The Gambia: WANEP stages youth leaders ‘bantaba’ on peace-building 


An article by Jankey Ceesay from The Point

West Africa Network for Peace Building-The Gambia (WANEP) recently convened a day’s ‘bantaba’ (group discussion) on youth participation in decision-making and peace-building processes at Metzy Residence in Kololi.

WANEP-The Gambia is a registered not-for-profit organization with a membership of 20 civil society organizations working towards strengthening the capacity of peace building practitioners, governmental and non-governmental institutions, and developing conflict prevention networks and mechanisms to promote the culture of peace.

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Question 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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Addressing the gathering, Ms. Salama Njie, the National Network Coordinator West Africa Network for Peace Building-The Gambia (WANEP), reminded that youth are mostly used by politicians to win positions and neglect them afterwards.

“The vulnerability of young people to political exploitation and election related violence in an already fragmental society could with growing ethnic diversions and political party disputes cause concern for all of us and we are used by political leaders to gained their posts,” she pointed out. 

She explained that youth consist 64% of the country’s population, yet meaningful participation of young men and women in governance system, remains a challenge. 

She advised them to desist from being used by political leaders to disturb the country’s peace by attacking their opponent and inciting violence, rather they should be involved in politics, decision-making and promote peace ahead of the local election.

Tijan Bah, the assistant national early warning systems manager at WANEP, expressed optimism that the forum would produce a road map for young people to be involved in decision making levels and be agents for peace in their various communities.

Abu Dhabi opens the ninth edition of the Peace Forum


An article from Atalayar

The United Arab Emirates is once again hosting the Abu Dhabi Peace Forum, formerly known as the Forum for the Promotion of Peace in Muslim Societies. This ninth edition of the meeting will begin on Tuesday 8 November and will run for three days under the title “Global Conflict and Universal Peace: Urgent Needs and Opportunities for Partnership”, bringing together more than 30 pioneering international organisations in the promotion of peace and nearly 500 participants from 60 different countries, representing every continent. 

President Joko “Jokowi“ Widodo shakes hands with Abu Dhabi Forum for Peace (ADFP) secretary-general Al Mahfoudh Bin Bayyah, who presented the President with a peace award at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Nov. 7.(Presidential Secretariat Press Bureau/Muchlis Jr.)

“The role of the Peace Forum, […] which is usually hosted by Abu Dhabi and is one of the most important forums in the Islamic world, is to serve as a space for the discussion of humanitarian problems and intellectual and religious conflicts in Muslim societies,” the forum’s official website states. “Hundreds of Islamic scholars and thinkers participate in the forum in order to establish a unified position to address unrest and acts of violence in the Islamic world”. 

Religious leaders, politicians, officials, representatives of national and international organisations, and peace activists from around the world will travel to the United Arab Emirates to address the promotion of peace at one of the most critical times for the international community in recent decades. With several armed conflicts raging, more than 100 million refugees – according to UNHCR – and growing food and energy insecurity threatening the world’s poorest regions in particular, the forum’s attendees face one of the most complex meetings since the forum opened its doors in 2014. 

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(Click here for a French version of this article, or click here for a spanish version.)

Question for this article

Islamic extremism, how should it be opposed?

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Strengthening coexistence between Muslim societies, reviving interfaith values, creating a space for spreading the message of peace and strengthening the role of the UAE in all these areas are the main objectives of the Peace Forum. This year, they are expected to be worked on the basis of four central themes: the challenges of global peace in the face of an international order in crisis, the role of youth and women in the promotion of peace, the universality of peace in the face of the globalisation of war, and the role of religious leaders in the peace process. 

The forum was born in 2014, under the chairmanship of H.E. Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah, and the patronage of the then Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Mohammed bin Zayed, under the name ‘Forum for the Promotion of Peace in Muslim Societies’. Since then, the meeting has become a space of reference in the Islamic world, where scholars strive to promote peace, tolerance and the correction of certain concepts.

