Every year on the 21st September, the United Nations General Assembly invites all Member States, United Nations bodies, regional and non-governmental organizations to observe the International Day of Peace (Peace Day) by commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples as per the UN resolutions 36/37and 55/282. For this edition, Rwanda decided to adopt the United Nations theme of Peace Day 2015 without any adjustment which was “Partnerships for Peace-Dignity for all”. The event was even special as Rwanda had been chosen as the venue of the celebrations on International level for 2015. IRDP had been celebrating Peace Day for the past years and this continued this year. For this specific edition three main set of activities were done by IRDP:
- Celebration of Peace day at IRDP Headquaters:
A celebration at IRDP’s institutional level was held on Saturday September 19th, 2015 at IRDP peace center and brought together IRDP partners from government, civil society organizations, educators, members of local community, students and IRDP members to reflect on peace: its meaning, how it links to dignity and ways of increasing partnerships for peace in Rwanda and the world in general. The reflection was trigged by a debate on the topic “This house believes that partnership for peace is the best way to promote dignity in African countries” by IRDP supported students at Lycée Notre Dame des Citeaux. The event was covered by different public and private media organs and among others highlighted the work being done by IRDP in schools such as promoting critical thinking and the respect/tolerance of diversity of opinions through debating activities, and more importantly the successful process of advocating for “Peace Education” to be integrated in primary and secondary curriculum to be applied from January 2016. The latter was conducted jointly with partners such as Aegis Trust, Radio la Benevolencija and University of South California’s Shoah Foundation.
- Joining other peace actors to prepare and celebrate the Peace Day at National level:
IRDP joined other governmental and civil society organizations active in peace building in the preparations of peace day celebration under the coordination of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission through participating in preparatory meetings since July.
- Attending the 21/9/2015 “Peace Village” Exhibition
Under the coordination of the NURC, a wonderful place was set for the public to see what different peacebuilding actors have achieved in this field. At IRDP’s stand in the said “Peace Village”at Amahoro Stadium, IRDP displayed its work including written and audio-visual research reports and publications fliers, photos produced throughout IRDP’s work over 14 years now.
IRDP coordinated grassroots events of its partners (schools of debate and dialogue clubs) including a range of events that were held in schools and communities including:
- Experiences sharing meetings with schools communities (Lycee Notre dame des Citeaux, Kagitumba High school, Ecole des sciences de Musanze, Groupe scolaire officiel de Butare, Groupe scolaire Elena Guerra, Gisenyi Adventist Secondary school and Gisenyi college Inyemeramihigo),
- Public talks on the 2015 IDP topic (Lycée Notre dame des citeaux in the peace day celebration at IRDP held on September 19th, 2015, games (Kagitumba High school and Ecole des sciences de Musanze),
Displaying peace messages in the school during the week of September 14th to 21st, 2015 (Ecole Islamique de Nyamirambo,
Groupe scolaire des Parents and Group scolaire Musheri).
Joint events in line with peace day celebrations were also organized in Nyagatare, Huye, Musanze and Rubavu where schools in the same areas organized peace walks, community walks and games to sensitize surrounding population on peace.