Fourteen young people from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, South Sudan and Rwanda visited Rwanda’s southern province this week as part of a peace building education program. The program, called the Peace Building Institute, is hosted by Never Again Rwanda, a peace building and human rights organization based in Kigali. Participants of the Peace Building Institute spent the past nine days learning about genocide history and prevention, transitional justice and good governance and development: strategies that they can take back to their communities to promote peace.
On Wednesday, the PBI participants visited the Ethnographic Museum of Rwanda in Butare where they learned about Rwanda’s pre and post-colonial history, and watched a traditional Rwandan dance. The PBI group will also be spending time at the Murambi Memorial near Huye Wednesday afternoon,a more somber, but important learning experience for the young peace builders.
Mandela Walter, a 24-year-old PBI participant from Uganda, says the Peace Building Institute has taught him that people have a great capacity to do evil, but also, a great capacity to do good.
“Peace building, I believe, is the most fundamental way of containing this evil nature of man,” Walter says.
Catherine Fidelis, a 23-year old participant from Tanzania, says Rwanda has given her a sense that even after the severest form of conflict, there can be successful recovery.
“There is hope after total darkness,”Fidelis says. “Now, where Rwanda is, it’s a good example of how humans can overcome evil and transform themselves into loving people.”
The 14-day Peace Building Institute will wrap up on Sunday and will send the young participants back to their homes with the mandate to be peace leaders and outstanding role models within their own communities. In addition to hosting Peace Building Institutes twice a year for international and Rwandan participants, Never Again Rwanda inspires, mentors and encourages Rwandan youth to create small businesses, express their thoughts to leaders and become more involved in the policy-making process of their country.
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