Major peace centre opens in Rwanda

March 2, 2009

‚ÄėPeace is just like air. Without it, there is no life,’ stated the Japanese Ambassador to Rwanda, Shigeo Iwatani, during his speech at the opening of Rwanda’s first peace centre. The Interpeace partner in Rwanda, the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP), has been working to build lasting peace across the country for 8 years. On the 3 March 2009 they opened the first building of the new peace centre in Kigali.

A key location
The ‘TICAD Peace Centre’ is located in Gisozi, Gasabo District. Nearby is the Memorial of the Genocide as well as the Independent University of Kigali, so enabling opportunities for collaboration between the three sites.

A major documentation centre for peace related archives in Rwanda
Once fully completed, the centre will be divided into two parts. The current building features a presentation/debate hall for dialogue activities to take place, an audiovisual center and a library which will be a main documentation centre for peace related archives in Rwanda. The second building will be built in the course of 2009 and it will house IRDP and their support offices for the Peace Centre.

Architectural scheme based on peace
The overall concept for the scheme was developed by local architect Nyundo Kayihura and has been shaped in a way that reflects its dedication to peace. The hall and library building is in the shape of a star while IRDP’s facilities are in the shape of two hands put together to illustrate an alliance. The whole plan shows how the star brings light and inspiration to the cohesion process.

The land was donated by Gasabo District and the building was completed by ERCO, a local construction company.

Schools’ Dialogue Clubs perform a play on democracy
Attendees were given a performance by the winners of the 2008 National Competition for the ‚ÄėSchools of Debate’, the IRDP initiative that aims at raising the students’ awareness of tolerance and democratic principles in 25 secondary schools of the country. The play highlighted the challenges encountered on the path to democracy and persistence it takes to achieve democracy.

A neutral space to share ideas and build peace
Professor Pierre Rwanyindo, Director of IRDP stated at the opening, ‚ÄėThis project reinforces our strengths as we bring together both leaders and people in discussions and each side gets a chance to listen to the other.’

Present at the ceremony was the Minister of Local Administration, Protais Musoni, who said ‚ÄėThe government appreciates the insights, advice and recommendations in the peace building process.’