Africa Summit 2018 - Session IV: Concurrent Sessions

Session IV (A). The Role of Parliamentarians in Peacebuilding. Jacques Marion, the regional vice president of UPF for Europe, was the moderator (report provided by the session chair). On Jan 18 at 4:30 pm we had the first breakout session for parliamentarians. It was attended by about 150 MPs representing over 35 African nations. There were four panelists, two women and two men, from Senegal, Benin and Malawi, representing both French-speaking and English-speaking Africa.

Greetings on behalf of Senegal to the assembled parliamentarians were given by Hon. Alioune Badara Diouf, president of the Defense and Security Committee of the National Assembly of Senegal, who reviewed the ways his committee deals with various aspects of conflict prevention in his country.

Hon. Eric Houndete, vice president of the National Assembly of Benin, spoke about the need to strengthen the institutions for peacebuilding. He reviewed some concrete problems that parliamentarians were dealing with in Benin, from sheepherding to terrorism.

Hon. Esther Chilenje, first vice president of the National Assembly of Malawi, emphasized the need for parliamentarians to adopt a spiritual approach to preventing conflicts and to gain trust from people in their constituency.

Hon. Aida Mbodj, a member of the National Assembly of Senegal in her fourth mandate, twice minister for Family and Women’s Affairs, emphasized the role of the parliament in conflict prevention and economic development, and spoke about the importance of women parliamentarians in defending the cause of women in society.

Many comments were made by parliamentarians in the audience, who represented the specificity of each region of Africa, north, south, east and west. Recommendations were made for strengthening peacebuilding by dealing with many of the human, legal, economic or political challenges they faced in their nations. Several called on IAPP to develop a network connecting parliamentarians throughout Africa and to help with regional problems.

More recommendations that could not be expressed due to the limit of time were brought up to the rapporteur, Professor Cherif Diatta from Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, who was commissioned to record and report.

Session IV (B). The Role of Religious Leaders in Peace and Development. The co-moderators were Abdou Gaye, religious affairs advisor to the president of FFWPU-Africa; Rev. Mwalagho Kililo, the president of FFWPU-Kenya; and Dr. Oumar Thiam of Cheikh Anta Diop University, Senegal (rapporteur). Speakers addressed the role of religious leaders in peace and development to complement and counterbalance the purely secular approach.

Speakers:

Imam Moussa Dramé, the central imam of Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast, said: “We must accept other faiths in diversity. Jesus is the symbol. He didn’t distinguish between Jew and Gentile. Often we’re quick to judge others and transform others into enemies. This is contrary to God’s way. God is love. As Ambassadors for Peace, we need to work so that we can establish peace and follow what we teach. It’s the path of salvation. Peace is another word for development. If there is peace, then there is a path to development. We must go back to our role as religious leaders and establish a framework for peace and development.”

Other speakers were Archbishop Johannes Ndanga, the founder and president of the Apostolic Christian Churches of Zimbabwe; El Hadji Mansour Sy, the co-president of the World Council of Religions for Peace, Senegal; and Col. Marcellin Zannou, the founder, l'Eglise du Christianisme céleste, Benin.

Dr. Oumar Thiam of Cheikh Anta Diop University, Senegal (the rapporteur), in summarizing the session, made a number of interesting points: There is a need for cohesion of mind and body to make a culture of peace. Healthy spirit in a healthy body. “We need cooperation between religious and political bodies that goes into the renewal of the families through marriage.” To make peace substantial, there must be unity between the mind and body and through the family and marriage.

All of Senegal’s presidents have recognized the importance of religion and that religious leaders have a role to play in establishing peace in society, Dr. Thiam said. Religion in Senegal is like a spiritual energy that can lead to development, he said. The panelists emphasized prayer, teaching and to exclude extremism and crimes that are constantly attached to Islam. There was a consensus among the panelists that all religions want peace, love and cohesion. “It’s not possible to put a price on the value of peace. We need to know what is not peace in order to measure what is peace,” he said. He recommended that before we condemn others, we should examine ourselves. Likewise, before we condemn Islam because of a few extremists, we should consider our own faiths.

Session IV (C). Traditional Rulers, the New Village Movement and Sustainable Economic Development. Philbert Seka, the secretary general of UPF-Ivory Coast, was the moderator, and Dr. Abib Sène of Cheikh Anta Diop University, Senegal, was the rapporteur.

Participants assembled to discuss the New Village Movement, initiated in South Korea in the early 1970s, as a potential model for rural development programs in Africa. Launching a community-based, rural development program was the basis for Korea’s transformation. Traditional rulers and leaders had an opportunity to study the New Village Movement for lessons in sustainable development that might be applied in their respective nations.

Speakers:

His Royal Majesty King Nadiope Williams, Uganda; Chieftainess Rhoda Kapami Muwezwa, vice chair of the House of Chiefs, Zambia; Mr. Kim Eun Sang, a specialist of the coffee industry; Hon. Patricia Annie Kaliati, a member of the National Assembly of Malawi; Hon. Joseph Mwanamvekha, the minister of agriculture of Malawi.

Session IV (D). Youth Education and Nation-Building. George Ogurie, the president of FFWPU-Nigeria, was the moderator, and Dr. Mamadou Ngom of Cheikh Anta Diop University, Senegal, was the rapporteur.

The thought that the future of nations, and indeed the world, is in the hands of our young people was generally expressed by the panelists. Young people have ambition, energy and boundless dreams. Education no longer can be limited to the traditional areas of reading, writing and arithmetic. Young people need to be objective and open-minded, in addition to getting a good education and the needed marketable skill sets. Even more important, however, they need to acquire the ability to create stable, loving families and acquire good parenting capabilities.

Speakers:

Hon. Sira Ndiaye, a member of the National Assembly of Senegal; Mrs. Inderjit Rehal, the director of the Curriculum Development Department, Kenya.

Dr. Robert Kittel, the international president of Youth and Students for Peace, spoke about “The Family as the School of Love” and the “Four Family Loves: A Curriculum for Building Good Character and Loving Families.”

Mr. Conan Marc Trevor Kouame of the Regional Academy of Marine Sciences and Technologies, Ivory Coast, and Ms. Gisèle Niyitegeka Girabana, University of Val-d’Essonne, Paris, France, expounded on the Good Character and Loving Family curriculum, in particular the question “Where Do I Learn to Be Good?” They said: (1) Before being smart or popular, it is more important to be good; (2) The family is the best environment in which to learn “living for the sake of others”; and (3) Students should be encouraged to love and honor their parents.

After dinner, participants were treated to a musical performance by the HyoJeong Little Angels, who delighted everyone with traditional Korean dances and songs in French and English.

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