Global Peace Leadership Conference to Build Multi-Sector Alliance for Peace in Nigeria

Eric Olsen
September 23, 2013

Sheraton Abuja Hotel  •  Abuja, Nigeria  •  November 7-9, 2013

SUB SAHARAN AFRICA IS ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST DYNAMIC REGIONS and includes six of the world’s ten fastest-growing economies.* Despite robust economic growth and increasing commitment to democratic governance across the continent, vast income disparities and ethnic and religious conflict persist. From Nigeria to the Horn of Africa, tribal violence, radical insurgency movements, and conflict between Christians and Muslims threaten sustainable peace and development.

On November 7-9, 2013, the Global Peace Foundation will host a major convening of political, religious and civil society leaders in Abuja, Nigeria to advance innovate new models for peace in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.

The Global Peace Leadership Conference in Abuja will:

  • Build a coalition of peacemakers beyond religious, political, social, and ethnic/tribal differences to promote regional and national unity, integration, and of a culture of peace;
  • Present a new approach to peace-building and development transcending economic, political and diplomatic strategies, and grounded in shared spiritual and ethical values;
  • Promote ‘whole-person’ education that can empower youths to develop character and good citi-zenship as a society’s most valuable resource;
  • Advance a Pan-African agenda for sustainable peace and development.

A key initiative of the Global Peace Leadership Conference is the launch of an AFRICAN LEADERSHIP MISSION ON PEACE BUILDING, YOUNG LEADERSHIP AND SERVICE. 

Modeled on the Latin American Presidential Mission inaugurated at the Carter Presidential Center during the 2012 Global Peace Convention in Atlanta, USA, the African Leadership Mission will engage former heads of state and research institutions in a collaborative effort to advance new approaches to peace and development in Africa.

Interfaith collaboration: a key to peace in Nigeria

GPF’s commitment to interfaith collaboration begins with recognition that faith traditions are grounded in universal values of charity, humility, and respect for others that are an essential resource for peace. Religious extremism distorts these fundamental principles and denigrates the inherent value of every person.

In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, Christians and Muslims used to live harmoniously and often intermarried. In recent years, sectarian violence has grown, prompting concerns that civil war could engulf the nation of 170 million.  It is widely recognized even by government that religious and traditional rulers play important roles in building social cohesion in Nigeria. Yet, bringing these leaders together on a neutral platform to speak in one voice has proven difficult.

In May 2013, just days after Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three states in northern Nigeria, more than 180 eminent Muslim, Christian and traditional tribal leaders from across  the country gathered for a consultative meeting to address the rising sectarian violence and social disorder in the West African nation of 170 million.

The meeting was organized by the Global Peace Foundation on the theme “The Role of Religious Leaders and Traditional Rulers in Building a Culture of Peace, National Unity and Integration,” and took place on May 16, 2013 in the capital, Abuja.

Ethnic, religious and ideologically based conflict are significant challenges confronting much of sub-Sarahan Africa. The Global Peace Leadership Conference is a critical opportunity for continental leaders to explore sustainable models that address root causes of conflict, advance meaningful opportunities for youth, and promote a vision of citizenship based on principles and values shared by diverse faiths and traditions. 

*The Economist, IMF

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