Centre for Research, Training and Publications (CRTP) in partnership with Peace Tree Network and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)-Kenya hosted a conference on 21st September, 2023 at Hekima Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations (HIPSIR). The conference theme was ‘Harmony through Faith: Leveraging Faith-based Universities for Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution’. It featured over 40 participants, both physical and online. The participants included representatives of public institutions, diplomats, private sector, academia, scholars and artists as well as peace practitioners.
The main objective of the conference was to discuss how Faith-based Universities can promote peacebuilding within the society. The conference was held on the International Day of Peace. During the official opening session of the conference, the Keynote address speaker reiterated the importance of peace in our society and the role each individual and learning institution can play in peacebuilding and conflict resolution. He emphasized the need for inclusion of peace education in course curricula in learning institutions, as well as promoting children’s right for quality education within our societies.
The keynote address was followed by different presentations on various related topics:
- The potential of non-violence in promoting peace and social cohesion
- Integration of faith and science and its impact to society
- Integration of peace education into course-curricula
- The role of inter-religious dialogue in promoting peace
- The role of youth in peacebuilding
- Government policies for promoting social cohesion through peace education, and
- Strategies for sustainable peace in Africa.
Out of the presentations and panel discussions, the following recommendations were suggested to improve peacebuilding and conflict resolution.
- There is need to develop and disseminate materials that document traditional dispute resolution mechanisms used by local community structures.
- There is need for higher learning institutions to conduct research and disseminate their findings on faith values and emerging conflicts for appropriate policy formulation.
- Inclusion of peace education in course curriculum in learning institutions is essential.
- The practice of peace education as a way of life is lacking e,g tree planting, the use of theater for peace, national music festival on peace etc
- Family as a foundation of peace. We saw a need to strengthen family outreach and engagements to promote peace in communities.
- There is need for clear policy development on peace for effective implementation.
- We need psycho-social care and support for children and youths to bring them together
- Developing post conflict psycho-social support plans is very important.
- There is need for capacity-building of teachers, learners and other stakeholders to promote peace, both in the society and learning institutions