Tag Archives: Africa

Book review: A Moonless, Starless Sky by Alexis Okeowo


A review by The Literary Llama

In A Moonless, Starless Sky Okeowo weaves together four narratives that form a powerful tapestry of modern Africa: a young couple, kidnap victims of Joseph Kony’s LRA; a Mauritanian waging a lonely campaign against modern-day slavery; a women’s basketball team flourishing amid war-torn Somalia; and a vigilante who takes up arms against the extremist group Boko Haram. This debut book by one of America’s most acclaimed young journalists illuminates the inner lives of ordinary people doing the extraordinary–lives that are too often hidden, underreported, or ignored by the rest of the world.

I love non-fiction but there aren’t a lot of non-fiction books that interest me. I’m particular about my choices, mainly the author, because a great subject could be rendered completely boring in the wrong hands. Still, when Hachette offered me a chance to read A MOONLESS, STARLESS SKY, I immediately said yes. The synopsis may be small but the promise of this book was great and I knew I had to give it a chance…and I’m so happy I did.

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Question for this article

Islamic extremism, how should it be opposed?

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A MOONLESS, STARLESS SKY is amazing. Alexis Okeowo did an excellent job with the 4 stories she told of “ordinary women and men fighting extremism in Africa”. The book was split into two sections, the first having the begining of each of the 4 stories and the second having the conclusion (what they are up until the current time) of each of the true tales. Her writing style spoke to me. It flowed and moved and informed without getting too bogged down in historical and/or geographical facts (something that has happened in other non-fiction that I have read). She told us just enough to give us an acurate picture without going overboard into a long-winded text-book like examination. The stories were about the people and Okeowo kept that in focus.
There is an amazing diversity between all the different stories. Each one highlighting different races, beliefs, genders, nationalities and how those are treated and perceived and evolving in the different regions. But even with all of those differences there is a cohesiveness. The fight against extremism in all it’s different forms, brings these stories and people together in a way. And it’s eye opening.
These are the stories of real people. They are great people and they are flawed people, struggling and yet strong, each victory great and small is worth so much. And the way these victories are accomplished can be hard to understand, simply because we will never live through such situations, but Okeowo tells them with a mixture of fact and empathy that makes all the difference. You see heroes and heroines, the beginnings and middles of violence and resistance, the fight back that may seem like another form of extremism, but through it all are the people who are doing what they feel is right. They are incredible stories.
Overall I gave A MOONLESS, STARLESS SKY 4.5 stars, although it was easy to round up in this case. I highly recommend it and hope you connect with the writing the same way I did.

The Gambia: PAG hold peace advocacy camp


An article by Cherno Omar Bobb from The Point

Peace Ambassadors – The Gambia, a youth-led peace advocacy organisation with funding from ChildFund- The Gambia recently held a master camp for recruitment of peace educators and advocates under the theme: Promoting the culture of peace and non-violence in School and communities. The event was held at Banjulinding Lower Basic School.

Photo from PAG facebook

The Master Camp was designed to induct members of PAG on national youth leadership training, recruitment of peace educators and advocates as well as ambassadors peer-peace motivation coordinators training.

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Question for this article:

How do we promote a human rights, peace based education?

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The organisation’s vice president Ida Jatta said since its inception in May 2001, they have been advocating for peace in the minds of young people. “We focus on peace advocacy, community outreach and grassroots engagement to fulfill our thematic obligation as an organisation. We see peace as a continuous process and the leadership training will enable members to serve as role models in communities,” she said.

ChildFund- The Gambia communication specialist Famara Fofana said the international child aid agency have been championing the cause of young people, promoting child welfare and helping vulnerable young people to become productive adults. “Many people we supported are today manning important positions in the country. As peace ambassadors, let us propagate peace messages in the minds of young people.”

Alieu Marr, child protection and advocacy officer of ChildFund also said young people are the productive assets of the society, saying they will continue to support the activities of Peace Ambassadors. “We must have peace of mind in ourselves to promote peace in communities and schools.”