Last year 2021, when the meeting formally changed its name to become the Abu Dhabi Peace Forum, the forum kicked off in Al Wasl Square at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The Imam Hassan bin Ali International Peace Award

In addition, the Abu Dhabi Peace Forum is – since 2015, just one year after its birth – a platform that works to empower creativity in peace advocacy through the ‘Peacemakers Hackathon’ initiative, as well as a space to recognise and “honour the creators and precursors of scientific works and initiatives for the promotion of a culture of peace and the consolidation of its value in Muslim societies” with the Imam Hassan bin Ali International Peace Prize, as explained on the official website. 

This year’s recipient of the Imam Hassan bin Ali Prize is the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo (Jokowi), for his work as a promoter of peace during his presidency of the G20. A particularly complicated year for the group due to Russia’s membership, which put at risk – on more than one occasion – that the group’s ministerial summits held to date would conclude more or less normally. 

“For President Jokowi, as well as for all the Indonesian people, this is an extraordinary award that symbolises confidence in the president as a leader who spreads the message and culture of peace in the world,” Indonesian State Minister Pratikno said after Abu Dhabi Peace Forum Secretary-General H.E. Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah travelled to Jakarta to ratify the presentation of the award to Jokowi at the Merdeka Palace. 

“The world is currently facing many kinds of crises: a war, a food crisis, an energy crisis. Not only can people not afford to buy, but the supplies themselves have changed. […]. So if we can do this, it means we can contribute to this world,” Pratikno added.

Martha Ines Romero appointed new Secretary General of Pax Christi


An article from Independent Catholic ndews

Pax Christi International, the global Catholic movement for peace and nonviolence, has announced that Martha Inés Romero has been appointed secretary general as of 1 January 2023.

Based in Colombia, Martha Inés has served Pax Christi International for over 15 years, including a term in the international board. She is currently the regional coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean. She will continue in this role as she also takes up her duties as Secretary General.

Martha Inés describes herself as a “humble life-long learner,” and brings a rich depth of experience working throughout the Americas and with global partners. She studied conflict transformation at the Kroc Institute for Peace (USA) and was a member of the Catholic Peacebuilding Network. She has contributed to the transformation of Catholic teaching through promoting a culture of peace, nonviolence, and reconciliation, first with Catholic Relief Services, contributing to the Caritas Internationalis network, and then with Pax Christi International, through participation in synodal processes and the Laudato Si’ Action Platform.

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Question for this article

Religion: a barrier or a way to peace?, What makes it one or the other?

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

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She is both ecumenically and interfaith minded and works with partners across the civil society for dialogue and cooperation within communities across Latin America and the Caribbean. Her previous experience is in the aid sector, where she held international roles at OXFAM Great Britain and CRS.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to lead Pax Christi International in this challenging time,” said Romero. “I look forward to listening and learning from our dedicated members and partners worldwide. The diversity in our movement is our main strength, one that we can draw on as we transform communities through justice, peace, and nonviolence.”

Pax Christi International co-presidents Bishop (Em) Marc Stenger and Sr Wamuyu Wachira also expressed their appreciation for Martha Inés as she takes up her new role within our movement.

“I admire the great ability of Martha Inés to mobilize and unite for the sake of human rights, justice, peace, and the preservation of Creation. She’s a tireless worker, seizing every opportunity for dialogue and connection throughout Latin America and now around the world,” said Stenger.

“We thank Martha Inés for generously accepting this call to serve, and the willingness to be open to the will of God in this new role and respond to the needs of this movement at this time of our history and beyond,” remarked Wachira. She continued, recalling the words of Psalm 18, “May the Lord continue to be your rock, your fortress, in whom you will continue to find joy and hope, take refuge in situations of challenges, the Lord who will always be your shield and stronghold.”

Martha Inés Romero will replace outgoing Secretary General Greet Vanaerschot, who retires after 40 years of service to Pax Christi International in a variety of roles. There will be opportunities for the movement to welcome Martha Inés and express gratitude to Greet in the new year.

