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Speeches

E. Mukabagwiza: The Future of the Black Canadian Family

Presentation to a Conference of the Universal Peace Federation-Canada
on "The Future of the Black Canadian Family"
Ottawa, Canada, June 3, 2010


It is not easy to speak about peace when in many different places of the world we have wars, conflicts, disturbances of peace, etc. I appreciate what Universal Peace Federation is doing to work for peace. It is an appeal to everybody to have and make peace. But you will agree with me that, with all my respect to all peace warriors, that to be successful in bringing peace, in making peace for others, you need peace in your heart, peace in your family, peace in your neighborhood, peace in your community. For you cannot give what you don’t have!

Une communauté est un groupe de personnes qui interagissent entre elles, partagent et utilisent des informations en relation avec leurs centres d’intérêts, caractéristiques démographiques ou activités professionnelles, communes.

A community is a group of persons who interact among themselves, share and utilize information in relation with their interest, common demographic characteristics or professional activities.

There a number of things to know when you are building a community:

  • You need to know why you want to build the community
  • Don’t think that it is easier and that It will be straight forward (challenges, obstacles, contradictions, confrontations)
  • You need to have specific goals and targets (harmony, integration, peace, human development)
  • Diversity is important, richness (multicultural in Canada is a richness)
  • Prevention of conflict/conflict resolution
  • Rights and obligations (eliminate inequalities)
  • Cohesion between its components (sharing, mutual respect, assistance in time of adversity, communication)
  • Believe it! It is possible.

Any community needs to develop, which means empowering individuals and groups of people by providing these groups with the skills they need to affect change in their own communities.

  • Large social groups working for a common agenda
  • Community developers must understand both how to work with individuals and how to affect a community’s positions
  • Overcome poverty and disadvantage
  • Benefit from different and complementary values each community has

The future of the black Canadian family will depend on the choice that Canadians themselves will take for the black Canadian family, for them as surrenders and for Canada in general.

Integrating black Canadian family requires a commitment of all people surrounding and all institutions. The Government cannot do everything alone, that’s why initiatives from the private and public sector are necessary.

Rwanda's case:

In a post-genocide context, Rwandans have to live together again, which means that reconciliation is a must even though it was very difficult to achieve. Indeed, how could people talk about reconciliation while the wounds are still fresh? Challenging but possible.

During discussions, tensions and mistrust were perceivable and we needed to constantly work out strategies to keep the dialogue going on.

Rwanda has managed all these kind of issues after Tutsi genocide, and now people are living in harmony, victims and perpetrators are living together, helping each other. Rwanda is stable and secure. If Rwanda overcomes in a such challenging situation, community integration cannot be difficult anywhere else.

Building and strengthening our communities implies building and maintaining peace and security wherever we are.

Allow me to conclude by quoting the global Campaign for Peace Education:

“A culture of peace will be achieved when the citizens of the World understand global problems, have the skills to resolve conflicts constructively, know and live by international standards of human rights, gender and racial equality; appreciate cultural diversity and respect the integrity of the Earth …Such learning cannot be achieved without the intentional, sustained and systematic education for peace.”