Peace Ambassadors Executive Secretary Yankuba Manjang said they have a role to play as young people to advocate peace in the nation, adding that the master camp will introduce the participants on leadership skills, peace and conflict management.

Young people: actors for peace and national reconciliation in Mali


An article from UNESCO

“Young Actors for Peace and National Reconciliation” is the title of the joint UNICEF-IOM-UNESCO project. It has been set up to accelerate the implementation of the agreement for peace and reconciliation in Mali (resulting from the Algiers process), through the operationalization of the new mechanism of the Regional Support Teams for National Reconciliation. (ERRNA), as well as through the involvement and empowerment of young people and women, in the implementation of the G5 Sahel Youth Strategy and the fight against cross-border trafficking and exploitation of young people.

So far, most of the peacebuilding projects have been implemented in northern Mali, but today the center of the country also has a great need for conflict prevention and resolution. The project directly targets 2,500 young people, including 900 young women, from 25 communes in the regions of Ségou and Mopti.

The project, officially launched on March 29, 2018 in Bamako, saw the participation of the Minister of Youth and Citizen Construction and Government Spokesperson, the Minister of Digital Economy and Communication, the Secretary General of the Ministry of National Reconciliation and Social Cohesion, MINUSMA, UNESCO, UNICEF and IOM.

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(Click here for the original French version of this article.)

Question(s) related to this article:

Youth initiatives for a culture of peace, How can we ensure they get the attention and funding they deserve?

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There was also the participation of several youth associations including The National Youth Council (NYC), the Youth Association for Active Citizenship and Democracy (AJCAD), the Children’s Parliament of Mali and the Association for the Promotion of Children as Journalists and Communicators (APEJEC).

The participants and the young people, together with the personalities present, emphasized the importance of the dynamics of the culture of peace and social cohesion in order to avoid the risks of conflicts. Mr. Amadou Koita, Minister of Youth and Citizen Construction, and his counterparts in communication and national reconciliation, thanked the technical and financial partners, including MINUSMA, who believed in the capacity of youth to promote peace and social cohesion. They have demonstrated their commitment and support in this project that fits perfectly with the vision of the highest authorities of the State. “My counterparts here and I will accompany you in this noble initiative, because all these actions prepare young people to play their role, which is important, in the implementation of the agreement for peace and national reconciliation. Algiers process, “he stressed.

In her address, Ms. Lucia Elmi, UNICEF Representative in Mali and spokesperson for the three agencies, reminded that the future is about youth, and that it is through young people that can be built a lasting peace. Convinced that through this project, young people will be able to give their opinion and positively influence the search for peace while ensuring the prevention of conflicts, she also stressed that this project will make it possible to popularize the agreement for peace and the national reconciliation resulting from of the Algiers process. Finally, it will add: “by investing in young people, so that they become peacemakers, actors for peace, we guarantee a better future for this country”.

Funded to the tune of 1.4 billion FCFA by the Peacebuilding Fund of the Stabilization and Recovery Section of MINUSMA, this project aims to strengthen the engagement of young people and women in as actors of peace in order to strengthen social cohesion, community dialogue, living together and developing the potential of young people.

7th edition of the Thionck-Essyl International Dance and Music Festival: Culture for Peace in Casamance


An article from Le Quotidien

The 7th edition of the Thionck-Essyl International Dance and Music Festival opens this Friday [April 13]. This locality of Casamance will, during 5 days, vibrate with the rhythms of songs, dances and training workshops for batik, basketry, pottery, as well as colloquiums. The director of the company Bakalama, initiator of this festival, Malal Ndiaye defined the strong axes of the programming, as well as its ambitions to make this festival a lever of economic development of Casamance (through culture and tourism) and a way to cultivate peace.

