- Title: Moscow festival markets Sudan to Russians
- Date: 4th October 2016
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) DAFALLA, SUDANESE BAND LEADER, SAYING: "I think part of the message is now reaching the audience. They danced with us and had fun with us, and this is something that they will remember. And this is the main purpose of being here, to influence Russian memories.''
- Embargoed: 19th October 2016 11:01
- Keywords: Sudan Culture Dancing Diplomatic relations festival tourism
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Reuters ID: LVA00352LAN2T
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: For one week, Moscow played host to a showcase of Sudanese tradition and culture aimed at promoting the Arab state as a trade partner and as a tourist destination.
The event was the first of its kind in Russia and was attended by hundreds of people from all walks of life - businessmen, investors, students, artists and academics.
It was also organised to mark 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
"Russia is one of the first states that recognized Sudan's independence in 1956. The diplomatic exchange started on 5th January 1965. Our embassy in Moscow is considered to be one of the biggest embassies in the country,'' said Sudan's ambassador to Russia, Nadir Yusuf.
Sudan has been under sanctions from the West for years but benefits from alternative investment from powerhouses like China and Russia, which has traditionally been reluctant to impose sanctions on any nation, calling them counterproductive.
The exhibition in Moscow was organised as a feast of Sudanese culture, highlighting the uniqueness of over 500 different ethnic groups.
From traditional dress and dancing, to cuisine and henna tattoos, visitors were encouraged to experience Sudanese culture for themselves.
"I think part of the message is now reaching the audience. They danced with us and had fun with us, and this is something that they will remember,'' said one of the artists, Dafalla.
Russian artists were also given the opportunity to illustrate scenes from traditional and modern-day Sudan to try and assess how much guests had learnt and also to challenge stereotypes.
"This is a good opportunity for young people to express their feelings about Sudan. To express how they see this land which is very far from us. We can learn about this country only by, I don't know from news for example from newspapers and now here we want to depict what we imagine, actually when we think of Sudan and those who are lucky will see Sudan in their eyes," said Arena Iotiva, the Leader of Africa Club in Moscow.
Organizers of the exhibition said promoting Sudan as a tourist destination would be one of the most significant outcomes of the event.
Sudan has struggled to attract foreign tourists because of tight visa rules, a lack of hotel infrastructure and a severe branding problem after years of armed conflicts in the country.
Khartoum wants to promote tourism to help offset the loss of much of its oil since South Sudan became independent five years ago.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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