3rd ECOWAS Forum on Education for the Culture of Peace ends in Lomé, Togo


An article from News Ghana

The 3rd edition of the ECOWAS Forum on Education for a Culture of Peace through Intra and Inter-Religious Dialogue was held in Lomé, Togo, from 27 to 29 October 2022, under the theme: “Communities, violent extremism and social cohesion in West Africa”.

Participants at the closure of the forum

Co-organized by the ECOWAS Commission and the Togolese Republic, the Forum was held under the chairmanship of HE Faure Essozimna GNASSINGBE , President of the Togolese Republic , represented by Mr. Robert DUSSEY, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional integration and Togolese Abroad, and under the triple sponsorship of Cheikh Serigne Babacar Sy Mansour, Caliph General of the Tidhianes of Senegal, His Excellency Monsignor Edward Tamba Charles, Archbishop of Freetown, and His Highness Nana Kobina Nketsia V, Paramount Chief of the Essikado Traditional Zone of Ghana.

The meeting was attended by Professor Fatou SOW SARR, Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs of ECOWAS, HE Mr. Barros Bacar BANJAI, Resident Representative of ECOWAS in Togo and HE Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, former President of the ECOWAS Commission, as Presenter of the Inaugural Conference.

Also taking part were religious and community leaders, peace and conflict resolution experts, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), technical and financial partners, young people, women’s groups and media professionals.

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(Click here for a French article on this subject.)

Question related to this article:
How can different faiths work together for understanding and harmony?

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The main objective of the Forum was to strengthen the mechanisms of dialogue within the communities in order to cultivate mutual understanding, the spirit of tolerance and peaceful coexistence between religions, through education in the culture of peace, while highlighting the role of communities in countering violent extremism, as well as their contribution to peace and social cohesion.

The Forum took place in 4 essential phases: (1) The opening ceremony punctuated by speeches and the inaugural conference; (2) The ministerial session which made it possible to present the situation of inter-ministerial dialogue in the Member States, highlighting the role of communities and religious and customary leaders in the fight against violent extremism and their contribution to peace and social cohesion. (3) The discussion panels which were articulated around the following 3 axes: Axis 1: Communities and Resilience with the target of religious, customary, ethnic, socio-professional communities; Axis 2: Education and Prevention targeting young people, women, media; Axis 3: Communities, territories and vulnerabilities; (4) The plenaries which allowed the restitution of the work of the panels.

In her speech at the forum’s closing ceremony, Commissioner Fatou SOW/SARR “reiterated the clear will of the political authorities of the Region to emphasize crisis prevention, raising awareness among young people, that of actors in the civil society and of course political decision-makers and religious leaders”.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and Togolese Abroad, both in his opening and closing speeches, expressed his thanks to the ECOWAS Commission for having chosen his country to host such a meeting. He also reiterated “the commitment and determination of HE Faure Essozimna GNASSINGBE , President of the Togolese Republic, in favor of the values of peace, harmony and mutual respect. It is through his benevolence and the interest given to the issue of social cohesion that he accepted that Togo host this important forum”.

At the end of the work, a so-called Lomé Declaration and recommendations were adopted. Among other recommendations to ECOWAS: i) Support Member States in developing National Policies for the Development of Border Areas to build the resilience of communities in the face of violent extremism; ii) Put in place a multi-stakeholder strategy (religious, women, youth) in the fight against violent extremism; iii) Strengthen the ECOWAS early warning and conflict resolution system, highlighting the contribution of communities to peace and social cohesion; etc

For the ECOWAS Commission, also taking part in the Forum under the Department of Human Development and Social Affairs (DHDSA), Prof. Abdoulaye Maga, Director of Education, Science and Culture, Dr. Raguidissida Emile, Head of Culture Division and Mrs. Aïsha USMAN, Head of Education Division, and under the Department of Political Affairs (PAPS), Peace and Security, Colonel Abdourahmane DIENG, Head of Regional Security Division and Mr. Constant Cocou GNACADA in charge of the conflict prevention program.