Casamance has been in conflict for almost three decades. As the director of the Thionck-Essyl International Dance and Music Festival, Malal Ndiaye believes that where politics and the military have failed, culture can succeed in bringing peace. The 7th edition of its festival which is held from 13 to 20 April in Thionk-Essyl (a locality located in the department of Bignona) hoopes to be an opportunity to promote culture and peace. “We have already understood that culture can be a source of mutual understanding of peoples, and that is why we have set up the festival in Casamance and we call on all the localities to come to discuss, understand and move forward together. As a cultural actor, I think and remain convinced that it is only through culture that we can have peace in Casamance”, he argues.

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(Click here for the French version of this article)

Question related to this article:


Can festivals help create peace at the community level?

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Beyond this, it is for the initiators of this festival to promote cultural and tourism participation, as well as economic development of this region of Casamance. The artistic director of the company Bakalama and former manager of P-Froiss also recalls what guided the establishment of the International Festival of Dance and Music Thionck-Essyl “In 2004 we saw that the young people of this locality were passionate about making art. At Thionck-Essyl, there is a real artistic potential, so we decided why not create an artistic festival, but also a festival of development. A festival that can allow us to make a contribution, both in terms of tourism, economy and social . It is these young artists who are in Casamance, especially those in Thionck-Essyl who motivated us ” he informs. And since then, the festival has not departed from its original objectives. Once again this year, it will be an opportunity to address a theme so dear to the promoters of the festival: Culture and tourism leverage for economic development.

On the program side, director Malal Ndiaye reveals that a whole string of musicians, dancers, rappers will come from Dakar as well as regions of Casamance to take part in this festival. “45 artists will leave Dakar to join Thionck-Essyl and there they will find other dance companies such as the company Bakalama, the troupe Kalonkigne, Koubalang, Niaffrang … The Gran Jabel group will come from Guadeloupe to participate at the festival”, notes Mr. Ndiaye, who is pleased with the support of the municipal authorities. “The budget for this festival is 12 million, the 2 million are managed by the city council, and the Bakalama company which brings the artists participates for 1.5 million.” To make up the rest of the budget, Malal Ndiaye is counting on the support of the ministries in charge of Culture, Tourism and Crafts. “We have debts, we need transportation, accommodation, sound, we hope the support of the government,” he says.

‘Back to Learning’ education campaign to benefit half a million children in South Sudan


An article from Africa News

The fourth phase of the ‘Back to Learning’ initiative launched Tuesday by the Ministry of General Education and Instruction, at Freedom Square in Kapoeta in the presence of more than 2,000 children and their parents, representatives of UNICEF, the Education Donor Group, Save the Children, Girls Education South Sudan, and members of the National Education Forum and Civil Society.

Photo from Children of South Sudan

The Back to Learning 2018 initiative will target the most under-represented communities throughout South Sudan, providing learning opportunities for children currently not attending school, either due to conflict, cultural barriers or obstacles such as distance or family finances. Building on the success of the first two years of the initiative, which provided more than 680,000 children with access to education, the next phase of Back to Learning will put an emphasis on children in conflict affected states, girls and other vulnerable children.

This year’s theme ‘Inclusive and Equitable Access to Quality Education for Peace and Sustainable Development’ aims to highlight the crucial role of education in fostering peace. Education has the potential to build the capacities of children, parents, teachers and community members to prevent, reduce and cope with conflict and to promote equality and peace. Education can also help address the inequalities that generate conflict. Inequalities can fuel conflict, just as conflict can worsen inequalities.

“Education transforms lives, creates the preconditions for peace and promotes sustainable development,” said Mr. Deng Deng Hoc Yai, Minister of General Education and Instruction. “The Government is committed to providing equitable access to quality education to all children for achieving the national goal of peace and sustainable development. I want to urge all parents and guardians to take all their children to school. I, once again, direct all public schools to admit all children free of charge in accordance with the law.”

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Question related to this article:

What can we do for the people of Sudan?

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?

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National and state-level Back to Learning committees are already in place coordinating activities for this school year, including social mobilization activities across the country to kick start the yearlong campaign. We encourage as many citizens as possible to get involved in this initiative.

