twitter @AfricaDay, use the hashtag #AfricaDay2015 and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/africadayireland.