Our Nation - Our Culture, Honourable Manasseh Damukana Sogavare, MP

It is an honour and pleasure to be invited to share my thoughts for this Commemorative Brochure celebrating the Special Cultural Night which the Don Bosco Technical Institute hosts on Thursday 21st July 2016. The theme for this Cultural Night - OUR CULTURE, OUR NATION is a subject that is so relevant to the 38th Independence Anniversary underlying theme - EMBRACING PEACE FOR NATION BUILDING – which the Government and People celebrated on 7th July 2016. The three ideas – Culture, Peace and Nation – are intrinsically linked, and each one is an important pre-requisite for the successful existence of the other. Each idea shapes the other and vice-versa, such that a nation gets its character from its culture, but there has to be peace if the nation is to prosper. The important factor which connects the three ideas is PEOPLE. It is People who make up a Nation, and it is the Peoples’ Culture which shapes a nation’s character, including whether or not the People are peace-loving or not. Two weeks ago the Government organized a week-long program which featured peace-making ceremonies between former combatants of opposing groups, their victims, and between the rivals and the communities harmed by their activities one way or the other. The activities culminated in Cultural Expressions of Apology, by the government, former combatants and victims of the ethnic conflict. The way peace-building was demonstrated through cultural ceremonies from the different island cultures, was solemn, meaningful, and very moving indeed. We witnessed how culture is used effectively to resolve differences peacefully and sincerely, free people of their guilt, and boost their temperament to work together in unity for the sake of building Solomon Islands nation. It is most gratifying, in this regard, to see Don Bosco Technical Institute showing keen interest in supporting such cultural events for students, staff and parents. By organizing such an event the Institute is moulding Bosconians into proud, humble and responsible citizens. So, when students perform your dances and songs, you are highlighting your cultural background as someone from Malaita Province, or from Isabel, Temotu, West, or Guadalcanal. And you should all be proud of this, because you are telling everyone else, including our visiting students from Germany and other countries, that we are a Nation of diverse cultures. But don’t also forget, when you perform your cultural items you are also promoting all of us collectively as Solomon Islanders. In that way you are promoting the Nation – Solomon Islands too. The cultural event is a time to remind ourselves that our culture is what makes us Solomon Islanders, the backbone of our multi-cultural identity. It is important that we show-case this very important national characteristics – because it is the very backdrop to our national identity as Solomon Islanders, and our common goal to build a peaceful and prosperous Nation. This Special Commemorative Brochure celebrates the multi-cultural identity we share and recognizes the role it plays in promoting peace for the sake of nation-building. May you all celebrate with joy, peace and unity! Honourable Manasseh Damukana Sogavare, MP Prime Minister