“Ensuring children are able to access quality education not only provides them with a brighter future, it also benefits their community and South Sudan as a whole,” said Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan. “There is no greater investment for a country to make.”

UNICEF continues to work with partners to set up temporary learning spaces and provide supplies and psychosocial support to protect children from the worst consequences of the conflict whilst continuing with their education.
In 2018, the Back to Learning initiative aims to:

• Provide 500,000 children and adolescents with access to age-appropriate learning opportunities; which will include 300,000 children retained from 2017 and 200,000 children currently out of school.

• Establish 405 learning spaces providing a safe and protective learning environment;

• Train 4,000 teachers, including 1,750 Early Childhood Development caregivers on pedagogy and teaching methods, psychosocial support and conflict-sensitive education;

• Train 1,200 Parent Teacher Association and School Management Committee members on social mobilization, conflict sensitive education, basic school management and school development.

To provide access to learning opportunities for the more than half a million vulnerable children and adolescents aged 3 to 18, UNICEF and partners require US$47.5 million.

The funds will be used to provide learning facilities and education materials to newly enrolled children in schools; to continue education services to children in conflict-affected areas; and to enrol new students out of school for other reasons.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

(Thank you to the Global Campaign for Peace Education for calling this article to our attention.)

UNESCO supports the government of Mali to build a culture of sustainable peace


An article from UNESCO (translation by CPNN)

The donors’ round table on the National Program for the Culture of Peace in Mali was held on February 15, 2018 in Bamako. It was organized by the Ministry of National Reconciliation and Social Cohesion (MRNCS), in collaboration with UNESCO, under the chairmanship of Mr. Attaher AG Iknane, Secretary General of the MRNCS, and Mr. Hervé Huot-Marchand, UNESCO Representative in Mali.

This round table was a moment of dialogue and advocacy around the National Program for the Culture of Peace in Mali (PNCP), which is now a reference framework for the interventions of the Ministry. The presence of technical and financial partners (European Union, USAID, AfDB, UNDP, UNFEMMES), regional institutions (ECOWAS), international NGOs (Plan International), national financial institutions (BOA, BSIC, BIM , etc.) and civil society organizations, has made it possible to present the PNCP in its broad contribution to sustainably establishing a culture of peace in Mali and reconnecting with Malian socio-cultural values.

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(Click here for the original in French)


Question related to this article.

Will UNESCO once again play a role in the culture of peace?

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Hervé Huot-Marchand congratulated the government of Mali for its efforts in promoting the culture of peace and in developing the PNCP. He then recalled that this program is consistent with the genesis of UNESCO’s Constitution which states: “Since war begins in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that we must erect the barriers of defense of peace. He continued his speech highlighting the impact of the program in achieving the objectives defined in the Strategic Framework for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Development (CREDD) and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). In addition, the Representative welcomed the alignment of the program to the 2030 Agenda with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially the 16 th which recommends: “peace assurance, stability, human rights and effective governance based on the rule of law as important vectors for sustainable development “.

Mr. Huot-Marchand called on all partners to support the implementation of the activities of the action plan and informed the Ministry of the mobilization of 2,626,790 USD or more than 1,300,000,000 FCFA for the culture of peace, this by UNESCO, IOM and UNICEF through the Peace Building Fund (PBF). The project will be implemented for 18 months from March 2018.

On behalf of the Minister, Mr. Attaher Iknane, Secretary General of the MRNCS, welcomed everyone, while expressing thanks to participants, including UNESCO, for their technical and financial support in the implementation of this program. He also recalled the objectives of the PNCP as well as the participatory approach that underpinned its development and that will contribute to establishing peace and offering tools to prevent violent extremism. He ended his speech with words of thanks and renewed Mali’s recognition of donors: “Investing in the culture of peace is never too much”.

