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Peace Education

Teaching Principles of Peace during Ivoirian Elections

San Pedro, Cote d'Ivoire - The port city and beach resort of San Pedro welcomed UPF staff for a ceremony to appoint new Ambassadors for Peace. The ceremony took place at the Municipal Celebration Hall. During an election campaign, it is not easy to mobilize people to attend such an activity or get public officials involved. Despite many difficulties, the ceremony to appoint 28 new Ambassadors for Peace took place in the afternoon of November 14.

Since he was away from the city, the governor sent a representative, Mr. Tra Bi Armel, to the ceremony. A member of the UN Mission staff in the region, Mr. Diaby Baba, joined UPF staff Mr. Adama Doumbia, Director of UPF-West Africa Sub region 2; Mr. Eugene Ahondjo, Secretary General of UPF-Cote d'Ivoire; and Mr. Patrice Gnenefe, Secretary General of UPF in the capital city of Yamoussoukro.

The hall was packed with 150 guests at the beginning of the ceremony. The audience included NGO leaders, Muslim leaders, community leaders, and educators. We would like to express a special recognition to the Circle of Inter-ethnic Alliance, whose leaders were part of the organizing committee and mobilized their members before and during the activity. The founder of that association was appointed an Ambassador for Peace in 2005 when UPF was inaugurated in Cote d'Ivoire. The circle promotes reconciliation through historical alliances among ethnic groups (65 languages are spoken in the country, and there are tensions between Muslims, Christians, and animists). Their mission is to map all the alliances nationwide and involve politicians and youth in these alliances.

The ceremony started with welcoming remarks by the MC and invocations by a Christian pastor and an imam. The opening address introducing the event was given by Mr. Gnenefe. Due to the particular circumstances, the UN representative talked about the upcoming elections and expressed hope that the democratic process can lead to a better future for the country. Then Mr. Eugene introduced UPF's mission and activities; he also presented a summary of the activities of the founder, Dr. Sun Myung Moon.

The main lecture was given by Mr. Doumbia, who brilliantly presented the five principles of Ambassadors for Peace.
Then 28 new Ambassadors for Peace received certificates. Three of them expressed their commitment to peace and willingness to work to expand the vision of UPF.

Note: After a civil war from 2002 to 2004 the country remains split in two, with a rebel-held north and a government-held south. French troops and UN Peacekeepers failed to calm the strife. When the Cote d'Ivoire national football team qualified for the 2006 World Cup, it helped secure a temporary truce and brought warring parties together; a peace agreement was signed the following year. Elections took place on October 31 this year, after six postponements. Run-off elections between the president and the top opposition leader are scheduled for November 28.

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