Kenya Commemorates International Day of Peace with Multi-Sector Celebration

Eric Olsen
September 30, 2011

Government of Kenya Awards Peace Prize to GPF Kenya Co-Chair, Dr. Manu Chandaria

Dr. Manu Chandaria (top far left) receives a peace award from Minister of Internal Security Professor George Saitoti, while other dignitaries are recognized Below: entertainment at the International Day of Peace.

Efforts to build national cohesion in Kenya have been underway since ethnic violence destabilized the country following the 2007 presidential elections. Kenya has made tremendous gains, most importantly the promulgation of a new constitution that embraces diversity and awards all Kenyans the fundamental rights (social, economic and political) and liberties of citizenship.

In acknowledgement of the milestones Kenya has attained since the signing of the National Accord and Reconciliation Act in 2008, the National Steering Committee on Peace Building and Conflict Management in conjunction with the Government of Kenya, Global Peace Foundation, the UNDP, Peacenet, Partnership for Peace and other NGO’s and community based organizations hosted the National Peace Forum and commemorated the International Day of Peace on September 21-22.  The forum and commemoration on this year’s theme, “Sustainable Peace: a Role for all Kenyans,”  were held at the  Kenyatta International Conference Center in Nairobi.

The National Peace Forum provided a platform for both government and civil society representatives from all over the country to share best practices, engage in partnership building and social integration, and identify ways in which Kenyans can address their internal challenges without resorting to violence. Participants focused on various themes, including transitional justice, peace and security, media and peace, the role of the private sector in peace building, and religion and peace.

The International Day of Peace, an annual event commemorated on the September21, attracted over 300 delegates from 47 counties in the country. Minister of Internal security Professor George Saitoti was the guest of honor, and other invited dignitaries included Minister of Justice Mutula Kilonzo, Deputy Chairlady of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission Mary Onyango, and Permanent Secretary of Internal Security Francis Kimemia.

Top: the vacant lot a of burned school during the post-election violence; Below: a newly constructed classroom.

The highlight of the day was the presentation of Peace Awards by the government to individuals, institutions and organizations who have contributed to the consolidation, maintenance, and enhancement of peace in the country.  Among the awarded delegates were GPF Kenya Co- Chair Dr. Manu Chandaria, Dekha Ibrahim Abdi, Eng. Patrick Obath and Abdi Rahoy.

The peace award was conferred on Dr. Chandaria in recognition in the role he continues to play in advancing a peaceful, secure and cohesive society. The criteria for the awards included courage either to face physical danger or to put one’s personal interests at risk; creativity and openness to new initiatives; consistency; the ability to replicate efforts in other areas;  respect for human rights; and a diversification of approaches in promoting peace.

As co-chair of GPF Kenya, Dr. Chandaria has initiated programs in a number of schools in Rift Valley, an area of heightened ethnic tensions. He has initiated partnerships through youth groups in the area, and also works with churches in support of character education. Dr. Chandaria also co-hosted the November 2010 Global Peace Convention and International Young Leader’s Summit in Nairobi on the theme “Conflict Resolution, Peace and Development.”

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