After the presentation of the project, the floor was given to the participants for reactions. These focused on questions of clarification on (the overall budget and the duration of the program), suggestions around an action plan of activities that could facilitate TFPs to better direct their investments according to the areas mentioned.

At the end of this round table, the Ministry commits itself to continue the steps for a concretization of the activities retained in the PNCP over the period 2017-2020.

Challenge of Tackling Terrorism Threat Can Be Achieved through Solidarity, Secretary-General Tells African Union Peace and Security Council


A press release from the United Nations

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks to the African Union Peace and Security Council’s meeting on combating the transnational threat of terrorism in Africa, in Addis Ababa today:

It is an honour to take part in this meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council.  I welcome your focus on a comprehensive approach to combating the transnational threat of terrorism in Africa.  Let me begin with three overarching points.

First, we know nothing justifies terrorism.  No cause or grievance can ever excuse the indiscriminate targeting of civilians, the destruction of lives and livelihoods, and the creation of panic for its own sake.

Second, we know that terrorism has unfortunately been with us in different forms across ages and continents.  But modern terrorism is being waged on an entirely different scale.  It has become an unprecedented threat to international peace, security and development.

Third, we know modern terrorism is not only different in degree, but also different in nature — having grown more complex, and with new modus operandi.  And the linkages between terrorism and transnational organized crime are growing every day.

The world should never forget that the vast majority of terrorist attacks take place in developing countries.  The communities, victims and survivors of terrorism are very much in our hearts.

The devastating consequences of the threat posed by terrorism in Africa demand collective and comprehensive action.  No single nation, institution, or organization can defeat terrorism in Africa or anywhere else.  We need a sustained, cooperative and coordinated approach in tackling this menace.

The African Union is a vital partner in confronting the global challenge posed by terrorist groups.  As I have said from day one as Secretary-General, we needed a higher platform of cooperation with the African Union.  And I am proud that we are indeed building that platform across the range of challenges and opportunities confronting this great continent.

Last year, we signed the Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for an Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security.  The Framework includes cooperation in the field of countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism.  I believe this work can be strengthened even further with a memorandum of understanding setting out a road map for future collaboration and capacity-building support on countering terrorism within the context of that Framework.

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Question for this article

Islamic extremism, how should it be opposed?

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L’une des premières réformes que j’ai entreprises a été de créer un Bureau de lutte contre le terrorisme.

En collaboration étroite avec l’Union africaine et d’autres partenaires, ce bureau a mis au point des stratégies régionales et des plans d’action nationaux de prévention du terrorisme et de l’extrémisme violent dans la Corne de l’Afrique et en Afrique centrale et australe.

Le Bureau a intensifié l’aide apportée à plusieurs pays d’Afrique, notamment le Mali et le Nigéria, pour qu’ils renforcent leurs capacités aux niveaux national et régional.

Pour ce faire, le Bureau s’est appuyé sur des instances telles que l’Initiative d’assistance intégrée pour la lutte antiterroriste, qui permet de mobiliser l’ensemble des organismes des Nations Unies à l’appui des États Membres qui en font la demande.  Une stratégie d’assistance intégrée est en cours d’établissement pour aider le G5 Sahel à lutter contre le terrorisme dans la sous-région, dont la vulnérabilité est notamment due au retour des combattants terroristes étrangers.

Looking ahead, I believe a comprehensive approach to combating the transnational threat of terrorism in Africa can be developed around four key priorities.

First, by addressing the deficit in international counter-terrorism cooperation at the global, regional and national levels.  In June, I will convene the first-ever United Nations summit of heads of counter-terrorism agencies to build on Member States’ priorities and our discussion today.  Our goal is to enhance cooperation and the exchange of information, and develop new and innovative ways to tackle terrorism.

Second, success in countering terrorism will be greatly advanced through ratification of existing legal counter-terrorism instruments, conventions and protocols.  The United Nations is ready to provide the support needed to the African Union and Member States to implement these instruments.

