Greetings at The Nigerian Women Association of Trinidad and Tobago 10th Anniversary Dinner

Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby- Dolly

Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts

I am so very honoured to join you at this thanksgiving and award ceremony, as we celebrate the excellence of these dynamic young people, who have by their scholarship proven that they can go the distance.

I find your theme for tonight’s ceremony very inspirational for us as women. In our daily lives we go the distance for our families, our communities and by extension our countries. We have an intimate understanding of what it means to go the distance – as any woman who has given birth would tell you that the final trimester is the longest and most arduous. But you are fully aware that growing within you is the future and therefore as hard as it might be, you willingly go the distance. It is through our understanding of the pains of transition and the subsequent joy of persevering to the end that we can entrust our children with the values of hard work and tenacity that will serve them well when they birth the next generation.

Your association is part of an every increasing global trend of women embracing more positions of leadership, which redound to the benefit of all. As stated so eloquently by African scholar Dr. James Kwegyir-Aggrey – “ if you educate a man you educate on individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family (nation)”.

You have so much to teach us here in Trinidad and Tobago about Nigeria, as so many of our citizens while they can trace their linage to West Africa, know only part of the rich historical, cultural and social norms of our ancestors. Many of us do not know the history of the nations we come from, our love for certain foods, and the roots of our language.

Through continued dialogue with organisations like yours we can work together to fill in the missing pieces of our cultural jigsaw puzzle.

As the Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, I am always heartened by groups who willingly give of their time and energy to inspire, teach and promote cultural exchanges to the benefit of others. As you share your culture through, culinary skills, garment construction design and beautiful head wraps you will inspire a young designer, or chef to create a unique fusion that would form part of our cultural landscape.

Thank you for sharing the last ten years with us.

Let us all keep “going the distance”.

Again thank you.