Rwanda, for the first time, joins the world to celebrate the International Day of Peace. The event to mark the day was officially launched yesterday by Eugene Munyakayanza, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Amahoro National Stadium.
The event, which provides an opportunity to inspire individuals and empower communities to celebrate victories for peace that have been won throughout the year, and to re-dedicate commitment to work for a more peaceful, just and sustainable world all year long, was graced by local artists and attended by government and United Nations officials among others.
Munyakayanza observed that Rwanda has demonstrated strong commitment to the promotion of peace and security both at home and abroad through peacekeeping missions.
“Rwanda provides the international community with the unique example of how a country having emerged from genocide, can negotiate a peaceful transition based on its own home grown strategies including institutions such as Gacaca,” Munyakayanza said.
Rwanda, he said, has long understood the direct link between poverty and conflict. Munyakayanza reminded the audience of President Paul Kagame’s message outlining that as long as Rwandans are impoverished, underemployed or dependent on others for assistance, unity, reconciliation and national reconstruction will not be possible because people can not look to the future with confidence when they are impoverished.
Munyakayanza who observed that Rwanda had taken remarkable strides towards realizing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), said that the Rwanda Peace Academy will be established in Musanze District next year, to share the country’s experience in peace building with the rest of the world and contribute to international research on peace-building.
The event was celebrated under the theme “Youth, Peace and Development”.
Aurelien Agbenonci, the United Nations Resident Coordinator urged the youth to play a key role in bringing about sustainable peace.
“Without peace there is no development and to realize this (peace) youth need to be at the forefront,” Agbenonci said, adding that Rwanda is on the right path to development.
The International Day of Peace was first celebrated in 1981 when the United Nations General Assembly declared, in a resolution sponsored by the United Kingdom and Costa Rica the third Tuesday of September (the opening day of regular sessions of the General Assembly) as the International Day of Peace devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace.
In 2001, however, the day was changed from the third Tuesday to September 21.