The National Federation for The Gambia UNESCO Clubs (NAFGUC) on Wednesday observed the International Peace Day at a ceremony held in Essau, North Bank Region. The United Nations has set aside September 21 annually as the International Day of Peace worldwide. The theme for this year was, “Building Block for Peace”.
NAFGUC is a voluntary body that oversees the activities of the UNESCO clubs and centres in The Gambia. The Federation comprised of groups of volunteers of different ages and socio-professional status, who become activists in the service of UNESCO ideals. Through this Federation, they aim to create awareness on the importance of peace and tolerance among members and the wider public, as well as to promote the ideals of UNESCO at grass-roots level like promotion of peace through education, science, culture and communication.
Lamin Ceesay, Secretary General of NAFGUC, said their main functions are to train, sensitise and disseminate information in order to promote UNESCO’s ideals and activities.
The Federation according to him, holds a strong belief in the importance and strategic role of young people in preventing and resolving conflicts non-violently, bearing in mind the crucial part being played by young people in the field of human endeavour and as the back bone of every development.
Ceesay pointed out that each year the day is observed around the world on 21st September, devoted to strengthen the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.
“The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by Resolution 36/67PDF document of the United Nations General Assembly to coincide with its opening session, which was held annually on 3rd Tuesday of September. The first peace day was observed in September 1982,”he added.
Stepping in for the Director General of UNESCO, Maimuna Sidibeh, the Senior Programmer Officer at NATCOM, said these are turbulent times, for humanity and the planet.
“Poverty remains enduring, just as inequalities are deepening, conflicts continue to tear societies apart, exposing millions of women and men immense suffering,” she stated.
According to her, the world is facing the most important refugee and displacement crisis of our time, with 65.5 million individuals forcibly displaced in 2015.
Sidibeh revealed that humanity’s cultural heritage and diversity are under attack. World heritage sites are destroyed to eradicate the message of tolerance and dialogue that they embody.
Alhagie Jarju, a representative of the National Youth Council, said as young people they should be the building blocks when it comes to peace as it is said that peace is not just the absence of war, but the mere threat of war is simply an absence of peace. “We are not the people who decide war, but unfortunately its we the young people who bear the brunt because we have the potential to carry arms like AK47,” he aded.
by Fatoumatta K Saidykhan