On January 20th, the ‘2024 HWPL Africa Unity New Year’s Meeting’ was hosted by the international peace organization, HWPL, in various African countries. HWPL organized the event to facilitate discussions on peace activities, collaborating with IPYG officials from each African country to actively encourage their participation in peacebuilding efforts on the continent. The event, conducted through an online ZOOM meeting, saw the participation of 20 African dignitaries, including representatives from South Sudan, Sudan, Rwanda, and HWPL IPYG team members. Together, they discussed the peace activity plans for the year 2024.
In many countries across Africa, autocrats continue to seize power, and coups and civil wars persist. The continent grapples with harsh environments, political instability, as well as ethnic and religious conflicts. Despite these challenges, numerous African youth organizations collaborating with HWPL and IPYG have been actively conducting various peace initiatives both online and offline.
Recognizing the need to prepare peace projects suitable for the post-COVID era, HWPL had discussions with the african individuals to plan diverse peace activities and to address the pressing issues facing the continent in the perspective of peacebuilding, acknowledging the critical moment to bring African leaders together.
At the New Year’s Meeting, HWPL presented the results of peace activities conducted in Africa in 2023, along with the peace activity plans for 2024. As part of the New Year HWPL peace activities, they first introduced HWPL’s three major events – the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War Commemoration on March 14th, the Peace Walk on May 25th, and the Peace Summit on September 18th. Additionally, they introduced the Youth Empowerment Peace Class (YEPC) and a Peace Documentary Screening.
YEPC, an educational program under IPYG, has been planned to address the lack of educational opportunities faced by youth worldwide who are practitioners of peace. This NGO-driven education program aims to provide education for citizens worldwide, including youth. Initially, through the IPYG Youth Empowerment Peace Workshop, global youth opinions on the necessary education were gathered and subsequently the IPYG Youth Empowerment Peace Class platform was established, offering courses on HWPL peace education, global citizenship education, youth health education, and parent education.
Furthermore, HWPL has also produced a documentary titled “Great Heritage – Africa Edition,” showcasing successful instances of peace education initiatives actively conducted in Africa. Through screening this peace documentary to university students and youth across various African countries, HWPL aims to share successful cases of peace activities, educate young people about the spirit of peace, and contribute to promoting a culture of peace.
Patrice Nsengiyumva, Foundation Saint Dominique Savio (FSDS) and Chief Director, from Rwanda, expressed gratitude for the invitation and passionate involvement in the event for peace saying “Despite some participants facing difficulties with internet connectivity, it was a successful gathering. The presentations were also interesting and concise. Let’s unite as peace messengers and work together. Unity for peace is our strength, and our voices will be heard beyond borders.”
Florien Misago, Foundation Saint Dominigue Savio (FSDS) and Chief Derector, from Rwanda, expressed gratitude for the invitation, saying “Despite communication challenges due to the internet, it was good to gather together.”
Jean Paul NDEMEYE, Youth Led Musical Therapy (YLMT) and Deputy legal Representative, from Rwanda, said, “The event was great, and I would like to share our projects for peace promotion.”
Participants in the 2024 HWPL Africa Unity New Year’s Meeting recognized the need for mutual cooperation among dignitaries and HWPL’s peace activities for the development and peace-building of African nations. Going forward, African leaders are expected to join HWPL and IPYG, not only in YEPC but also in a broader range of peace activities, contributing collectively to building and sustaining peace.