The two-day First Africa Summit for Peace, Security and Sustainable Development, held in Dakar, Senegal, in January 2018, attracted some 1,200 participants and more than 100 speakers.
The conference began with the National Anthem of Senegal sung by the Little Angels Children’s Folk Ballet of Korea and interfaith prayers by Imam Cheikh Ahmed Tidiane Ciss (Senegal) and Archbishop Johannes Ndanga (Zimbabwe).
Cheikh Mansour Diouf, president of the Africa Summit 2018 Steering Committee, thanked Universal Peace Federation (UPF) co-founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon as living “for peace and only for peace that she would like to share with all of humankind.” He thanked Senegal President, H.E. Macky Sall, for convening the summit as an expression of his devotion to peace and also many members of the Senegalese government, traditional chiefs and youth leaders who lent their support to the event.
H.E. Dr. Nizar bin Obaid Madani, the minister of state for foreign affairs of Saudi Arabia, spoke about his nation’s efforts to promote dialogue and realize peace and justice. The country stands against terrorism and extremism, he said. “We all believe in the ideals of peace and freedom. Saudi Arabia has a Public Investment Fund, which supports joint African-Arab projects for human development, fighting poverty, solving conflict and standing against terrorism.”
H.E. Dioncounda Traor, president of Mali (2012-2013) and Africa co-chair of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP), said that while the topic of peace has been tackled in many forums, UPF takes the unique approach that we are one human family created by God. Africa needs the will and determination to be the “New Africa,” the president said. “New governance — leaders, local partners and international — and countries that uphold universal values, particularly integrity and honesty, are needed to guide the continent forward.”
H.E. Mahamane Ousmane, president of Niger (1993-1996), said collective efforts to promote peace through interfaith dialogue are “crucial for peace and to empower the family as the foundation for the society. Africa cannot develop without peace.”
H.E. Maria Des Neves, prime minister (2002-2004), second vice president of the National Assembly of Sao Tom and Principe, stressed education, especially for youth and women. “Educating the women is educating the universe,” she said.
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, known as “the mother of Afghan education” and a Sunhak Peace Prize laureate (2017), spoke about her work with the Afghan Institute of Learning and the education of millions of children and women, especially those who are refugees.
Dr. Robert Kittel, president of Youth and Students for Peace, addressed the importance of character education and family values in nations.
Mr. Ok Gil Kim of the Korean Saemaul Headquarters (New Village Movement), talked about applying to African communities similar methods of cooperative activity that South Koreans used in the 1960s to rebuild their country after the devastation of the Korean War.
Dr. Michael Glantz, director of the Consortium for Capacity Building at the University of Colorado and an associate member of the International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences (ICUS), addressed the effects of climate change and its potential to unite nations to counter common problems.
Dr. Thomas Walsh, chair of UPF International and chair of the World Peace Road Foundation, reported on the International Highway Project (Peace Road), a visionary call for nations to build a superhighway, free of tariffs and passports, to link the globe. This project was proposed in 1981 by Rev. Sun Myung Moon as a key element of a peaceful and free world.
Hon. Eric Houndete, vice president of the National Assembly of Benin, spoke about the need to strengthen the institutions for peacebuilding and outlined some concrete challenges that parliamentarians were facing in Benin.
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.
Interfaith cooperation stressed
More than 150 religious leaders attended the summit, and several addressed a session on faith and peace.
Imam Moussa Dram, the central imam of Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast, stressed the need for interfaith work, saying, “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.”
Dr. Oumar Thiam of Cheikh Anta Diop University, Senegal, said, “We need cooperation between religious and political bodies that goes into the renewal of the families through marriage.”
Other speakers were Archbishop Johannes Ndanga, the founder and president of the Apostolic Christian Council 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 cleste, Benin.
3 peace initiatives launched
The historic First Africa Summit concluded with the launch of three important peace initiatives, including:
•The International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) Africa and Senegal’s national IAPP chapter.
