Ten Nigerian writers supported by the Wole Soyinka Foundation who left Nigeria for Lebanon have returned to the country.
The writers had travelled to Lebanon to participate in an exchange programme under the Study Abroad In Lebanon, SAIL project, a programme of the Cedars Institute, Notre Dame University, Lebanon, in collaboration with the Foundation.
The participants arrived the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, via an Ethiopian airline at about 12:20 p.m. on Sunday.
The participants are Oladele Faji, Khalid Imam, Salamatu Sule, Adenle Oloruntoba and Mary Aboekwe.
Others are Kassima Okani, Wole Adedoyi, Temi Soyinka, Blessing Christopher and Christian Nayamali.
Speaking with selected media platforms, including PREMIUM TIMES, at the reception lounge of the airport on Sunday, the participants recalled their experiences during the tour.
According to Ms. Aboekwe, a reverend sister, the tour was a memorable experience as it afforded participants the opportunity to explore the country.
Ms. Aboekwe noted that before the trip, she had only associated Lebanon with war but had her perception changed during the tour. She explained further that despite the war experienced by the country, its people and government have moved on.
“No society is perfect but we have so much to learn from Lebanon; they value dialogue so much, especially among people of different religions,” she said.
“Most functional universities (in Lebanon) are owned by individuals, mostly churches… Lebanon is home; a place to be,” she added.
Another participant, Mr. Oloruntoba, said Nigerians have so much to learn from Lebanon in terms of preservation of culture.
“They still teach Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart in their universities,” said Mr. Oloruntoba, a writer.
On her part, Ms. Sule, another writer, said her experience was characterised by mixed feelings because Nigeria and Lebanon share many things in common.
She explained that she was fascinated by the people’s preservation of their culture and how they embrace dialogue to settle rifts among themselves.
“We have to borrow from the template,” she added.
Many of the participants also expressed appreciation to the Wole Soyinka Foundation for its support, stressing that it must be encouraged by Nigerians to continue in its promotion of human capacity building among Nigerians.
The participants were in Lebanon for an intensive course at the Cedars Institute in Lebanon, and they also visited other places of historical importance in the country.
The first edition of the SAIL project held in August 2016.