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Sources and Resources for a Culture of Peace in Africa
an article by David Adams for CPNN

CPNN readers may be aware of a number of major culture of peace initiatives conducted by UNESCO over the past few years in Africa. These include:

click on photo to enlarge

* The Forum of Reflection on a culture of peace in West Africa, Abidjian, Côte d'Ivoire, June 2012

* The Pan- African Forum on sources and resources for a culture of peace, Luanda, Angola, March 2013

* The establishment of a network of foundations and research institutions for a culture of peace, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, September 2013

Now, the conclusions of these initiatives along with an overall analysis of Africa's potential for a culture of peace, have been put into a single brochure by UNESCO.

Given that “the implementation of the concept of the Culture of Peace in Africa requires an endogenous approach, which is holistic and interdisciplinary, involving intergovernmental, governmental, community, private sector and civil society actors” UNESCO contributes, together with a wide range of partners and stakeholders, in the promotion of peace education and women and young people empowerment to foster democratic participation; in the promotion of the role of media and ICTs for intercultural and interreligious dialogue; in highlighting the importance of heritage and contemporary creativity as tools for building peace; and, finally, to the development of scientific cooperation to promote the peaceful management of natural resources and opportunities for dialogue between scientists, especially in conflict-affected areas.

On a continental level, the African Union has also launched a series of political initiatives and programmes aiming at achieving peace and sustainable development, e.g.:
• International Campaign “Make Peace Happen” including the celebration of the International Day of Peace (21 September) and Peace building education initiative in Fragile States.
• African Charter for Youth and Plan of Action for Youth Decade (2009-­-2018)
• Year of Shared Values Plan of action (2012)
• African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance
• Africa Women’s Decade (2010-­-2020)
• Panafrican University (with reference to education for peace and democracy)
• Conflict Prevention Policy Framework
• African Solidarity Initiative
• 2063 Agenda for the Development of Africa

The brochure is too rich to be summarized quickly in this brief article, so CPNN readers are urged to go to the original.

Here are a few quotations to give a flavor of its richness:

Wole Soyinika: "There is a deep lesson for the world in the black races' capacity to forgive, one which, I often think, has much to do with ethical precepts which spring from their world view and authentic religions. . . "

Wangari Maathai points out that "In time the tree also became a symbol for peace and conflict resolution . . . Using trees as a symbol of peace is in keeping with a widespread African tradition. . . "

"African humanism (Ubuntu) is a priceless treasure ( . . .) It may be a good and service - the most precious gift trhat Africa has to offer the world - a gift which can be converted into capital." (Joseph Ki-Zerbo).

(Click here for a Portuguese version of this article or here for a French version)


Question(s) related to this article:

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

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Latest reader comment:

It is very appropriate that this new impulse for the culture of peace at UNESCO should come from Côte d’Ivoire, since the global movement for a culture of peace was initiated at a UNESCO conference in that country in 1989.  See Yamoussoukro and Seville in the early history of the culture of peace.

Note added on September 2:

The official reports from the UNESCO Conference in Abidjian are now available:



This report was posted on March 14, 2014.