Since the IAPP was founded on Feb. 15, 2016, at the National Assembly of Korea, IAPP chapters have been inaugurated in more than 70 nations. Thousands of parliamentarians have participated in events to discuss innovative solutions to poverty, income inequality, job creation, environmental protection, youth education, and threats to human development and security. H.E. Moustapha Niasse, president of the National Assembly of Senegal, told the summit that it was essential that women participate in peace and conflict resolution in Africa.
•The Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD).
Founded in 2017 in Korea at UPF’s International Leadership Conference, IAPD is an organization which, according to its own resolution, “affirms the unique and essential role that religions are called to play in bringing about a world of lasting peace, a world in which people of all nationalities, ethnicities, races, cultures, and worldviews live together in mutual respect, harmony and cooperation, as one family under God.”
Bishop Odette Kouman, the founder of the International Mission of Grace, Ivory Coast, said: “New Africa means that we are not going to reconstruct Africa. We need to have another vision. As the cradle of humankind, Africa has a heavy responsibility to bear. We need to create a climate of peace. If we don’t put God at the center, how can we achieve our objectives?”
Archbishop Christopher Tusubita of Uganda said: “Peace cannot be achieved without the will to offer good governance. The IAPD should work with the government so the citizens can choose their leaders in free and fair elections Religious leaders should be able to talk on behalf of the people. Only through free elections will Africa have development There are 1.5 million refugees from South Sudan, DR Congo, Somalia and Burundi in Uganda. This is due to bad government in their countries.”
Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, the president of the Christian Association, Nigeria, said: “All religions preach peace. Peace eludes us. Each day we hear of more violence. What is wrong? We, the religious leaders of this generation, if we were preaching the right direction and guidance, there wouldn’t be violence in the streets. I challenge the religious leaders. We must give to our followers the words and the means which will culminate with peace. If we are going to have peace in Africa, there must be right education in our churches, mosques and places of worship.”
El-Hadj Sultan Ibrahi Mbombo, senator, Cameroon and King of Bamoun noted that “poverty can undermine human morality.” Quoting President Macky Sall’s remarks that “Africa is not poor,” he said, “(Africa) has enormous natural resources and economic potential to protect it from poverty. It is up to us and us alone to do everything to use them properly.” He denounced all forms of terrorism and defended the Islamic faith. “Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. I am a devout Muslim myself, and when I observe certain acts of these criminals, I am certain that we do not read the same Qur’an, since nowhere in this Holy Book, in no verse, is it asked to rape women, to take people as hostages, to slaughter people and to blow up children with bombs claiming to defend the cause of Islam.”
•International Association of Chiefs for Peace and Prosperity (IACPP).
Traditional rulers are the custodians of land, people and traditions. They are highly respected and honored among their people. By working together, centering on the universal principles of peace, they play a critical role in protecting the institution of the family and social harmony as well as the purity of the environment.
Chief Theko Khoabana, Kingdom of Lesotho, said, “Together we shall bring a new Africa; united we stand, divided we fall. … Most of Africa was invented in 1960 when 17 African nations gained their independence. Each country has been independent for almost 60 years. Where does Africa stand economically and socially in the eyes of the world? No African can walk anywhere in the world with their head held high. We are told this is a continent with vices, crime and corruption. That must change. It is important that we protect our lands from misuse and sale to foreign entities. All we have is the land. Land does not grow, but the population does.”
H.E. Agbyom Kodjo, prime minister of Togo (2000-2002), called for Africa, the cradle of humanity, to become a continent “proud of its identity and its authentic values.” He said that “Africa is a powerful continent in all respects,” however, “the soil, the subsurface and the seabed contain enormous wealth that fuels the greed of the Western powers.” He described the mission and role of Africa as a mother “to serve humanity and amaze the world.”
Rt. Hon. Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, Speaker of the National Assembly of Ghana, said, “Africa is facing a new paradigm; the problem is that most of Africa still follows the old colonial paradigm, which is that Africa would produce the raw materials and the colonial powers would produce the finished products. The new paradigm must see Africa with its own industry and be self-sufficient.”
Cheikh Mansour Diouf read the Dakar Peace Declaration, which was unanimously approved and adopted by the participants.
• This article is excerpted from a report by Dr. William Selig and Dr. Robert Kittel, both of UPF International, published in January 2018. For more details, please go to upf.org.