Chambéry, France: locks of hair in solidarity with the women of Iran


An article from France 3

There were a hundred women in the center of Chambéry who came and cut a lock of hair in solidarity with the women of Iran. These locks, also collected this Saturday in Grenoble and Lyon, will be sent to the Iranian Embassy.

The women of Chambéry “want it to be known: we are in solidarity, in sorority” with the women of Iran, who “fight to be free” and have been demonstrating since the death. of young Masha in a police station in Tehran.

The locks of hair will be sent to the Iranian Embassy. • © France 3 Alps

They are a hundred who have responded to the call of the League of Human Rights, but also of the CGT, the PCF, EELV, the PS of Savoie, Amnesty International and the Mouvement de la Paix.

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(Click here for the original French version.)

Questions for this article

Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

Solidarity across national borders, What are some good examples?

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For the representative of Mouvement de la Paix in Savoie, Laurette Mugnier, “it’s nothing compared to all that these women have endured for so long, in Iran but not only. We also think of the Afghan women who are fighting against the Taliban, the little girls who cannot go to school. At the Mouvement de la Paix we demand that a culture of peace be promoted at the call of the UN. We can’t just watch them fight alone in Iran. The support of the people is important for those who are fighting.”

Singing in Persian, they sing Bella Ciao, the song of Italian partisans and resistance fighters during the Second World War. And on the steps of the town hall, a mauve cloth collects locks of long hair, short hair, from women and men, of all ages. “They will be sent to the Iranian Embassy,” promises Marc Pascal, ecologist and member of the “all migrants” collective. “And the same symbol is used in other cities: the embassy should receive hair from many places in France”.

Already practiced at the beginning of the week by actresses, the gesture has caught on. Marc Pascal insists that “It’s not just a symbol. That people agree to come and undermine their physical integrity by cutting their hair is a strong gesture that says that we are physically committed, that it is important”.

The same demonstration was organized Saturday morning, in Lyon. And in the afternoon, in Grenoble.

Key takeaways from high-level week and high-profile visits in Astana, Kazakhstan


An article from Inform Kazakhstan

Last week,(October 13 and 14), Kazakh capital Astana was drawing attention with several top-level forums and high-profile visits, reaffirming Kazakhstan’s role as a responsible player in international affairs.

The sixth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), a meeting of heads of the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the Central Asia – Russia summit are just among a few major events happening in Astana last week. More about the key takeaways from the summits is in the latest article of Kazinform.

Security and stability were key messages across many statements delivered at the summit. The need for increased cooperation, at a time when distrust and confrontations are prevailing, was also raised by delegations.


CICA, a multilateral forum for peace and security in Asia, is Kazakhstan’s initiative back in 1992. Addressing the plenary session of the sixth summit on October 13, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev highlighted the growing importance of Asia in the world and its enormous resources, saying the 21st century is becoming a century of Asia, as predicted by international experts.

11 heads of state, including Azerbaijan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Palestine, Tajikistan, Russia, Türkiye, and Uzbekistan, and at least 50 delegations attending the summit had a chance to voice their individual concerns and engage in productive discussions behind the doors.

«Today CICA has 28 member states in Asia. Considering Kuwait, which joined at the Astana Summit, the organization covers 90 percent of the countries of the Asian continent. The positive and progressive dynamics in the development and expansion of CICA prove the relevance of the ideas laid down in the founding of the organization,» said Yersultan Zhanseitov, an expert at the Institute of World Economics and Politics, in an interview for this story.

According to him, basic principles on which CICA has been founded make it attractive to new members.

«Consensus decision-making, that is, the interests of absolutely every member of the organization must be considered. Voluntariness of implementation of trust measures. In recent years, CICA has significantly increased its recognition in the international arena due to the demand for and active use by its member states of CICA as a platform for multilateral political dialogue, practical international cooperation on security issues, in combating new challenges and threats, economic cooperation, environmental protection, humanitarian sphere, including the development of intercultural youth relations,» said the expert.

