Africa University (Zimbabwe) Africa University and UNDP host landmark International Day of Peace commemorations
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Africa University through the Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance , jointly commemorated the International Day of Peace on the 29th of September at the main campus in Mutare with members of staff, students, government and the community participating in a public lecture series that brought together the foremost minds and thought leaders in the peace and governance space.
Held under the theme , “Ending racism, building peace, “ open dialogue and tough introspection on how the continent can move the cause for racial tolerance and the pursuit of peace globally were held with the aim of developing mechanisms to ensure that speaking about peace and how to achieve it moves beyond the realm of idealism and into reality. Featured speakers included Interim Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Pamela Machakanja and Tim Murithi , Head of the Peacebuilding Interventions Programme at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, in Cape Town, South Africa .
Professor Pamela Machakanja said in her opening remarks, ” There is a cost to not talking. We know that conflict is inevitable but dialogue is important. Through dialogue, we grow and develop as a community. Peace should always be the ultimate goal. We are called to action to propagate peace. In this regard, we appreciate the time and regard shown by our partners in this event.”
Dr. Zebulon Takwa who was representing the UNDP Country Representative Ms. Mia Seppo said that the International Day of Peace is a day where the world observes 24 hours of non- violence and ceasefire.
“We need to address the root cause of inequality and work towards building peaceful and inclusive communities. We have seen race- based discrimination at country boarders, COVID-19 opened fractures of racism through the rise of vaccine nationalism. Sporting events are also not spared of the scourge. We must lend our support to movements that raise up human rights and expose hate speech both on and offline. We are here to deepen the discussion on how racism undermines institutions and lasting peace. It is our hope that discussions held today and in the future will bring us closer to the realization of peace. “
Dr. Takwa went on to call upon the youth of the continent as custodians of Africa’s collective future to ensure the propagation of peace and the resolution of conflict.
“I call on you to imbibe the qualities of peace and encourage active dialogue. The beauty and grandeur your respective countries lies in your diversity . We appreciate the longstanding relationship that Africa University has had with the United Nations as we create platforms for common ground.”
Africa University’s Institute of Peace Leadership and Governance housed within the College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance has since its inception been a leader in the peace building arena creating platforms for key stakeholders, players in the development sector, governments and lay people to dialogue and openly deliberate on issues that present challenges to lasting peace at all levels .