Let’s create a peaceful world
I was born and raised in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, a region scarred by decades of armed conflict, which ultimately led me to become a refugee in neighboring Uganda in 2016.
Today, I am one of the pioneer peace fellows at the first Rotary Peace Center in Africa, at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.
Through my fellowship, I have learnt about the intricacies of conflict resolution, from grassroots initiatives to national and international strategies, all of which play a central part in cementing our common humanity in our quest for world peace.
Peace is integral to the realisation of human rights. The more communities promote, protect, and fulfill the fundamental rights of their people, the greater their ability to curb violence and peacefully resolve conflicts.
Today, Uganda joins the rest of the world to commemorate the International Day of Peace under the theme ‘End racism. Build peace’.
This is a clarion call to foster peace — and to dismantle structures that entrench division and conflict within our societies and our mindsets.
Each individual in this world deserves the right to live a free, and secure life without fear, abuse, or neglect, regardless of their age, gender, or ethnicity.
Rotary members support this principle by enhancing and maintaining peace as practitioners, mediators, peace educators, and advocates of peace.
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly. Two decades later, in 2001, the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire.
Therefore, peace must be treated as the norm and the cornerstone of all our daily human interactions. When people work to create peace in their communities, that change can have a global effect.
The Rotary Peace Centers encourage peace three-fold; through academic training, practice, and global networking, which inspires professionals to become effective catalysts for peace.
In my social change initiative at Makerere, I focused on youth, conflict prevention, and development where we acknowledge that the younger generation serves a dual purpose, as the driving force and engine of every country’s development but also as frontline perpetrators of violence, especially in political movements and rebel groups.
If the youth are empowered, mentored, and given the knowledge and skills to participate in development at the grassroots level, they can transform communities, nations, and the world.
The existence of a Rotary and Rotaract club in the Nakivale refugee camp has continuously encouraged a daily discussion on the importance of peace and ensuring that hope is restored, especially for victims of instability and conflict.
The Rotary Club of Nakivale was initiated to provide innovative training opportunities in the camp and mentor young leaders to become members who can expand this work.
As mediators, Rotary members globally have negotiated humanitarian ceasefires in areas of conflict to allow polio vaccinators to reach children who are at risk. Rotary members focus on creating communities and convening groups that are connected, inclusive, and resilient.
Peace can only be achieved when everyone takes responsibility to speak the language of peace and inherit its deeds regardless of one’s physical location.
Through our daily interactions, we need to alter cultural and societal norms that encourage violence by embracing the persons next to us and inviting them to the table to share messages of love, hope, and respect to create change.
Each one of us should invest in lifelong friendships and networks that transcend political, cultural, and generational boundaries and foster global understanding and respect.
We need more brothers in arms than ‘brothers’ who are armed. We have a peace ambassador in each one of us. We can all make a difference in this world if we work together.
Mr Paul Mushaho is an information communication and technology entrepreneur, and a Peace Fellow at the Rotary Peace Centre, Makerere University.