In fact, some of these areas will be the focus of Kazakhstan’s renewed chairpersonship at CICA for 2022-2024. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev outlined the important directions for the development of the organization – economic dimension, cooperation in finance, environmental dimension, food security, and human-centered approach.

«Overall, it should be noted that the relevance of CICA in the modern world will continue to grow With the rapid degradation of the former architecture of international relations and the growth of confrontation and blocs, the international community is in dire need of a new system of relations, which would offer common and equal rules of conduct for all. The CICA format is unique in that it manages to bring representatives of countries with fundamental and irreconcilable differences to the negotiating table,» said Zhanseitov.

Commenting on the outcomes of the CICA summit in Astana during a press briefing on October 17, CICA Secretary-General Kairat Sarybay said the number of countries interested in CICA is growing.

«Last year, Turkmenistan was granted observer status. On the eve of the summit, CICA and the Eurasian Economic Union signed a memorandum of mutual partnership. The network of family and international relations of CICA grows, which is also one of the priorities of the presidency,» Sarybay said at a press briefing on October 17.

CICA summit adopted the Astana Statement that kicked off the transformation of CICA from a conference into a full-fledged organization.

«This means that a structured, inclusive, and open negotiation process of gradual and consensual transformation of CICA into a full-fledged regional international organization has begun. By the way, President Tokayev has always spoken about this. The current features of CICA resemble an international organization. After all, there are governing bodies, executive authorities, and structures,« said Sarybay.

CIS summit

The next day after CICA, on October 14, Astana also hosted a summit of heads of state from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). With all leaders being physically present at the summit, one of the rare moments since the pandemic began, they focused on partnership in security and humanitarian spheres.

Addressing the meeting held behind the doors in a narrow format, Tokayev briefed the leaders on the main results of the multifaceted work that Kazakhstan carried out in 2022 as a chair of CIS.

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Question related to this article:

Solidarity across national borders, What are some good examples?

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According to him, the priorities of Kazakhstan’s presidency in CIS in 2022 sought to consolidate the efforts of member states considering the current processes of global development. «Through joint work, several important initiatives aimed at expanding trade and economic cooperation, maintaining our close cultural and humanitarian ties, as well as increasing the potential and international prestige of the commonwealth were implemented. In the difficult geo-economic conditions, special attention was paid to strengthening the economic potential of the commonwealth and, above all, to implement the provisions of the CIS Economic Development Strategy until 2030,» said Tokayev.

At the enlarged meeting, Tokayev said the meeting was productive where leaders had a chance to exchange opinions on the most urgent issues.

«There was a collective desire to address these problems. Proposals from all heads of state were aimed at fully fostering bilateral and multilateral dialogue, including addressing existing conflicts on CIS space,» said Sergei Lebedev, CIS Executive Secretary. «Because we are neighbors, we must live in peace and friendship and make every effort for this to remain like this.»

Chairpersonship at CIS will go to Kyrgyzstan next year. Addressing the meeting, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov outlined his country’s priorities in the development of CIS. The priority tasks will include climate change, saying environmental and ecological issues are directly connected with security and sustainable development, direct efforts to support and develop partnership cooperation between CIS countries in transport, communications, migration policy, culture, and humanitarian sector, Kyrgyzstan will also seek to strengthen inter-parliamentary cooperation of the CIS member states.

Commenting on the outcomes of the meeting, political expert Aidar Amrebayev said security issues are most acute and sensitive in CIS space.

IWEP expert Zhumabek Sarabekov said economic issues were of equal priority for the summit participants.

