Motivated by a shared commitment to promote a culture of peace and the prevention of religious strife and other forms of division which lead to conflict and genocide, on 11 March 2016 the Aegis Trust and United Religions Initiative-Africa concluded agreement to establish an African Peace School; to work together on the prevention of genocide and crimes against humanity, and to build long-term peace in post-genocide societies, confronting the prejudice and beliefs that lead to genocide.
The partnership will promote value-based education, peaceful co-existence and harmony among different religions and cultures, advance reconciliation, compassion and non-violence teaching, and counter violent extremism, hate speech, radicalization and terrorism in Africa, engaging known sports personalities to champion a culture of peace.
The partnership will also build on the work of Aegis Trust in the Central African Republic, where the organisation has been contributing to the national peace building process after a conflict that was strongly driven by religious discrimination.
The agreement was signed on 11 March at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Rwanda by Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Regional Director of URI-Africa and Representative of URI to the African Union Commission and United Nations office for Africa, and Freddy Mutanguha, Regional Director of the Aegis Trust.
At the signing, Freddy Mutanguha said, “The Aegis Trust works to predict, prevent and ultimately eliminate genocide so that ‘Never Again’ is a reality. We are honoured to start this new partnership with United Religions Initiative-Africa to expand our regional and global programmes. By combining our experience, skills and resources, I know that our impact will be great.”
Ambassador Mussie Hailu said, “People of diverse religions, spiritual expressions and indigenous traditions throughout the World established the United Religions Initiative to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings. URI is a bridge-building organization and it respects the uniqueness of each tradition, and differences of practice and belief. URI strongly value voices that respect others, and believe that sharing our values and wisdom can lead us to act for the good of all. URI has 775 member organizations in 95 countries. It has NGO status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and signed agreement with the African Union Commission to contribute in the effort of making Africa a peaceful, united and prosperous continent. As members of URI throughout the World unite to build safe places for conflict resolution, healing and reconciliation it is our pleasure to work in partnership with Aegis Trust to toward our common agenda.”
URI has 184 member organizations in 31 African countries. URI Africa is located in Nairobi, Kenya with sub regional offices in Uganda for Great Lakes Region, Djibouti for Horn of Africa, Nigeria for West Africa, and South Africa for Southern Africa.