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The International Forum of Reflection on the Culture of Peace in Africa opened in Abidjan
an article by Agence Ivoirienne de Presse

Kandia Camera, the Minister of National Education opened on Monday, June 4, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, the International Forum of Reflection on the Culture of Peace in West Africa. The forum was initiated by UNESCO and the non-governmental organization CEPS, The Center of Studies and Strategic Prospects.

Lalla Aïcha Ben Barka, the Assistant Director General for the Department of Africa at UNESCO
(US Mission to UNESCO's Photostream)

click on photo to enlarge

According to the regional representative of CEPS, Michel Abrogoua, the forum is dedicated to identifying new actions to reinforce the culture of peace in West Africa. He stated that proposals will contribute to the formulation of the new Medium Term Strategy of UNESCO for the period 2014-2021. Mr. Abrogoua issued an invitation to African civil society to become involved in the reflection and realization of peacekeeping actions in the African region.

The Assistant Director General for the Department of Africa at UNESCO, Lalla Aïcha Ben Barka, for her part, explained that this meeting, which took place next to the lagoon Ebrié, was a response of UNESCO to the appeal by the President of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, to support his country its efforts to consolidate peace, national reconciliation and social cohesion after more than a decade of armed crisis. Mme. Ben Barka announced that there will be other sub-regional forums in Africa in 2012 in preparation for the 2013 Summit of African heads of state so that they can engage politically at a high level in favor of a culture of peace.

In the opinion of the Special Representative of the President of the Commission of the African Union in Côte d’Ivoire, Ambroise Niyonsaba, the African Union agrees with UNESCO to promote a culture of peace by teaching children and adults to respect liberty, justice, democracy, human rights, tolerance, equality and solidarity, and to reject all that leads to violence.

Minister Kandia Camara, who heads the National Commission of Côte d’Ivoire for Unesco, expressed her appreciation that the international forum was held in her country, emphasizing that it follows in the tradition inherited from the deceased former President of Côte d’Ivoire, Félix Houphouët-Boigny.

Mme Kandia Camara indicated her hope that the forum's results will inspire the people of Côte d’Ivoire to elaborate a plan for reconstruction for the country. She also stated her wish that the synergy among the professional participants, heads of enterprises, and members of the civil society would lead to a global reflection on development and social cohesion. She considered that peace should be part of the program of learning of the child in order to create the conditions for a permanent and continuing education for peace.

The International Forum of Reflection on the Culture of Peace in Africa will conclude its work on Tuesday, June 5.

(Click here for a French version of this article)


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 June 11, 2012.