«These issues are very urgent. Obviously, statements made at the session that was open follow some protocols, and sensitive topics are unlikely to be voiced. But at the same time, there are such issues. For example, the Russian economy is expected to contract by 5 percent by the end of the year, and next year, a recession is expected. The same in Belarus and Kyrgyzstan,» said the expert in an interview with a local TV channel. The economic slowdown will inevitably affect other members and rising inflation is the most obvious consequence.

«Disruption of logistical chains exacerbates the problem of inflation ad it will hit the lives of ordinary people,» he added.

Central Asia – Russia summit

At Central Asia – Russia summit the same day in Astana, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, and President of Russia Vladimir Putin offered their vision of how cooperation between Central Asia and Russia should unfold.

Tokayev focused on security and stability, including unresolved border issues, and stressed the need to boost trade.

»At the current difficult stage of world history, it is more important than ever for us to have a clear and positive image of the future. I would like to present my vision of our future cooperation in the context of the following key areas. The first is security. Our countries are destined to be together. We must protect our shared history and create a unified future for the well-being of our people. The stability and security of each of our countries have a direct influence on the development of the region,» he said at the summit.

He also said the trade between Central Asian countries grew by 34 percent, exceeding $6 billion.

«It is important to remove trade barriers and avoid protectionist measures. We need to intensify efforts to develop intraregional trade. It is advisable to focus on improving the structure of trade turnover and expanding its nomenclature. At present, with the development of our industries, we can substitute many types of foreign products for each other on a mutually beneficial basis. Analysis of export-import operations shows ample opportunities in this direction,« said Tokayev.

Instability in Afghanistan was also raised by leaders, as a destabilizing factor for the region. They stressed the importance of peace-led talks in Afghanistan and the country’s involvement in infrastructure projects to rebuild its economy.

Putin commended the trade dynamics. «Overall, Russia’s interaction with the Central Asian Five is very satisfactory. In the past five years, Russia’s trade with these countries has doubled to reach US$37.1 billion. In the first six months, our trade increased by another 16 percent. It reached US$37 billion in five years and grew by 16 percent in the first half of the year alone. Russia is the leading investor in the Central Asian economies. Overall, our direct investment is about US$5 billion,» he told the meeting.

He noted new opportunities in such areas as expanding oil transportation routes, joint development of energy reserves in the Caspian Sea, providing affordable and clean natural gas vehicle fuel, building, or expanding pipelines, and increasing the sale and shipping of coal to Asian markets.

This very intense top-level week shows the diplomatic activism of Kazakhstan. It is not a new phenomenon for the country, which has for years built a solid multi-vector policy. Located at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, Kazakhstan’s policy of openness has been firm since it gained independence in 1991 but becomes ever more important in a challenging geopolitical environment as it is now.

Conakry: Forum on national unity and peace


An article from Mosaique Guinee

The consolidation of peace and social tranquility are the only alternatives for the sustainable development of the African continent.

Conakry hosted a meeting for exchanges and sharing of experiences between opinion leaders from Guinea and those from the West African sub-region.

An initiative of the synergy of actions of the social forces of Guinea, this National and sub-regional Forum had as its theme “national unity and peace, challenges and prospects”.

For three days, Guineans, Malians, Senegalese, Burkinabe Ivorians, Nigerians, Nigeriens met in panels and focused their thoughts on the sustainability of peace and democratic achievements in the sub-region.

During the closing ceremony of this Forum, the general coordinator of the synergy of actions of the social forces of Guinea justified the approach by the fact that Guinea has been going through a situation of political instability for a year.

According to Alseny Oumar Diallo, the general coordinator of the synergy of actions of the social forces of Guinea, it is imperative to collect opinions and recommendations to serve as a guide to the national reconciliation process announced by the CNRD in Guinea.

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(Click here for the original article in French.)

Question related to this article:

Solidarity across national borders, What are some good examples?

(This article is continued from the column on the left.)

He declared, “We need recommendations from everyone. These different recommendations will be in a document called the final report. And it will serve as a guide in the process of reconciliation, dialogue and forgiveness in Guinea. That is why from the beginning we identified the sources of division in our country. Also, we sought to know the opinions of all the actors involved in the reconciliation process, to facilitate this work. This is why we have invited brother countries to share experiences and ideas with them”.