Third, the threat posed by terrorism requires addressing the root causes and underlying conditions.  I welcome the growing emphasis by the African Union and African Member States to address the drivers of violent extremism.  It is crucial that our efforts include tackling the lack of economic opportunities, including extreme poverty, marginalization, exclusion and discrimination, while ensuring respect for international humanitarian law and human rights.

Fourth and finally, we must place a special focus on expanding opportunities for young people — especially since youth under the age of 25 form the largest demographic group in most developing countries and they are often the ones most at risk of being recruited and radicalized by terrorists.  Strategic investments in education and employment for young men and women are essential.

Resource mobilization for counter-terrorism efforts is also critical.  After all, terrorism is not only a threat to peace and security but also to sustainable development.  I call on the international community to mobilize resources in support of African countries as they strive to balance security and development.

Let me conclude by once again expressing my profound gratitude to the African Union for its cooperation and to African Member States for your commitment and contributions in tackling terrorism and violent extremism.

We face a serious challenge — but I believe it is one that we can meet with solidarity, common action and a shared resolve.

UNESCO brochure: Africa, Culture of Peace, 2017


A brochure of UNESCO (translation by CPNN)

UNESCO has just published a new brochure on its activities for a culture of peace in Africa, with an impressive list of activities. Here is the table of contents of the brochure with links, where available, to the CPNN or UNESCO article.

4-5 June, 2012 – Abidjan – Forum of Reflection “Culture of Peace in West Africa: an imperative for economic development and a requirement for social cohesion”

26-28 March 2013 – Luanda – Pan-African Forum: “Sources and resources for a culture of peace

20-21 September 2013 – Addis Abeba – Network of foundations and research institutions to promote the culture of peace in Africa

19-22 March 2014 – Brussels – Women’s Network for a Culture of Peace in Africa

December 11-13, 2014 – Libreville – Youth Network for a Culture of Peace in Africa

16-28 March 2013 – Luanda – Launch of the campaign “Make Peace” Luanda , Angola

July 9, 2016 – Libreville – Launch of the Youth Campaign for a Culture of Peace in Central Africa” ​​Different Words, Same Language: Peace, Libreville, Gabon

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(Click here for the original in French)


Question related to this article.

Will UNESCO once again play a role in the culture of peace?

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March 31, 2017 – Launch of the Youth Mobilization Campaign for Culture of peace, Burundi

September 21-23, 2014 – Celebrating 25 years of the birth of the concept of a culture of peace : “Peace in the minds of men and women”, Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire

20 Sept 2017 – Celebrating the International Day of Peace, Cameroon

Sept 2017 Celebrating the International Day of Peace, Burundi

January 2015 – Decisions of the African Union

2015 – Biennial of Luanda

2017 – Yamoussoukro Project to create a “School of Peace”

2012-2017 – Culture of Peace and Reconciliation: A Case Study of Mali

May 26, 2015 – Benin – International Symposium for the Launch of the African Initiative for Education for Peace and Development through Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue

14 March 2017 – Dakar –
2017 Triennial of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA)

6 April 2017 – Regional Global Education Network Meeting in Sub-Saharan Africa, Johannesburg

9-11 Sep 2017 Benin Regional Consultations in West and Central Africa on youth, peace and security

Editor’s Note: It is very commendable that UNESCO’s Africa Department continues to support the culture of peace. The purpose of the brochure, according to Firmin Edouard Matoko, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Africa, “is to draw on the sources of inspiration and the potential of the cultural, natural and human resources of the continent in order to identify concrete lines of action to build a lasting peace, the cornerstone of endogenous development and Pan-Africanism.” On the other hand, one hopes it is not a bad sign for the future that the foreward to the brochure by the new Directrice-Generale of UNESCO fails to mention culture of peace.

DRC: Meeting on the School Day of Non Violence and Peace


An article by John Mukhuta Muhiana, for the World Peace Foundation / DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

The World Peace Foundation, DRC, has organized an event for the school day of non-violence and peace, commemorating the death of his excellence Mahatma Gandhi. The event took place on January 30, 2018 in the Provincial Assembly of Lualaba, with the participation of the political authorities, representatiives from the mining companies, the school project Living Peace, people from India and the Representative of the Indian Ambassador.

