Rwanda tomorrow joins the rest of the world to mark the International Day of Peace with the main focus on the role of youth in peace building processes, according to the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC).
The day is marked globally annually on September 21.
It will be celebrated under the theme, “Building Blocks for Peace: The Role of the Youth in Promoting Sustainable Peace and Development.”
The day is expected to bring together several non-governmental organisations, international peace organisations, religious leaders and the local communities.
According to Fidele Ndayisaba, the executive secretary of NURC, this year is dedicated to the youth and their efforts and contribution towards peace building processes.
“The main focus of this year’s peace celebrations is on the youth. We want them to understand their role in contributing towards building sustainable peace in their communities. Several activities are slated to take place, including dialogues and peace discussions in school, a parliamentary session of youth representatives from across the country, and others in their respective communities,” Ndayisaba said at a news conference in Kigali yesterday.
He said it will also be a moment to highlight and strengthen the ideals of peace in the community, but also the time to make commitments to bring lasting solutions to challenges that are faced by different people.
“We all believe that unity is the foundation of peace. It is also a backbone of sustainable development. It is in this sense that we need to reflect on the past but also make real commitments to achieve sustainable peace and development,” Ndayisaba added.
Borrowing from President Paul Kagame’s statements, Ndayisaba reiterated that Rwandans should recommit to to, among others, unity, accountability, and thinking big.
He said Internation Peace Day is a special moment for Rwanda as it is the time when the liberation struggle began.
“October 1, this is when the peace celebration week will start. It’s a unique day in the history of our country as it is the time when the liberation struggle started. This is when Rwandans started fighting for peace,” Ndayisaba said.
Focus on SDGs
Globally, the Peace Day will be commemorated under the theme, “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.”
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are integral to achieving peace in our time, as development and peace are interdependent and mutually reinforcing, according to the United Nations.
Jean de Dieu Basabose, the executive director of Shalom Educating for Peace, said this year is a special year as the celebrations come after the world launched development commitments (SDGs).
“This year is different from the past years, because we will be commemorating peace day for the first time in history when the whole world has made commitments to achieve universal development goals,” he said.
“What should be expected, particularly in Rwanda, is to deliberate on why and how peace building can ensure sustainable development through the youth.”
Among other activities expected to take place, include a special Umuganda on a Saturday – whose date is yet to be decided –, peace discussions that will be conducted in schools and communities within the peace week, music celebrations that will bring together youth, and finally the display of the second edition of “Protectors of Friendship Pact,” locally known as “Abarinzi b’igihango”.