For his part, Moussa Sey Diallo from the Republic of Mali, also a spokesperson for the panelists, welcomed the holding of this workshop: “I would like to thank those who organized this synergy and who invited us to come and take part in this forum which is truly a kind of course in giving and receiving. We must go through this initiative so that Africans can rub shoulders and discover each other.”

According to him, the scope and relevance of the theme goes beyond Guinea. This is why he urged the organizers to perpetuate their actions in the sense that Guinea, which was the first French-speaking country in the sub-region to gain independence, must serve as an example.

“Guinea must initiate a lot of things to try to bring around it many other nations,” added the spokesperson for the panelists.

Present at this work, Balla Condé says he has acquired a lot of experience that can enable him to raise awareness among these citizens and manage the community. He thus promises to popularize the teachings received from the meeting among his fellow citizens. “I will make them understand who is a good citizen. What do we want for this country? And tell them about the importance of peace in a country. It is important for African peoples to build human and intellectual capacities,” he stresses.

Finally, the panelists invited the decision-makers to advocate peace and tranquility within their respective States. According to them, the culture of peace and national unity is priceless.

Gabon: Project to support the civic and political participation of young people


An article by Jerry Bibang, special to CPNN

The Pan-African Youth Network for the Culture of Peace, Gabon section (PAYNCoP Gabon) organized last weekend in Oyem, “A consultative workshop on the civic and political participation of young people in Gabon”. The activity took place on the occasion of the commemoration of the International Day of Democracy, celebrated on September 15 each year.

After Franceville in the province of Haut-Ogooué (East Gabon), Oyem in the province of Woleu-Ntem (North Gabon) was the second city to host these consultative workshops which are part of the initiative entitled “Project to support the civic and political participation of young people in Gabon.”

The activity was supported by the presence of the Provincial Governor, Mr. Jules NDJEKI, who officially launched the work, in the presence of about fifty participants, from civil society organizations and political parties, both majority and opposition.

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

Question 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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The initiative, supported by the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) in partnership with UNESCO, aims to encourage the civic and political participation of young people in Gabon, especially before, during and after the elections.

“Initially this workshop will make a diagnosis of the civic and political participation of young people in order to identify the challenges and obstacles relating to their participation. Then, it will be up to the participants to find possible solutions by making recommendations in order to improve the participation of young people in politics and also in civil society organizations. The objective is to place young people as ACTOR and not SPECTATOR in the life of their community and our country,” explained Jerry Bibang, project coordinator.

For Rachel Oyane, President of the Provincial Youth Council, “Holding this workshop coinciding with the celebration of the International Day of Democracy. It challenges us to see that democracy is not a completed process, but rather an evolving work. which involves all actors in society. In particular civil society organizations have an increasingly important role to play. It is in this sense that we welcome, once again, this project which gives voice to young people in order to reflect on the mechanisms and measures that can improve our civic and political participation”

After these consultation workshops, PAYNCoP is planning an advocacy campaign with public authorities as well as raising awareness on violence and hate speech during the election period. Training and capacity building are also planned for young people engaged in political life and in associations.

After this stage, Port-Gentil and Libreville are the next cities that will host these workshops.

Kazakhstan: Congress of World and Traditional Religious Leaders to Address Social Status of Women


An article from Astana Times

The seventh Congress of World and Traditional Religious Leaders, scheduled for Sept. 14 – 15, will hold a special session devoted to the social status of women for the first time in the congress’s 20-year history, reported the congress’s press service on Sept. 8.  (The Congress will take place in Kazakhstan’s capitol Nur-Sultan, which was renamed in 2019 from its traditional name of Astana).

The session will focus on women’s contributions to the sustainable development of modern society. It will also address the role of religious communities in advancing women’s social position.

