Agenzia Fides report - “Culture, Identity of Peoples, and Development in Africa and in the Black Diaspora.” This is the theme of a Forum being promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture, in collaboration with the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which will take place in March 2011 in Abidjan, in Ivory Coast.A preparatory meeting for the Forum will be held September 27 to October 1 at the Pastoral Missionary Center of RECOWA-CERAO (Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa) in Abidjan. Msgr. Barthélemy Adoukonou, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Father Theodore Mascarenhas, head of the Department for Cultures of Emerging Countries, will represent the Pontifical Council for Culture. Fr. Massimo Cenci, PIME, Under-Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples will represent his Dicastery. The meeting will also be attended by Archbishop Ambroise Madtha, Apostolic Nuncio to Ivory Coast, Cardinal Theodore-Adrien Saar, President of RECOWA-CERAO and Vice-President of SECAM/SCEAM (Symposium of Bishops' Conferences of Africa and Madagascar), many bishops and theologians, as well as the Ambassadors of Ivory Coast and Benin.A statement sent to Fides explains the purpose of the initiative: "This year Africa celebrates fifty years of independence from colonial power for most of the nations which compose it. At the same time, it also commemorates the hundredth anniversary of the birth of the great man of culture, Alioune Diop. To what extent has this continent, rich in a variety of hues and colors, benefited from its independence? What marks of development are seen in the life of the people and what has been the impact of globalization on the cultures of this continent? The Pontifical Council for Culture, in collaboration with the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, plans to create a forum together with representatives of various church organizations, international and non-governmental, to find strategic ways and means through which 'development' can be promoted by the human person created in the image and likeness of God, the central point in any consideration and any initiative.""The Forum, which will take place in March 2011, aims to articulate reflection on the theme: 'Culture, Identity of Peoples, and Development in Africa and in the Black Diaspora.' Moreover, it aspires to become a permanent forum of reflection from which can come concrete proposals, allowing a real commitment in the field of culture and education, as a springboard for Africa's development.The Pontifical Council for Culture and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples continue to argue that the joint reflection by pastors and theologians in Africa and the diaspora is of decisive importance," the statement concludes.