Celebrated by the UNESCO Office in Abidjan and the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Foundation for Peace Research (FHB Foundation) on Monday, September 21, 2020, the International Day of Peace had as its theme: “Shaping Peace Together: Today and Tomorrow with Youth”.
To the many young people who came from all regions of Côte d’Ivoire, Pr. Adama DIAWARA, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research representing the Prime Minister Mr. Hamed BAKAYOKO, asked to avoid being used as sofas by some politicians during his speech. “We must promote values, behaviors and attitudes that contribute to the construction of peaceful and inclusive societies” he recommended. He also called for the civic spirit of Ivorians to create a peaceful electoral environment. “The presidential election should not be a vector of tension, but rather a privileged way to maintain and strengthen social peace,” he advised.
In turn, Prof. Jean-Noël LOUCOU, Secretary General of the FHB Foundation, stressed that for the memory of Félix Houphouët-Boigny and for the solidarity between the peoples of the World, Ivorians should not sink into violence. “Making war is madness. Peace is the only answer to social, economic and democratic requirements, both national and international,” he said, before calling for a change of mentality and behavior of both political leaders and the entire population, on the eve of the presidential election dominated by violence. He also announced the upcoming opening of the Pan-African School of Peace (EPAP) with the support of the Ivorian government, UNESCO and the African Union. After having explained the genesis of the concept of the culture of peace to the youth, Mrs. Anne LEMAISTRE, UNESCO Representative in Côte d’Ivoire, paid a tribute to President Félix Houphouët-Boigny and to Mr. Féderico MAYOR, two men who, through their personal conviction and their humanistic vision, have carried all their life the project of making the culture of peace an ambition rooted in the reality of men and women. According to her, the miracle tool to neutralize violence is dialogue.
For the Minister-Governor Dr. Augustin THIAM, the theme chosen for this edition of the International Day of Peace is a burning issue, because young people are among the first victims of the radicalization of conflicts. That is why he took advantage of the platform offered to him to launch an appeal to young people and also to all Ivorians with these words: “Let’s avoid that bad feelings gain ground. Otherwise, we will pay the price”. Emmanuel N’Guessan EDIMA, president of the National Youth Council of Côte d’Ivoire (CNJCI), urged the youth to peace. “The youth of Côte d’Ivoire want peace. Election is not war. No word of order that does not contribute to peace should be followed,” he said.
Several panels included in the program of this celebration were moderated by renowned people, including the singer A’salfo, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, Ms. Josephine Charlotte MAYUMA KALA of the African Union, Ms. Euphrasie YAO, Holder of the UNESCO Chair in Water, Women and Decision-Making, and Mr. Francis DOMO of the National Press Authority. The themes discussed during these panels were: institutional mechanisms for the promotion of the culture of peace, the role of the media in maintaining a climate of peace and the contribution of culture to peace: the role of artists and interethnic alliances.
Workshops were held with over 300 participants.
The celebration ended with the reading of the Youth Declaration on the Culture of Peace and a Zumba session called Sport for Peace.