The Global Peace Leadership Conference 2018 East Africa/Great Lakes Region hosted in Kampala, Uganda, highlighted the potential of African countries as models of peacebuilding and sustainable development.
More than a thousand regional and international educators, business leaders, clerics, presidents, parliamentarians, plus civil society and youth leaders from 16 countries including the United States, India, Nigeria, South Korea, Tanzania, and Kenya, examined critical regional and national factors to achieving peace and prosperity.
The two-day conference held on August 1-2 was co-convened by the Republic of Uganda, the Global Peace Foundation, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the Inter-religious Council of Uganda, and the Private Sector Foundation Uganda.
Through roundtables, plenary sessions and breakout sessions, the conference explored innovative approaches in key areas of Transforming Education, Interfaith Peacebuilding and Prevention of Identity-based Conflict, Women-led Initiatives for Peace and Development, Entrepreneurship and Investment as Catalysts for Peace and Development, Youth Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Service.
In his opening remarks, Uganda Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda reflected on the timeliness of the conference theme, “Moral and Innovative Leadership: New Models for Sustainable Peace and Development.” “It echoes the urgent call for countries to build consensus on responses towards pressing regional challenges guided by a shared vision, principles, aspirations, and innovative value-based approaches to peace building, security and development.” The Global Peace Leadership Conferences (GPLC) is a strategic summit for experts, policymakers, and civil society leaders, to build consensus on effective responses to urgent challenges based on a framework of shared vision and values.
In his keynote at the High-Level Plenary for heads of state and representatives from East African nations, including South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, Dr. Hyun Jin Preston Moon, founder and chairman of the Global Peace Foundation, acknowledged the potential of Africa, while calling for moral and innovative leadership in all levels of society as Africa takes the lead in pioneering new approaches peace and development.
“Africa is a continent vibrant with possibilities. There is vast potential in your great resources, a noble, spiritual and cultural heritage, and a large youth population yearning for a future of peace and prosperity,” he said. “To tackle the obstacles before us that undermine peace and development we need, at every level – from the highest echelons of government to the smallest village community – leadership that is both moral and innovative.”
H.E. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and honorary chairman of the conference, was awarded the Global Peace Leadership Award, recognizing his leadership in peace efforts in the Great Lakes Region and beyond. In his acceptance remarks, he gave recognition to the people of Uganda for their collective efforts to build peace in the region, “This recognition is for all Ugandans.”
The conference featured a special Parliamentary Session, at which national legislators addressed the challenges and opportunities in peace and development in Africa and the world. The session brought together Korean and African leaders to discuss common concerns such as the prospects of peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula and developing new models of sustainable economic development.
Also highlighted was the One Family Under God Peacebuilding Campaign, a project of GPF Nigeria now in its fifth year that engages religious and spiritual leaders and civil society partners to counter violent extremism and foster community-level social cohesion through partnerships and grassroots programs that stress universal principles and shared values. The campaign brings together Muslim and Christian leaders and traditional rulers to reconcile religious and ethnic divisions by drawing on the respect and authority of faith leaders to uphold values deeply embedded in faith traditions.
The Kampala Peace Declaration, signed at the close of the conference, cited the conference outcomes and ongoing programs and partnerships to advance peace and development towards the UN 2030 Agenda for peace and development.
The conference highlighted five important tracks including:
- Transforming Education
- Interfaith Peacebuilding and Prevention of Identity-based Conflict
- Women-led Initiatives for Peace and Development
- Entrepreneurship and Investment as Catalysts for Peace and Development
- Youth Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Service
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