The Aegis Trust warmly welcomes the Pope to the Central African Republic, where we are working for the cause of peace with civil society organisations, the Government and faith leaders including Imam Omar Kobine Layama, president of the Central African Islamic Community; Nicolas Guérékoyame-Gbangou, president of the Evangelical Alliance, and Dieudonné Nzapalainga, the Archbishop of Bangui.

Aegis was invited to help build sustainable peace in CAR by these faith leaders in 2014, after they had visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Rwanda – a place of remembrance and education established by Aegis in 2004 at a site where some 250,000 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi have their final resting-place.

Education for sustainable peace is changing the attitudes and behaviour of young people in Rwanda, replacing fear, suspicion and the desire for revenge with reconciliation, trust and mutual collaboration. We share the conviction of leaders in CAR – from the faith communities, the Government, and youth organisations – that the time for a Central African version of this model to be established is now. Together with local and international partners, this is what we are working to achieve.

However, CAR’s needs are both largescale and extremely urgent. Without far greater and swifter international engagement and support for security, peacebuilding and economic development, the recent violence may be merely a foreshock of what is to come. This is a country which remains at high risk of genocide.