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Events highlight the Cote d’Ivoire of today

The Cote d’Ivoire of today is being presented during the Month of Cote d’Ivoire event at the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s Global Plaza in Tokyo through Feb. 10.

Organized by the Embassy of Cote d’Ivoire, the exhibition introduces the country’s history, culture and its people’s lives through displays, folk crafts and ethnic costumes. Also, through Feb. 1, traditional Ivorian food is available at the venue’s cafe.

Three seminars focusing on the West African nation’s bilateral cooperation, diplomacy and business took place recently, attracting capacity crowds to the venue’s conference room.

During the seminar on diplomacy, Ivorian Ambassador Jerome Kloh Weya gave a lecture titled “The constants of the Ivorian diplomacy,” looking back on the country’s history since its independence in 1960, also mentioning the recent political crisis. Weya focused on two aspects of the country’s foreign policy: the openness of Cote d’Ivoire to the outside world and the search for peace through dialogue. These were inspired and conceived by the country’s first president, Felix Houphouet-Boigny, and is being further promoted today by Alassane Ouattara, who became president in 2010

Asked whether the search for peace through dialogue has limitations, such as in the Algerian hostage crisis in Northern Africa, Weya said that there may be times when dialogue is not helpful in responding to such armed groups, but emphasized “it’s important to have dialogue for two states in a conflict in order to avoid war.”

Emmanuel Kalou, principal private secretary to the state minister and minister of foreign affairs of Cote d’Ivoire, expressed his sincere condolences to the Japanese victims of the Algerian hostage incident. He added that Cote d’Ivoire is expecting a lot from Japan, which is a model of success for the country.

“I hope one day we will be able to build win-win relations with our investor countries,” Kalou said.

The exhibition is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Saturdays and Sundays until 6 p.m.) through Feb. 10 at JICA Global Plaza in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo. Admission is free. There will be a closing ceremony featuring Ivorian food on Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free, but prior applications are required. For more information call (0120) 767278 or visit www.jica.go.jp/hiroba .