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  • on 24.10.2014
  • at 12:00 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

Women for Expo – Albina Assis Pereira Africano: Angola shines a light on women for Expo 2015 0

Women in Angola are paramount to the functioning of society. As the main bearers of tradition, they shoulder their family’s education and social reproduction, making them central to the themes of food and nutrition. For this reason, they shall be major protagonists in the 2.010 m2 dedicated to Angola for their ‘self-built’ pavilion in Milan’s Universal Exposition next year. ‘Angolan women will be represented throughout our pavilion, from smallholder agriculture to high-level science and technology’, said Albina Assis Pereira Africano, Special Advisor to the President for Regional Affairs and General Commissioner of the Angola Pavillion, in an interview with Afronline.org.

Universal Expositions are not new to Dr. Africano, as she represented Angola at Shanghai’s Expo in 2010 and served as General Commissioner for Expo 2012 in South Korea. Having overseen the colossal expansion of the oil sector in her country, she sits amongst the highest-ranking women ministers in Africa and is greatly esteemed for her technical knowledge. This interview was organized in the framework of ‘Women for Expo’, a project promoted by Expo Milano 2015.

Together with Morocco, Angola is one of the only two participant African countries with an individual ‘self-built’ pavilion at the Exposition. Themed ‘Food and Agriculture, Education to Innovate’, the structure will include an outdoor area with a vegetable garden, two restaurants, and a space to host talks and performances. The aim is to create a culinary journey through Angola in order to understand how local products can be incorporated into healthier and sustainable lifestyles for future generations. ‘Education’ is interpreted as the duty to raise awareness of food in Angolan society and introduce norms to regulate the quality of local production and foreign food imports. ‘Innovation’ implies the encouragement of long-lasting ‘best practices’ and traditional wisdom on one hand, and a resolution to promote scientific and technological innovations for a well-rounded approach to sustainable development on the other. Women play a fundamental role in both content and set-up of this concept.

‘Women will be represented throughout the pavilion, from smallholder agriculture to high-level science and technology. There are also many women currently working in our commission to prepare for the Universal Exposition, holding strong positions ranging from logistics to protocol. Furthermore, we will involve a wide spectrum of Angolan women by inviting them to take part in the Women for Expo project. The problem in my country is that although education is provided to all citizens, women are continuously limited by a range of social and cultural aspects. Through Expo, they are given a platform to voice these challenges and bolster the importance of gender equality.’

The pavilion builds on Expo Milano’s overarching theme, ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’, using the richness and diversity of Angolan culinary traditions to convey the country’s culture and soul. According to the General Commissioner, it will encourage visitors to reflect on the global challenges of malnutrition affecting millions of people around the world, particularly on the African continent.

‘We hope this exhibition will shine a spotlight on the role women play in Africa’s agricultural development and sustainability. Both men and women will be invited to discuss various topics, to present recently published books, and most importantly to consider the wide range of issues afflicting women on an everyday basis.’

By Sofia Christensen – Afronline.org

Photo credit: Lettera Politica

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