In a country where many local languages are on the brink of extinction, custodians and enthusiasts of culture and language continue to establish platforms to preserve their languages, such as Yoruba Academy for the Yoruba language, Lorewa Academy for the Hausa language, and The Igbo Conference for the Igbo language.
The Igbo conference is held annually around March or April. Now in its 10th year, its primary goal is the discovery and preservation of Igbo culture and heritage. Though specifically tailored for Igbo people in the UK, this year it is accessible online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Igbo Conference is done in collaboration with the Centre for African Studies, SOAS, University of London. According to the website, it “aims to promote the study of Igbo language and culture within the UK, and seeks to bring academics and members of the Igbo community together for the purpose of knowledge sharing and exchange.”
It is convened by Yvonne Mbanefor and Louisa Egbunike, with the long-term goal of establishing an Igbo Centre in London. The centre will serve as a resource for people intending to carry out research into Igbo history. It would comprise a study space, archives, and a library.
The Igbo conference exists to create a space for cultural exchange that would eventually lead to advancing the language in the diaspora. The three-day conference consists of panels, cultural performances, and workshops.
This year’s conference is themed “A New Dawn: Rebirth, Renewal, Regeneration.” It will run from 8 April to 10 April. Speakers include Obi Asika, Dike Chukwumerije, Chuma Nwokolo, John Mozie, Akachi Ezeigbo, Gersy Ejimofo, and Obi Nwakanma.