Engaging African youth in peace-building through a series of virtual talks amidst COVID-19 pandemic

Engaging African youth in peace-building through a series of virtual talks amidst COVID-19 pandemic

By Arrupe Jesuit Institute

Africa’s teeming youthful population constitutes one of the continent’s greatest assets. Africa’s youth represent a potentially positive force for change and therefore their energies must be harnessed to promote peace and transform African countries. Regrettably, bad governance, poor education, and high unemployment rates make many African youth vulnerable and easy targets to be recruited to perpetrate violence. Through these multi-disciplinary, scholarly yet simple talks, the Pax Africana series aims at equipping Africa’s youth to become activists for peace.

The Pax Africana series is a virtual platform for education on peace for young people in Africa that has been packaged by the Ignatian Youth Networks Initiating Generational Outcomes (IYNIGO), which is the youth leadership development scheme of the Arrupe Jesuit Institute (AJI). The Pax Africana series aims at complementing the efforts of the Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network Africa (JENA) of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM). In March 2020, Accra hosted the launch of JENA’s “Silencing the Guns” campaign, a project by the Jesuits in Africa to promote the 2020 agenda of the African Union (AU) to end gun violence. The Pax Africana series is a local initiative that supports this laudable campaign by providing education on peace.

PX Africana

Each talk, lasting roughly an hour and thirty minutes, will elucidate some crucial aspect of peace. We anticipate having an impressive and diverse audience from across Africa and even beyond. Some of the participants at the inaugural talk delivered by Rev. Fr. Augostine E. Ekeno, SJ, included Bishop Jan de Groef, M. Afr., of Bethlehem Diocese in South Africa, Sr. Prof. Agnes Lando, Board Member-at-Large of the International Communication Association (ICA), Rev. Fr. Patrice Ndayisenga, SJ, Director of Jesuit Urumuri Centre in Kigali-Rwanda, Ms. Lucy Gillingham of Jesuit Missions UK, and Mr. Timothy Sowah of the Accra Archdiocesan Laity Council.

All the talks will be streamed live on the Facebook page of the Arrupe Jesuit Institute. That platform has already recorded over 800 views, providing much hope about the scope and impact of this initiative. Moreover, we intend to make the content of the talks – delivered using PowerPoint slides – readily accessible in other forms, for example, a simple, illustrated manual on peace for African youth.

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