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  1. The First African Intellectual Conference
  2. Acceptance Speech of JCI's Award

The First African Intellectual Conference

In October 2004, The First African Intellectual Conference was convened in Republic of Senegal. The following text is a copy of Zomahoun's speech there.

The First African Intellectual Conference

Dakar, Republic of Senegal
October 2004
Zomahoun DC Rufin

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Because of limited time I would like to make only three proposals in this speech to the 53 countries of the African continent.

The first one is that we African nations should be united in deciding not to import weapons for our arms forces.

That would include not only weapons of mass destruction or WMS's but also even conventional arms.

In Japan's post war constitution, the role of their so called "Self Defense Forces" was greatly restricted and foreign military adventures or expeditionary combat related campaigns in alliance with others did not, until now, happen.

Japan's defense spending was limited to about one percent of its GNP and its self defense forces concentrate on disaster relief and humanitarian missions. Japan has a lot of typhoons and earthquakes to keep them busy and they are even available for riots or crowd control but such a situation did not yet arise.

It is interesting to note that because of Japan's modest investment in its own defense forces they were able to sell consumer goods to such cold war rivals as America and Russia who were big league military spenders.

Japan could achieve economic success by stating away from heavy military spending, and America and Russia actually fell behind Japan in certain fields because of that.

Ladies and gentlemen, here in Africa imported arms have brought nothing but misery, destruction, corruption and death to our African continent. All 53 of our African states should talk about making a ban against all western and Asian arms imports.

What are we afraid of?

Do we think the U.S.A wants to invade the republics of Benin or Uganda and overwhelm their less than 3,000 man army?

It is not Asia and the West that we are afraid of the truth is as everybody knows we are afraid of ourselves and we worry about the security of our western created borders, isn't such a situation a kind of nonsense?

Now we are gathered here to declare our unity and solidarity with each other. We should all act as one in renouncing the use of arms for resolving it is for the people outside of our continent, making a nuclear free zone should be more easier for us.

The money we can save from buying weapons from overseas would help our nation state to educate young African in some fields like agriculture, medicine, Information-Technology or it. And especially in vocational or technical skills that would be able to give jobs to our young people and develop our countries. A lot of money would be left over for improving our infrastructure, too.

The implementation of that policy would help us to avoid impoverishing, braindrain situation.

My second proposal is that each of our nation states should think about how to teach patriotism to our young people as part of their school lessons.

Even if many of our countries were artificially created they are officially independent states, — love of one's own country — are essential for any kind of progress.

The third proposal is the suggestion of how to make our dream of African union real and to safeguard our cultural identity?

We should decide upon an official continent — Wide African Language, founder president Sukarno of Indonesia gave a valuable example to all of us by choosing a minor dialect of Indonesia as the model for the new national language of Bahasa Indonesia, that language was non-controversial.

The future head of the African union should be a fluent speaker of that language which must be a genius African language.

As a practical suggestion, each of the five regions of Africa could decide upon a regional language and each nation state could decide upon its own national language, this does not mean we are abolishing our western languages which are also important.

On a related subject we should promote our own culture; we should ask our leaders to wear native clothing as the Nigerian president Obasanjo does.

Finally, we should incorporate in our national curriculums the name of great pan Africanists and their biographies the names which come to mind now are:

  1. Samory Touré
  2. El Hadj Omar
  3. Béhanzin
  4. Bio Guéra
  5. Sankara
  6. Mandela
  7. Desmond Tutu
  8. Wole Shoinka
  9. Kérékou
  10. Kofi Annan
  11. Kwame Nkruma
  12. Azikwe
  13. Cheikh Anta Diop
  14. Sékou Touré
  15. Amani Toumani Touré

(And so on)

Thank you.

Acceptance Speech of JCI's Award

Zomahoun was presented in Barcelona, Spain with an academic award (academic leadership and accomplishment) by Junior Chamber International (JCI) in November, 2001. And the following text is a copy of his acceptance speech.

PH.D Fellow

Jounior Chamber International
Speech in Barcelona
Nov 7th 2001

Ladies and Gentlemen:
Honored guests:

It is pleasure to be able to give this short speech to you today.

Many things have been said about the virtue of charity in different religions. Without the virtue of charity, all other virtues lose their supernatural value. How can it help us if we believe in God and hope in God but do not love God? If a real love of God overflows in our soul then we will be able to touch the hearts of those around us and be generous to others. Through charity, we can do the most for God, the most for our fellowmen and the most for ourselves.

The late Mother Teresa of Calcutta, India, an important religious figure, and also a formidable social-worker, said she prayed often so that she could see God in each person. Because = we are all children of God = she could not have done such great charity without her faith in God.

The chief and cofounder of Microsoft, Mr. William H Gates III, is one of a good example of a 21st century business philanthropist.

I admire Bill Gates because the Bill and Melinda Gates charitable foundation, that will soon rival the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations in size and wealth, is purchasing and distributing vaccines to prevent disease from spreading or starting among the children and adults in developing countries. how many thousands of young precious lives will be saved by that? Maybe, quite a few.

Ladies and gentlemen, honored guests, why wait until you die before you do charity? Even if you are not rich, there might be some charity that you could do.

Why not do charity new and live to see the results of it and even live to see that it is done properly and effectively?

Why do we have to die first before other people can get the benefits of our riches if we have riches?

Let's enjoy helping others now while we are here on earth.

Besides teaching our children to be charitable we must also think about how to reduce poverty in our society the essential education begins at the elementary school level because if children are not competent in reading writing and arithmetic they will become a "Lost Generation" we should teach them respect for human rights in order to make the 21st century a century of dialogue, mutual understanding peace promotion reconciliation goodwill and harmony. Let's teach our children about other people and countries too.

As for me, I would like to help build more elementary school and dig more deep water wells not only in my country of Benin or in African countries but also for other developing countries such as China (where I have stayed for 7 years) or Guatemala, as we enjoy our beer, wine, and champagne, why don't we think about helping the people in developing countries at least enjoy drinking clean water?

In order to carry out my dream, I might have to establish a foundation with the help of others. Since I am not as rich as Bill Gates!

But, even without being rich, I could do a lot with the royalty income from two of my books published in Japan in Japanese. I built three equipped elementary schools and provided them with school supplies for 1,020 students, dug three school wells and one village well and donated money to some regional and international NGOs such as Caritas International, and United Nations institutions like UNICEF.

In closing, I would like to say "Thank you and may God bless you all".

From Republic of Benin
West Africa


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