Greetings of peace and blessing from URI Africa. I am so happy to inform you that URI Africa and its member CC in Ethiopia Interfaith Peace-building Initiative organise at regional level the International Day of Pace and also celebrated the Year of Peace and Security in Africa at the African Union Hall. The event was cover at national, regional and international level by 23 media printed and electronic media (TV, Radio & News Papers ). Here is the detail information of the event
United Religions Initiative Africa & Interfaith Peace-building Initiative present the 2010 Peace Award of the Year in the celebration of International Day of Peace & Year of Peace and Security in Africa
Every year on 21 September the International Day of Peace is observed around the world. Established as an annual day of non-violence and ceasefire by the United Nations General Assembly under resolution 36/67, it provides an opportunity for individuals, organization and nations to commit to or engage in actions to build a culture of peace.
As peace can only be achieved through a collective effort of all stake holders, the United Nations General Assembly invited all Member States, organizations and individuals to commemorate the day, including through education and public awareness, and to cooperate with the United Nations to make it a reality.
In answering to the call of the United Nations Generally Assembly to commemorate annually September 21 as International Day of Peace and a day for global ceasefire and non-violence which United Religions Initiative (URI) and Interfaith Peace-building Initiative (IPI) have been observing every year and in welcome with great interest the initiative of the African Heads of States in declaring 2010 a Year of Peace and Security in Africa under the motto of "Make Peace Happen" to draw attention to the scourge of war and to call all African Citizens, stakeholders, institutions, partners for action in favour of peace and security in Africa United Religions Initiative Africa, Interfaith Peace-building Initiative and Ethiopian Religious Institutions in partnership with the African Union Peace and Security Commission organized a peace event at the African Union in the presence of Religious Leaders, Government Officials, Representative of African Union and United Nations agencies, Diplomatic Corps, Council of Elders, Business Communities, Representatives of NGOs, Women and Youth Associations and the Media. The Peace award of the year was also the highlight of the peace event.
The event started with the peace payer of religious leaders and faith representative in Ethiopia. On the occasion all religious leaders also read their very inspiring peace message. The message of the Secretary General of the United Nations for the Day was also read. In his message the Secretary General Ban Kim Moon said" Today we observe the annual International Day of Peace – a day dedicated to ceasefire and non-violence. Peace is precious. It must be nurtured, maintained, defended. That is why, each year on the International Day of Peace, I ring the Peace Bell at United Nations headquarters. And it is why – every day – I work for peace. I mediate between antagonists. I sound the alarm about threats – those we can see clearly, and others that lurk just over the horizon. I promote tolerance, justice and human rights, and I campaign for harmony among countries and peoples. This year, Peace Day is dedicated to young people. With just five years remaining to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, I ask all, young and old, to help us to find global solutions to these global problems. Share your plans and ideas, act with creativity and passion. Help us fight for peace and prosperity for all."
In his opening remark Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Representative of URI at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and Board Chairman of IPI after welcoming all the participants on behalf of URI and IPI members he said "The International Day of Peace is a day on which we reaffirm our commitment for peace and it is a day dedicated to ceasefire and non-violence. It is a day in which citizen of the world could join hand together and stand for peace. It is also a day in which we nurture a culture of peace in the world as nurturing a culture of peace calls for efforts at all levels to promote intercultural and inter-religious understanding and this is what URI and its member organization in Ethiopia IPI is doing since their establishment."
He further said "Religions have a great role in society to play for peace, ethics, moral values, co-existence, environmental protection to promote reconciliation where the painful experiences of the past have brought divisiveness and hatred, to eradicate poverty by encouraging the implementation of Millennium Development Goals, and strive for social and economic justice. As true Culture of Peace can be founded upon the heritage of religious and spiritual traditions different religions should come together and play a major role in helping reduce conflict and in addressing the critical needs of humankind. They should be a healing force in the world and this is what URI is working to address on a daily base through out the world"
He added that "URI & IPI believe that Inter-religious dialogue and intercultural understanding are integral part of the effort to translate shared values into actions and constitute important dimensions of the constructive Dialogue among civilizations"
H.E. Dr. Jean Ping, Chairperson of African Union Commission, through H.E. Mr. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the Commission, said peace must be fostered through innovative and inclusive partnership at all levels. The chairperson said "in Africa, conflicts have caused a combined economic capital loss of around 300 billion U.S. dollars since 1990. He said it is only when women and men, civil society and the private sector, join hands with governments and relevant international institutions that permanent peace would be reality. Though the picture is improving because of major strides by African leaders, a lot should be done to bring peace to every corner of the continent."
Speaking on his part, H.E. Mr. Lamtane Lamamra, AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, said although the African continent still wrestles with the challenge of winning permanent peace for its people, substantial gains have been made in the pursuit of peace for Africa. The commissioner said the peaceful and successful electoral processes held in Ethiopia and other AU member states are the fruits of efforts employed to ensure democracy and good governance in Africa. These victories and success, he said, serve as a great milestone in the Africans' journey towards a conflict-free Africa. "This year alone we have celebrated peaceful popular participation in a number of AU member states, such as the elections in Burundi, Guinea Bissau, Ethiopia, Sudan and Rwanda," he said.
