West Africa Day in Portsmouth a Beacon of Friendship Between the U.S. & Niger

 
(L to R) Vice Sultan Aboubacar, John Hutchison, Mayor Lister, Ambassador Alidou & Elhadji Ibrahim Oumarou(L to R) Vice Sultan Aboubacar, John Hutchison, Mayor Lister, Ambassador Alidou & Elhadji Ibrahim OumarouPORTSMOUTH NH: On August 19th, NGO Rain for the Sahel and Sahara (RAIN) and The City of Portsmouth hosted Niger: Yesterday and Today at the Portsmouth Athenaeum to welcome special guests, Vice Sultan of Agadez, Albachir Aboubacar and Niger Ambassador to the U.S., Hassana Alidou. 

Mayor Robert Lister proudly presented a Proclamation of the Fourth Annual West Africa Day in Portsmouth to commemorate this historic visit and the region’s growing connection with West Africa. In turn, Mayor Lister was presented with an Albaye, a staple of traditional nomadic Tuareg dress, by Vice Sultan Aboubacar.  

 
Ambassador Alidou gave a presentation focusing on the challenges and opportunities Niger is facing on the world stage today, and presented RAIN Founding Director Bess Palmisciano with an artistic rendering of Niger featuring the Cross of Agadez, the most famous of nomadic emblems. Vice Sultan Aboubacar shared theNiger Ambassador to the U.S. Professor Hassana AlidouNiger Ambassador to the U.S. Professor Hassana Alidou significance of the recent designation of Agadez, a center of nomadic culture in northern Niger and part of his jurisdiction, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Vice Sultan represents Sultan Oumarou bin IbrahimOumarou, the highest ranking official of traditional Nigerien government. 

Cynthia Becker, author and Associate Professor of African Art at Boston University, explored the cultural history of the Amazigh culture of Niger.

Earlier in the afternoon, David Moore of the City of Portsmouth gave a moving and illuminating private tour of the African Burying Ground to the guests of honor, RAIN Board of Directors and event sponsors. 

Niger: Yesterday and Today was dedicated to the memory of Cape Neddick resident and Portsmouth business owner Wendy Klodt, in honor of her generous bequest in support of RAIN’s work in Niger.

RAIN Executive Director Bess Palmisciano, center, with (L to R) Elhadji Ibrahim Oumarou, Ambassador Alidou, Vice Sultan Aboubacar, and Niger Embassy Counselor Boubacar Rilla.RAIN Executive Director Bess Palmisciano, center, with (L to R) Elhadji Ibrahim Oumarou, Ambassador Alidou, Vice Sultan Aboubacar, and Niger Embassy Counselor Boubacar Rilla.RAIN would like to express our gratitude to the Portsmouth Athenaeum, the City of Portsmouth, the African Burying Ground, DF Richard Energy, F.L. Putnam Investment, Bow Family Dentistry, Allegra of Portsmouth, Haas Designer-Builder, Piscataqua Savings Bank, John Ahlgren, Joanne Lamprey, Liz & Rod Berens, Nancy & Richard Howard, Nancy & David Borden, Joan & Frank Graf, Janet Prince & Peter Bergh, Ann Beattie & Lincoln Perry, Betsy Devine & Frank Wilczek, Allison Reedy & Shane Smith and Dorothy Ahlgren. Special thanks also to The Hilton Garden Inn, Rudi’s restaurant, PARS Oriental Rugs, Murphy, Powers & Wilson CPA’s, Café Nostimo, Michelle’s on Market Square, Paula Loudenslager, Phil Stiles, Mohamed Djingo, Jenny Lloyd, Marsha Filion, Susana Castillo Rodriguez, and Michael Tucker. 

A Tuareg boy will have his first veil wrapping done in a ceremony at age 18.
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