NCIC and Interpeace hold first ever Nairobi Peace Talks
November 16, 2015
Nairobi, 14 November 2015
On Thursday November 12, the first ever Nairobi Peace Talks were held at the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON).
Jointly organized by the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) of Kenya and Interpeace under the theme ‘I Contribute to Peace,’ the Talks provided an opportunity for people from various parts of the country and from different backgrounds to share their personal stories and experiences in contributing towards a more peaceful society.
Among the 11 speakers were Hon. Yusuf Hassan, the Member of Parliament for Kamukunji who survived a terror attack in 2012 and was re-elected by his constituents while recuperating in hospital; Ms Nardos Bekele-Thomas, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Kenya; Dr. Abbas Gullet, Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross Society; Hip-hop artist Julius “Juliani” Owino; Francis Kariuki, the “Tweeting Chief” from Lanet Umoja; Ms Josephine Kulea of the Samburu Girls Foundation (SGF); Peace Artist Solomon “Solo 7” Muyundo; Grassroots Peacebuilder Selline Korir; Environmental activist Ikal Ang’elei; writer and historian Zarina Patel; and Godfrey Odongo, the Deputy President of the National Children’s Government.
The Nairobi Peace Talks were opened by the Director-General of the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON), Ms. Sahle-Work Zewde and speakers include government officials, parliamentarians, musicians, diplomats, civil society leaders and ordinary Kenyans. Prominent attendees at the event included Chief Justice Willy Mutunga; NCIC Chair Francis ole Kaparo; and His Excellency Dr. Ralf Heckner, Ambassador of Switzerland to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
The Peace Talks are an event series where speakers from different sectors share their personal stories, ideas and practical solutions to build peace. They began in 2013, with the first ever Geneva Peace Talks being co-organized by the United Nations Office at Geneva, the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform and Interpeace.
The Nairobi Peace Talks marked the first time the Peace Talks were held in Africa. The Talks came at a time when global news headlines are dominated violent conflict and instability, and provided an opportunity for Kenyans to see that everyone has a role to play in the promotion to peace, a common thread that ran through all the personal stories narrated by the eleven speakers. Interestingly, the Twitter hashtag #NairobiPeaceTalks was the number one trending topic in Kenya on Thursday. Considering that the Kenyan social media scene is often always dominated by issues related to competitive politics, this was a clear sign that the Kenyan people endorse peace.
The NCIC is a Kenyan government agency created to facilitate and promote equality of opportunity, good relations, harmony and peaceful coexistence between persons of different ethnic, colour, religious and racial backgrounds in Kenya and to advice the government thereof. The Commission was created following the post-election crisis that engulfed the country following the disputed December 2007 general elections, which laid bare long term issues such as poverty, inequitable distribution of resources, historical injustices and exclusion of segments of the Kenyan society that form the underlying causes of the post-election violence. The NCIC’s mandate includes advocating for cohesiveness among the diverse groups in the country and the prevention of discrimination on the basis of ethnicity. The Commission pursues peacemaking as a central outcome of its work.
Interpeace is an international peacebuilding organization created by the United Nations in 1994 to find innovative solutions to conflict. The organisation is currently an independent non-profit organisation with a strategic partnership with the UN, at the moment supporting peacebuilding initiatives in 22 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe and the Middle East. The Interpeace regional office for East and Central Africa, based in Nairobi, supports peacebuilding efforts in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Rwanda and Somalia.
The following resources are available online for those who were unable to attend the event:
- The full video of the Nairobi Peace Talks
- The full audio of the event
- Background information about the Peace Talks Speakers
- Selected photos from the event. In case you wish to use the photos, please credit them as follows:
Photo credit: Mwangi Kirubi for Interpeace
For more information please contact:
Communications Officer, Eastern & Central Africa, Interpeace