African Students Brainstorm Suggest Solutions to Conflicts at African Peace Summit
The world peace initiative has organized an African Peace Summit for African Young Leaders in Nairobi Kenya. Ezekiel Efeobhokhan (600 level Pharmacy), UNIBEN was among the delegates invited. He writes.
From different cultural diversities and backgrounds, delegates from all around Africa gathered in Nairobi, Kenya to find a lasting solution to conflicts ravaging the Africa continent. The four (4) days summit which held at the Kenyatta University, Nairobi probed into the integral parts of sustainable peace in Africa.
Speaking at the opening day the Director of the World Peace Initiative, Worakate Thangsurkbul, gave the reason why this year’s summit was important and why Nairobi was chosen for the summit. She gave the brief while addressing the Kenyans present on their next Kenya general elections.
“This is the first ever Africa Peace summit. Its interesting fact to see many enthusiastic people from all walks of life engage in discussions in the purpose of identifying a lasting solution to the conflict problems in Africa. The peace project is one which can be started and achieved and it all begins with you and me. Mentoring a culture of peace within the youth”.
She, however, continued to encourage young persons that sustaining peace is not a task that cannot be achieved. According to her, peace begins with every individual. “Peace in and Peace out”. If anyone has peace within that individual will no doubt give peace to others.
Giving a presentation was Daniel Nwaeze, a young leader from Nigeria also representing the African Youth Movement. He spoke on ‘the role of media in peace building’. Daniel told the delegates present how they as young leaders could use the media in fostering peace and ending conflicts.
According to him, “if terrorist groups can use media for terrorism, and violent extremism youths can use it for peace building and counter violent extremism. The media can shape perceptions, move people towards action and call government to attention as we saw with #Bringbackourgirls in Nigeria.”
Having noticed religion as a major cause of conflict in Africa, another session saw the presence of various religious leaders who spoke on the intricacies of their various religion. Present were LP Pasura a monk, Mohamed Diini and a Catholic priest Selvam Sahaya. Leaders from divers religions. They all agreed that the concept of spirituality in religion has been relegated hence extremism exist, who take every religion and try to impose them on others. They all argued for the spiritual essence of every religion and called on religious preachers to preach for spirituality which will be more essential for sustenance of peace.
Giving his keynote speech, Dr. Umar Johnson, urged the young African leaders to place themselves where they can be in position of leadership in order to steer Africa out of its currently poverty stricken state. He urged the youth present to see Africa as a single entity and not divided. He encouraged them to give to developing their community and not seeking to travel out of the continent because according to him life outside Africa is not as encouraging and soothing as everyone sees it.
Commenting on the event was Molinge Henry Regional Coordinator- Central and West Africa, World Peace Initiative Foundation. He stated that all Africans are one people. He opined that there exists a lot of similarities between the African communities.
His words; “A lot of similarities in cultures exist among us when we get closer and take the time to know one another. What you know is an atom compared to what you do not know. Hence in order to make peace, we should try to listen carefully to understand people’s view point before concluding and not just being defensive. Tribalism isn’t so different from racism and that we need to judge people based on the content of their character and not their origin or color of skin. Henry also opined that Peace was always possible if it starts from within and we can train our mind to achieve this through the practice of meditation. Adding that young people have the potential to be the leaders of today and not tomorrow only if they can learn to see themselves as teammates rather than competitors
The climax of the event was the presentation of the African Peace builder Award to Arielle Ahouansou from Benin. Arielle AHOUANSOU is 23 years old medical doctor from Benin (Republic). She has a strong passion for leadership growth and has been working with Benin youths through the NGO she founded (REFELD BENIN) which has given educational materials to 2000 children through the project Illuminate Life of 2000 children. Her passion for peace and sharing knowledge made her a worthy candidate for this award.
Speaking to our reporter, Arielle stated how she felt when she was honored for her projects. Her words; “I am grateful to God who permitted this victory. I am also grateful to that great community especially to my fiancé who supported me and permitted me to win, it’s a great sign of love and consideration. I am definitively aware of the fact that I have to give back to my community by investing more of myself in that community in order to help them experience real inner peace. That will be my new commitment to let them know that they did right by supporting me like they did.”