The event began at 14:00 in the plenary room mentioned above with the slogan “peace, love and unity “. This day was initially celebrated since 1964 by the Spanish poet, educator and pacifist, Llorenc Vidal, and the day was recognized by UNESCO in 1993.

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Question related to this article:

Could we benefit from more Celebrations of Peace?

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The event was dedicated to politicians, public officials, parents, educators and teachers, to promote lifelong education for non-violence and peace. It is essential to educate for solidarity and respect for others, because wars start in the minds of men and it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be raised. In this event, the World Peace Foundation has celebrated its 15th anniversary, the commemoration of the death of His Excellency Mahatma Gandhi and the world day of non-violence and peace.
At 19:00, the guests were accompanied to the Moon Palas Hotel for a cocktail and meal until 1 am. The holiday gave joy to peace supporters and participants. This event was sponsored by the Governor of the Province His Excellency Mr. Muyej Mangeze Mans who is our Universal Circle of Peace Ambassador. He contributed $ 3000 for the organization of this event. We thank also the President of the Provincial Assembly the Honorable Kamwenyi Thumbo Louis who allowed us to hold the event in the plenary hall of the Assembly.

(Click here for the French version of this article.)

Nigeria: Federal government rallies support of stakeholders to promote peace, security


An article from Vanguard Nigeria

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says sustenance of peace and security in Nigeria is the responsibility of traditional rulers, media, religious bodies and civil society organisations as stakeholders.

Mohammed said this on Tuesday at the opening of a two-day conference on “Culture, Peace and National Security: The Role of Traditional Rulers”, held at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.

Lai Mohammed

The conference was organised by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Represented by the Director of International Cultural Relations in the ministry, Mr Richard Maku, Mohammed restated the Federal Government’s commitment to ensuring peace and security.

“It’s also a fact that until we are able to entrench a culture of peace and non-violence in our body polity, all efforts geared towards development would be a mirage,” he said.

Also speaking, Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State advised state Houses of Assembly to identify a specific day for the conduct of their proceedings in the dominant language spoken in every state, saying such a practice would help in promoting the indigenous culture of the people.

“Also, our mode of dressing should be promoted culturally to enhance our esteemed culture; all of us should join hands to promote our different cultures so that it will not go into extinction,” he said through his Chief of Staff, Dr Gbade Ojo.

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Questions for this article:

How important is community development for a culture of peace?

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The Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Ayo Banjo, identified peace as a critical factor for steady development of any society, emphasising that a society must place a premium on its collective effort to foster peace and unity.

Earlier, NICO Executive Secretary, Mr Louis Eriomala, said the institute was established to harness the country’s rich cultural heritage for national development.

Eriomala noted that the conference was conceptualised in 2012 to underscore the importance of cultural dimension in the quest for sustainable peace and security in Nigeria.

He said peace as well as security of lives and property result in meaningful progress and development of every society, adding that urgent steps must be taken to address factors responsible for escalating conflicts such as poverty, ethno-religious bigotry and political violence.

“Failure to address these issues will lead to channelling of resources, which should have been used for human development, to military and security interventions.

“If Nigerians are adequately sensitised to appreciate the critical importance of peace and security to the fulfilment of their yearnings, threats to peace and security will be drastically reduced,” he said.

He maintained that remarkable achievements would be recorded if peace and security challenges faced by the country were adequately tackled from people’s cultural dimension.

“A constitutional role for traditional rulers is imperative, a bottom-up mobilisation approach steered by our highly esteemed monarchs will greatly complement the efforts of the nation’s security agencies,” he said.

Participants at the conference included traditional rulers as well as personnel of National Orientation Agency, Nigerian Police, other security agencies and National Commission for Museum and Monuments.