Rwanda: A film festival focusing on youth
October 29, 2012
Interpeace’s local partner in Rwanda, the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) organized a Film Festival for young people in Gisozi, Kigali – where the Genocide Memorial Site is located – to raise awareness about and promote peace. Held for the second time, the festival aims to bring Rwandan youth together and engage in debates around films on peace, non-violence and social justice. Students from several universities and high schools were welcomed to join IRDP’s researchers to discuss what peace and good governance mean for them.
An opportunity to unite
The films showcased during the festival included Invictus and two films produced by IRDP, Are My Priorities Your Concern? and Road to Peace, which deal with the political, social and economic situation in Rwanda. At the end of the screenings, the students were invited to express their thoughts on the issues raised by the films. They were extremely enthusiastic and keen to voice their thoughts and concerns. “These thought-provoking films provide an opportunity to get more united”, said a university student. “We shall seek ways for better social, political and economic participation which will pave the way to a stronger and more united Rwanda”.
As a part of IRDP’s cultural and education outreach programme, the purpose of the screenings is to expand the peace dialogue to all parts of Rwandan society. “I am grateful to learn about how people around the country are trying to achieve peace”, added Professor Pierre Rwanyindo, the Director of IRDP.
Talking about political and economic inclusion
In the discussion following the screenings, the students raised some challenges and obstacles to good governance and sustainable development that they feel are critical if Rwandans are to reach lasting peace. Some of them mentioned that political leaders were often disconnected from the people and their needs. This is consistent with what came out of IRDP’s previous research phase, and one of the main areas of focus of the current IRDP programme is ‘citizen participation in democratic governance.’
Unemployment and future prospects were the main concerns of several students. During the evening, the young people came up with many suggestions and initiatives, notably to improve the educational programmes, which they identified as a key path to development.
At the end of the event, the students showed a strong desire to take matters in hand and be a part of the process that will bring change to their country.