GPF Uganda Director Mr.Milton Kambula boldly called for new approaches to peace building in Uganda that emphasize shared values and human aspirations in a keynote address in commemoration of 2013 International Day of Peace. Recalling one of the founding principles of GPF, Mr. Kambula said sustainable peace is “based on the realization that all people share one spiritual origin and heritage and belong to one family under God.”
Some 3000 people gathered in the Bunyoro-Rwenzori region of Western Uganda on September 21 for the event. The region has been plagued with ethnic, tribal and religious conflict in recent years. The discovery of huge, commercially viable oil and gas deposits has caused tensions, while a sharp increase in population has led to severe land shortage among the more than 34 different tribes living in this region. HIV/AIDS, poverty and youth unemployment also contribute to conflict and instability.
GPF Uganda joined the Government of Uganda, Bunyoro Kingdom, Rwenzururu Kingdom, regional NGOs, and religious and educational institutions to host the program on September 21, 2013, on the theme “Education for Peace.”
In his address Mr. Kambula stressed the importance of relevant education and the need to enhance soft skills that better prepare young people for the work force. He encouraged schools to implement GPFs Character and Creativity Initiative (CCI) and peace education. CCI focuses on improving education curricula, fostering academic achievement, improving institutional culture, and connecting schools to the work place and the community.
“On this International Day of Peace, let us pledge to teach our children the value of tolerance and mutual respect. Let us invest in the schools and teachers that will build a fair and inclusive world that embraces diversity.” – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Uganda’s State Minister for Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon. Min. Matiya Kashyejja, and Minister of the Bunyoro Region, Hon. Min. Kiiza Ernest, also addressed the event and discussed government programs on education, agriculture and health that can contribute to stability and economic development in Western Uganda.
In addition to the International Day of Peace program on September 21, 2013, parents and community leaders participated in a week of activities organized by GPF Uganda and partners to promote interfaith collaboration and social cohesion through greater engagement across religious and ethnic boundaries.
As part of GPF Uganda’s follow-up to the International Day of Peace, the Clean Cook Stove Project, which prevents indoor air pollution in rural villages, will continue to expand in the region. The Project is expected to spread into villages in the districts of Kibaale and Nakasongola.
Global Peace Foundation Kenya also observed International Day of Peace with programs at the Aga-khan Academy and Embakasi Girls Secondary School in Nairobi.
The United Nations General Assembly established the International Day of Peace by unanimous vote in 1981, in part, “to devote a specific time . . . to promoting the ideals of peace and to giving positive evidence of commitment to peace in all viable ways.”