Speaking on his part, H.E. Amb. Mohamoud Drir, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Ethiopia, said Ethiopia is a blessed country where different religions co-exist peacefully, in mutual respect, and supporting one another. He said as human being we all should stand in unison for peace not only in our own country, but also in countries of our neighbors and beyond. The minister appreciated the effort of Interfaith Pace-building Initiative and United Religions Initiative Africa for organizing the event.
In her message sent for the occasion a noted Comparative Religious Studies Scholar Karen Armstrong who is also a Goodwill Ambassador of The Golden Rule said "I want to thank Ambassador Mussie Hailu for his energetic and dedicated work in spreading the news of the Charter for Compassion, which was launched last year. He has been a noble and tireless envoy. Thanks to him, April 5th will henceforth be Golden Rule Day, an annual opportunity to reflect on the principle that lies at the heart of all religious, spiritual and moral traditions: “Never treat others as you would not wish to be treated yourself.” The Golden Rule requires us to look into our own histories and our own hearts, recall what has given us pain, and then refuse under any circumstance whatsoever to inflict that pain upon anybody else. The Golden Rule requires us to work energetically for justice, peace and respect among and within nations. She further said in her message unless we learn to treat all peoples, all nations, as we would wish to be treated ourselves, taking their aspirations as seriously as we take our own, it is unlikely that we will have a viable world to hand on to the next generation.
URI Africa & IPI established the Peace Award of The Year program to recognize the committed, effective leadership that is currently being exercised to bring sustainable peace in the continent. The Africa Peace Award celebrates, acknowledges and honors the accomplishments of individuals or organization who have exhibited extraordinary leadership to build a culture of peace, reconciliation and harmony. The Award helps to create role models of peace-builders throughout Africa. This year the award was presented to
- Ato Mammo Wudenh in appreciation and acknowledgment of his life time social contribution and commitment in promoting ethics, moral values, culture of peace, trust building, creating awareness in all aspect of life through his writings and for being a living example in walking the talking
- Rotary in appreciation and acknowledgment of the outstanding voluntary service under the motto of service above self in working together across borders and culture locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health & sanitation, provide education, promote peace, world understanding, goodwill and eradicate polio
- African Union in appreciation and acknowledgment of its outstanding effort in promoting peace, security, good governance, defending the common positions on issue of interest to the continent and for its work in peace keeping mission, the settlement of existing conflict and pursing conflict prevention efforts and early warning systems, combating terrorism and disarmament issue
- Mr. Jeremy Gilley (a British peace activist) in appreciation and acknowledgment of his outstanding contribution in promoting the culture of peace and for his tireless efforts to create an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence on the UN International Day of Peace, fixed in the global calendar on 21st September which we also celebrate every year. Thanks for his call and effort that this is now a day of global unity, a day of inter-cultural cooperation and a day people from all over the world join hands together as Citizens of the World to bring their voice for peace and better world for all. Jeremy couldn't make it to come as he is organizing in UK a peace event. The award will be send to him.
On this occasion URI & IPI would like to reconfirm their partnership with the United Nations and the African Union to work for peace, interfaith cooperation and development and both organizations upholds strongly the purpose of the United Nations and the African Union. URI and IPI would like also to register their thanks to the UN for its commitment in promoting dialogue on Inter-religious and intercultural understanding and cooperation for peace. Both organizations also would like to thank and express their appreciation to the African Union and The Council of African Religious Leaders for launching the African Interfaith Dialogue Forum.
On the occasion of the celebration of the day URI and IPI call upon
- the Secretary-General of the UN to continue to bring the promotion of inter-religious dialogue to the attention of all Governments, regional organizations and relevant international organizations, including ways to strengthen the linkages and focus more on practical actions in the implementation of the initiatives on inter-religious dialogue and cooperation for peace;
- world religious leaders to exercise their moral persuasion for the elimination of nuclear weapons and prevent the greatest environmental catastrophe as the threat posed to humanity and all other forms of life by the destructiveness of nuclear weapons for this and future generations is high.
- all members' states of the UN to develop curriculums, textbooks and activities that teach the Golden Rule, cultural and religious tolerance and ways of resolving Conflicts peacefully
- all member states of the United Nations to endorse the Golden Rule Proclamation proclaimed by Interfaith Peace-building Initiative
- Mayors of the world to join hand with Mayors for Peace Movement to strives to raise international public awareness regarding the need to abolish nuclear weapons and contributes to the realization of genuine and lasting world peace
URI Africa and IPI express their commitment to work closely with Africa Union and its member's countries to bring religions, faith-based organizations, interfaith organizations to work toward building trust, conflict resolution, promoting the Golden Rule, a culture of peace, reconciliation, environmental protection, and creating awareness on the need of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.
URI and IPI are interfaith peace organizations working to end religiously motivated violence and promote enduring daily interfaith cooperation, a culture of peace, healing and justice for the Earth and all living beings. URI has special consultative status with Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. It has official representative in New York at the UN and the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. IPI is also affiliated to United Nations through Department of Pubic Information
MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH