By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK UNAM, Helsinki University of Arts and Design and the Nokia Corporation last Wednesday signed a formal agreement of intended collaboration in the capital, an important tertiary educational development. “An event such as this signing brings not only institutions closer together, but also the countries and peoples these institutions represent,” said the Vice-Chancellor of UNAM, Professor Lazarus Hangula, in welcoming the guests to the campus. Representatives of the Polytechnic of Namibia and the Finnish Embassy in Windhoek also attended the signing ceremony. “Today’s event opens a window of opportunity for cultural exchange that will not only enrich UNAM’s creativity, but also diffuse cultural expression across our two countries and continents. I want to assure our partners that UNAM will be a reliable partner in this venture, a building block in the edifice of friendship between Namibia and Finland,” said Professor Hangula. The intention for the programme is to foster mutual knowledge and education in the field of visual culture, art and design for which Namibia has been selected as the country in which to base the collaboration that will eventually target much of Africa. “The collaboration will begin with the introduction of the Nokia “Only Planet” programme in Namibia, a design research programme which explores the world of young people in various countries with the aim of gaining insight into daily experiences, society and trends in different global cultures next year,” said a statement by the organizers of the event. “The Finnish Embassy welcomes this tripartite agreement in view of the fact that we already support several institutionalized as well as civil society cultural activities in Namibia. I wish to express the hope that this pending agreement will have a positive influence on cultural development in Namibia,” said the chargÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â© d’affaires of the Finnish Embassy, Seija Kinni-Huttunen. The head of the Visual Arts Department at UNAM, Professor Hercules Viljoen, was very optimistic about the programme. “We are excited about the possibilities offered by these two agreements for both students and staff as well as the wider design community in Namibia. We look forward to a fruitful and mutual enriching relationship with all parties involved in the project,” Viljoen said.
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