By Nwachukwu Joshua
Today starts off the 46th International University Forum in Rome, which will span to the 31st of March. The topic of this UNIV is Reality Check, Discovering human identity in a digital world.
UNIV, an event which began in 1968, is a yearly international gathering, of thousands of university students, who spend Holy Week in Rome, profiting from the cultural and historical riches that the Eternal City has to offer.
Throughout the week, the Institute for University Cooperation (ICU) – the sponsors – provides students with various cultural encounters, conferences, roundtables, showrooms and concerts. All of these activities are occasions to delve more deeply into important matters relevant to the university, highlighting particularly the spirit of service towards those who are most in need.
For the past four decades, scores of students and professors have expanded their cultural horizons through their contact with the international environment.
Realizing its importance to the development of the youths and invariably the nation, ECS – Educational co-operative society, a non-governmental organization, has taken the responsibility of organizing a similar event for Nigerians in Nigeria, since many Nigerian students are generally not disposed to attend the conference in Europe due to financial constraints. This conference has been termed; Pre-Univ.
On the 9th day of March 2013, students from the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) and Enugu State University (ESUT) were gathered at Iwollo conference Centre, for this Pre-Univ. In the conference – which had in attendance, Prof Attamah of Pharmacy and Prof Agbakoba of philosophy both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), – issues such as realistic discourses and utopian discourses about human rights, internet and social networks as a way of fleeing boredom or exhaustion, the art of creating spaces for human use and satisfaction back to reality and five other topics were discussed.
The main idea of the conference was to challenge students who were both the presenters and audience, to think in an interdisciplinary fashion about how we can preserve time and space of human dimensions in which people can put down roots, and from which they can build human worlds in all fields of social life: in the economy, in architecture, in education, in entertainment, in communications, in politics, in law.
This need is more urgent than ever considering the fact that society appears to dissolve ever more into an overwhelming choice of possibilities; we need to rediscover its origins, the reality that is our home and that we can never renounce.
This rare act by these university students is a blow to those who call Africa and particularly Nigeria not only a Third World but also a dark country because Nigerians are not only lazy but are not thinking, as a result we are sluggishly slothful, sleepy, dreamy, torpid, lethargic, totally penniless and greatly improvised.
Through this, the students -the future leaders of tomorrow- are showing that they have conducted a reality check and are ready, to do something. Meaning that with proper education and formation, the light which seems to be flickering under the tunnel would be that of hope.
We in Nigeria have had our deliberations and conclusions with the hope to give life to them. We wish our fellow students, who will be participating in the UNIV, a successful and fruitful deliberation and educative process.
More information, recommended reading and possible study themes visit http://www.univforum.org