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Peace Education

Regional Issues Addressed at Conference in Cameroon

Yaounde, Cameroon - The Congress Hall filled with 354 dignitaries for a regional International Leadership Conference on October 1 focusing on strategies to improve education and the environment in the nations of central Africa.

Participants included Ambassadors from Peace from Angola, Chad, Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Gabon. There were members of parliament, current and former government officials, educators, journalists, army officers, and traditional rulers, as well as leaders of business, NGOs, and civil society.

Mr. Fongoh Innocent Ndasi, Secretary General of UPF-Cameroon, emceed the all-day conference. After the singing of the Cameroon National Anthem, a word of prayer was offered by Archbishop Jean Ndjewel, an Ambassador for Peace. Then Dr. Chemuta Banda Divine, an Ambassador for Peace and chairman of the conference, gave a hearty welcome to all the delegates coming from different countries of central Africa and different regions of Cameroon. The welcoming speech called upon participants to take with them the fruits of the conference.

After the welcoming speech, a video introducing UPF and its activities at the international level was shown on a large screen with comments from the emcee.

Rev. Futila Michel, Secretary General of UPF-Central Africa Sub-region, was the guest speaker of the day. He gave a brilliant and deep presentation on the main topic of the conference, “The Need for Vision and Leadership in Times of Crisis in Central Africa: Responsibilities and Strategies to Implement the Millennium Development Goals by Ambassadors for Peace.” Emphasizing the noble role and great responsibility of Ambassadors for Peace toward the community, society, nation, and the world, he addressed the concerns of the whole audience.

Then, H.E. Obembe Jean-François, a former government minister, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly of Congo-Brazzaville, sociologist, and Ambassador for Peace, read and elaborated on the recommendations from the first Central Africa Sub-regional International Leadership Conference in Congo-Brazzaville. He challenged the audience to focus on universal primary education, ensure a healthy environment, and build partnerships for development. He discussed

  • developing educational systems that help young people understand the problems of the world
  • creating a sub-regional institute for the management of the environment
  • encouraging partnerships which take into account the resources of the countries in the region

Everybody was moved by his intervention. Experts in the fields of education and environment were encouraged to forward their contributions to the secretariat of UPF-Cameroon.

After this elaboration, Dr. Mayou Fatila, medical doctor in charge of the Day Hospital at Laquintinie Hospital in Douala, Cameroon, talked about the history of HIV/AIDS and how to fight against it. She also referred to other illnesses such as malaria, cholera, tuberculosis, and sickle cell anemia. The best way of treating the children who are sick, she said, is to treat the parents first, especially the mothers. People in the audience felt her deep concern about for people's health and well being.

Immediately after lunch, the MC introduced once more Rev. Futila, who talked about “The Cause of Conflicts, Principles of Peacebuilding, and Conflict Resolutions.” Putting emphasis on the origin of all conflicts, their consequences, and how to resolve them, he asked everyone to be more concerned about addressing conflict. He concluded by saying that humility, unity, and love are the keys to achieving stability as individuals and families, and that a stable family leads to a stable society, nation, and world. People in the audience followed his points attentively.

Dr. Ngala Donatus, an Ambassador for Peace and lecturer at the University of Douala, asked the audience to break up into three workshop groups to brainstorm on responsibilities, strategies, and partnerships. Due to time constraint, the recommendations from the conference in Brazzaville were read once more, and the audience was invited to give additional input by email.

One eminent professor, former government minister and former Director of the National Radio and Television of Cameroon, Gervais Mendoze, read his contribution and the audience responded positively.

Based on the recommendations of the conference in Brazzaville this conference in Yaounde, UPF-Cameroon will compile documents to submit to government and civil society leaders. An International Leadership Conference in the Democratic Republic of Congo in December 2010 will be the completion stage and the conclusion of the work.

The conference ended with appointments of 12 new Ambassadors for Peace from various fields of society; three were from Chad and nine from Cameroon, including an outstanding Cameroonian football player, Roger Miller. One of the first African players to be a major star on the international stage, he played in three World Cups for the Cameroon national team.

The newly appointed Ambassadors for Peace expressed appreciation for their nomination and pledged to abide by the core principle of living for the sake of others.

While leaving the conference hall, a famous choir of the Presbyterian Church of Cameroon sang a song of peace.

For photos of the International Leadership Conference in Brazzaville, Congo, in June 2010, click here.

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