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Service Programs

Peace Tour in Mali Inspires a River Clean-up

Mali-2009-04-21-Peace Tour in Mali Inspires a River Clean-up

Bamako, Mali - The Global Peace Tour made an impact on Mali by cleaning the Diafaranako Canal that runs through the capital city. Mosquitoes living in the stagnant, dirty water of the seven-kilometer canal infect the population with malaria, causing many deaths.

When UPF made the proposal to the government to clean the canal, they were happy to give their support. Launched on April 20, the project gained popular support, and plans are to continue.

Prominent leaders of Mali, including members of parliament, NGO officials, and civil society leaders from almost all parts of the nation, attended the International Leadership Conference on April 21. The president of National Assembly, Hon. Dioncounda Traore, opened the meeting. He had participated in an International Leadership Conference in New York and talked about the Universal Peace Federation and what its founder, Dr. Sun Myung Moon, is doing for peace. He described Dr. Moon as an “artisan of peace.”

The 150 participants were very inspired by the lectures and asked for follow-up seminar. They said that they need many presentations about peace and that all the leaders of the nation could benefit from this kind of conference. Many of them were appointed Ambassadors for Peace.

The main event took place at the Palace of Culture. The audience of 2,000 enjoyed the performers who drew upon Mali's rich genres of traditional and modern music. An array of the best of Malian culture was portrayed harmoniously on the stage, and everyone, including the international UPF delegation, joined in the dancing.

Hon. Hamame Niang, the Minister of Youth and Sports, had offered the use of the stadium for free. Youth who have nothing to focus on are the first target of people who are promoting war and conflict,  he said. He asked UPF to work with him in the northern part of the country to bring together youth in Peace Cup competition in basketball, a popular national sport. There has been periodic unrest in the arid north, with conflict between the nomadic herders of the Sahara and the farmers of the more fertile south in this landlocked country in western Africa.

The program was an opportunity for people from different backgrounds to speak to each other, understand each other better, and commit to work together for reconciliation. It truly was a festival in a a part of Africa that for many centuries had been a major center of education, culture, and trade.

President Amadou Toumani Toure warmly greeted the international UPF delegation. He told them that he developed a “cousinhood” philosophy in Mali as a way to promote reconciliation between the diverse inhabitants of the country. Since it helps build peace among people, he believes it could also help improve relations among countries. As his representative, he sent the Minister of Territorial Administration, Kafoungouna Kone, to the International Leadership Conference.

For the keynote address and more information about the peace tour, click here.


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