On October 18 and 19, 2017, the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Foundation for Peace Research (FHB Foundation) revived the memory of President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, the founder of modern Côte d’Ivoire, through a series of events both in Abidjan and Yamoussoukro, marking the anniversary of his birth; October 18, 1905. These events were called “Commemorative Days of the Birth of President Félix Houphouët-Boigny” and were furnished for two days by:
- a mass of thanksgiving and a public lecture on the first day in Abidjan
- and the screening of an excerpt from an animated film and the inauguration of the institution’s bookstore at its headquarters in Yamoussoukro on the second day.
The main purpose of all these activities was to make the immensity of the human dimension known to current generations, especially those who did not know it, and to perpetuate its impact both nationally and internationally and to share the values. they cultivated such as love, peace, dialogue and work.
The Mass of Thanksgiving in honor of the “Apostle of Peace” took place on the morning of October 18, 2017 at the parish of Saint Jean de Cocody in the presence of the President of the Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP) and the Democratic Party of Côte d’Ivoire (PDCI), HE. Henri Konan Bédié, also sponsor of these days. At his side was the Vice President of the Republic, HE. Daniel Kablan Duncan, Mrs. Henriette Dagri Diabaté, Grand Chancellor of the National Order representing the President of the Republic, ministers from the RHDP, personalities of all ranks and a large public. The parish priest of this parish, Fr. Hippolyte Agnigori has meant that we can not claim to be disciples of the first Ivorian President without seeking God and being guided by his own feelings. For him, this great man has, throughout his life, posed actions of faith, such as peace and love of neighbor, which are essential exhortations in the word of God.
On the same day, a public conference was held in the early evening at the IVOTEL Hotel in Plateau on the theme: “Democratic process in Africa: issues and perspectives”. She was led by Professor Sébastien Lath Yedoh. The purpose of this meeting was to explore avenues for reflection on the works of peace and democracy of the “father of the Ivorian nation”. For the speaker, the democratic process in Africa has long been marked by constitutional, social, political and economic constraints. However, he stressed that there is a constitutional movement that is beginning to emerge and the establishment of new institutions in several African countries.
At this conference, the President of the RHDP was represented by Mr. Sery Bi N’Guessan who delivered a strong message to the Ivorians. “Let us recapture ourselves on the basis of the values advocated by Félix Houphouët-Boigny, tools of exercise of power, democratic tools for our Côte d’Ivoire to regain its former glory. We hope that all Ivorians will get around these values for the construction of this nation for which he has given all his life, “he said in substance.
As for Professor Jean-Noel Loucou, Secretary General of the FHB Foundation, he pointed out in his remarks the three essential images that should not be altered in Côte d’Ivoire in these terms: “Félix Houphouët-Boigny, cocoa which has made Côte d’Ivoire its first world producer and the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace Yamoussoukro. We can say that everything comes down to him in this country”.
At the end of the speaker’s presentation, exchanges with the audience led to a number of reflections and projections on the future of democracy in Côte d’Ivoire.
The second day took place on October 19, 2017 in Yamoussoukro at the headquarters of the FHB Foundation and recorded the effective presence of the Minister of Culture and Francophonie, Mr. Maurice Kouakou Bandaman. On these sides, there was also the representative of the President of the National Assembly, Mrs. Célestine Trazéré, that of the President of the Economic, Social, Environmental and Cultural Council, Mr. Maxime Yao, the 1st Vice-Governor of the District of Yamoussoukro Mrs. Massara Toure, Mr. Arnaud Kouadio Secretary General of Yamoussoukro Prefecture, Mrs. Katherine Brucker, Chargé d’Affaires of the United States Embassy in Côte d’Ivoire, Administrative and Customary Authorities of the Political Capital and many actors of the Ivorian cultural world.
At first, there was the exclusive screening of the animated film “Dia Houphouët” produced by Afrikatoon’s production structure and which traces the childhood of the “Sage of Africa”. A hundred students from different primary schools in Yamoussoukro attended this screening.
Subsequently, the series of speeches was opened by Pr Jean-Noël Loucou who indicated that the bookstore of the Foundation is not only a place of sale of books but also a cultural space which will make it possible to learn about the news, the evolution of knowledge that promotes the enrichment of culture or the satisfaction of intellectual curiosity. Also, he reminded that it is a specialized bookstore that will offer essays, general and particular books, summaries, beautiful books on Côte d’Ivoire, Africa and the World. For him, this platform of proximity will bring books to readers to ensure that the culture is not limited to Abidjan, to prevent the interior of the country becomes an “intellectual desert”.
Before the cut of the ribbon, Mr. Maurice Bandaman, as a man of culture, especially highlighted the main theme of these days in these terms: “Felix Houphouet-Boigny is a light. This light always shines in the heart of the Ivorians. “Ivory Coast is his work. And our memory is first of all him. And it is up to us to trace this memory so as not to lose it, ” he concluded.
It must be remembered that Mrs. Katherine Brucker offered many books to the FHB Foundation, on behalf of the United States Embassy in Côte d’Ivoire, to enrich the brand new bookstore. This gesture was highly appreciated and welcomed by all the audience. In return, the first person in charge of the FHB Foundation expressed to him his sincere gratitude for this donation and in return offered published works and gadgets produced by the institution he runs.
This inauguration ceremony was materialized by the traditional ribbon cutting officially giving access to the library of the FHB Foundation by the Minister of Culture and Francophonie assisted by the personalities present. It ended with the visit of this new space.