Striding out for peace in Kigali, Rwanda
September 27, 2011
Key players in the peacebuilding process in Rwanda united to stride out for peace on World Peace Day celebrated on Wednesday, 21 September. A concert and speeches provided a finale for an enthusiastic and positive day.
Interpeace local partner, Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP), One UN, the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, the Rwandan Defense Forces, the Rwandan Police and other governmental and nongovernmental actors celebrated the day alongside students from IRDP’s Schools for Debate programme and Kigali residents.
The Peace walk started from Kimihurura Roundabout and ended at “Petit Stade”, outside the Amahoro National Stadium where the concert later took place. Local artists spread messages of peace and provided the entertainment. Sgt Robert Kabera, solo musician, the Army Jazz Band, and singer Kizito Mihigo were all part of the programme.The theme for 2011 was ‘Make Your Voice Heard,’ with the aim that all involved would use the day to share their ideas and experiences to strive for lasting peace and unity.
IRDP’s representative, Immaculée Mukankubito, stood before the crowd to encourage them all to take positive steps towards building unity. “Positive actions for unity and lasting peace, no matter how large or small, are what will make the difference – no matter if you are governmental representative or an ordinary citizen.”
The Rwanda Defense Forces’ representative discussed the achievements of the armed forces in promoting peace at home and abroad. Jean Baptiste Habyalimana, the Executive Secretary of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission also talked about the importance of collaboration among the different actors. He also highlighted that Rwanda had reason to celebrate the day, having recovered from the damages left behind by the 1994 Genocide, and ensuing instabilities.The Minister of the President’s office, Venantia Tugireyezu was the guest of honour for the event. He talked about the importance government has in ensuring cohesion among the different stakeholders, and that without the promotion of peace nothing else can be attained.