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Questions for this article

Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

How can different faiths work together for understanding and harmony?

(continued from left column)

The speakers of this meeting include several prominent religious and public figures such as Assistant Secretary-General of the League of Arab States for Social Affairs Haifa Abu Ghazal, Bishop of Los Angeles and Metropolitan of Southern California and Hawaii of the Coptic Orthodox Church Serapion, Head of the Center for the Study of Islamic History Mahmud Erol Kilic, Art and Culture at the OIC (IRCICA), General Director of the Office of the UAE’s Ministry of Tolerance and Coexistence Afra Mohammed al-Sabri, Chairman of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of Uzbekistan Grand Mufti Nuriddin Kholiknazarov, President of the UniãoPlanetária Isis Maria Borges de Resende, and President of Christian Solidarity Worldwide Jonathan Aitken. 

The congress, which will focus on the role of leaders of the world and traditional religions in mankind’s spiritual and social development in the post-pandemic period, is expected to gather more than 100 delegations from 50 countries. Among them are representatives of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Shintoism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, and other religions, including the Head of the Catholic Church Pope Francis, Grand Imam of al-Azhar Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed El-Tayeb, and Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem. 

As part of his visit, Pope Francis will conduct an open-air holy mass  for Roman Catholics and representatives of other religions and confessions on Sept. 14 at the EXPO square. 

Madagascar: The Massive Awakening of the Youth of Toamasina


An article by Violette Ralalatiana (with two additions in italic by the CPNN editor for clarity)

The young people of Toamasina have taken their responsibility in the face of the unrest that threatens security.

Toamasina is one of the cities with the most insecurity, including burglaries and armed attacks. Many neighborhoods have suffered from these troubles, including Ambalakisoa, Verrerie, Tanambao V, etc. The inhabitants of the city of Tamatave thus live day and night in anxiety.

Young people of Ambalakisoa gathered during the curfew

The governor with the chief of the police and the gendarmerie then appealed to the chiefs of the Fonkontany (basic administrative subdivision in Madagascar) to confer on the establishment of a curfew or “andrimaso-pokonolona” in each district in order to ensure the peace. After that, the presidents of Fokontany brought together residents under their jurisdiction to discuss the feasibility of this curfew. It is really important to establish peace for the well-being of all and to have the assurance of sustainable development. There is a famous saying that says “There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development”.

(This article is continued in the column on the right.)

(Click here for the original article in French.)

Question related to this article:

Is there a renewed movement of solidarity by the new generation?

(This article is continued from the column on the left.)

Young people are the most active participants in the curfews. It is clear that they are aware of the seriousness of the situations. This motivates them to get involved in restoring humanitarian security. This is a good thing for the nation, because the Malagasy population is overwhelmingly young, 62%. They are the lever of development of our country. As these young people have done let us now stop complaining and take action. Let us take our share of responsibility for our future so that the development of our country is truly sustainable and that effective peace finally reigns.

Young people in the face of election-related unrest

For a very long time, young people have often been used by politicians or other people who want to sow conflict (such as the general strike after the 2002 elections). As young people, instead of being tools of conflict, let us try to be vectors of peace. Youth participation in peacebuilding brings us conservation, peacebuilding and national security.

There are many things that can happen before, during and after the election. And young people are in high demand. According to the testimonies collected, there are more and more young people aware of the conflicts that can arise during these periods. So they avoid arguments although they support different political parties. For them, it is the ideas that must fight and not the people.

Other young people decide not to support any political party but prefer to join an organization that works for the election like the KMF/CNOE. They integrate into this organization so that they can make their contributions to the election by raising awareness among Malagasy citizens to vote, because it is a right and an obligation too. And they take part as observers to see if fraud has been committed and to ensure that the election is going as it should.

All of this is really important, because it would be unfortunate if an electoral conflict like the general strike of January 2002 should happened again. Despite our diversity, let us always keep the peace.

(Thank you to Jay Ralitera for sending this article to CPNN)