Learning to Live Together in Peace

15 May 2023

Barbershop in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, transformed into a peace library for children.

Barbershop Library

From this encounter, The Peace Library for Children was born in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.

This library is a safe space for face-to-face intercultural-interfaith interaction with deep listening and educational training to discover human oneness. Children are encouraged to love reading and learn to work together, as well as see themselves as local peacemakers.

Children engage in “soul-talk” topics like fear and anxiety related to bullying, sexual harassment, isolation, and rejection. Through reading books, quiet times, and conversation, they learn meditation, the benefits of quietness, good listening, and how to balance their emotions.

One day kids in my neighborhood were playing around in my barbershop. I was about to shout to them to leave the barber tools alone.  Then, I remembered I had books I could bring to make a connection with the kids. Amazingly, the kids dropped my tools and began to play with the books and ask me questions.

James Offuh is a highly esteemed local and global peace educator, founder of the Children’s Peace Library, and a local barber in the community of Abobo-te in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.  He is the founder and president of United for Peace Against Conflict International (UFPACI), a Cooperation Circle of URI, that is credited with the reconciliation of two tribes entrenched in rivalry. UFPACI undertakes projects that invite alienated people to engage in heart-to-heart dialogue that emphasizes “listening to learn.”

With a vision and mission rooted in deep faith in God, The Children’s Library working with UFPACI is creating a peaceful transformation that shows the world that learning to live together in peace is possible.