The Legacy, a youth organsation advocating for peace, recently joined the rest of the world to commemorate the International Day of Peace, at its resource centre in Nemakunku in the North Bank Region.
The programme began with a colourful marchpast, which was followed by a forum on peace with the theme of this year’s commemoration as: “Partnerships for Peace-Dignity for All”, which is aimed at highlighting the importance for all of society to work together and strive for peace.
The organization launched an annual award called ‘The Legacy Peace Award’ in observance of the day, and this year’s award was given to Gibril Y.M. Bah, a veteran educationist and the alkalo of Nemakunku, for his stance in advocating for peace in the North Bank Region.
Speaking at the forum, the Executive Director of The Legacy, Saikou Suwareh Jabai, said the day is observed around the world annually on the 21st of September, after the General Assembly of the United Nations declared this as a day to strengthen the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.
“Let us stand with the millions of people across the world today who are suffering the devastating impacts of violence and conflict. We wish to highlight the importance of cooperation in silencing the guns and advancing the cause,” said Mr Jabai.
He noted that The Legacy called on the leaders of the world to reaffirm their commitment to living in harmony as members of a single society.
He said the International Day of Peace reflects the innermost aspiration of all people to live together freely and equally in dignity and rights.
The right to peace, he added, is of the utmost importance in view of the violence that is tearing Africa apart.
To build peace, Legacy’s executive director said one must understand the new realities of crime, so as to end the violence that aims to strike at the cultural and religious values of Africans.
“To counter discourses of hatred that seek to set cultures against each other, we must guarantee universal access to quality education to enable one to withstand calls to violence,” he said.
He said to counter the destruction of cultural diversity and the segregation of minorities, “we must protect heritage as a force for mutual understanding.”
He said The Gambia as a nation continues to overwhelmingly enjoy the already existing peace and stability in the country, thanks to the Gambia government under the leadership of President Yahya Jammeh.
The forum gives the participants the opportunity to join ideas and efforts in building and maintaining a genuine culture of peace in The Gambia, Africa and the world by extension, he said.
The guest speaker on the occasion, Ebrima Bah, who is the president of the Gambia College Student’s Union, said The Gambia is a nation with an acute sense of unity amidst its diverse ethno linguistic composition.
This, he said, is a function of the advantage of small size, which nurtures familiarity, inter-marriage, miscegenation and a high degree of mutual tolerance.
He said this sense of togetherness, which is at the root of the hearts of the citizenry, also provides the mental framework and attitudinal disposition which enables them to manage tensions related to the cleavages of class, caste, religion, and ethnicity and gender relations.
He highlighted the significance of the programme, saying such a gathering is a key indication of the already existing peace and stability in the country.
He said as partners for peace, young people should endeavour to desist from all forms of activities that would ignite crimes and violence in their community, adding that ensuring the existence of peace is everybody’s business.
He said the work of the United Nations would not be possible without the initial partnerships that were active in its creation, and the thousands of partnerships each year between governments, civil society, the private sector, faith-based groups and other non-governmental organizations that are needed to support the organisation in achieving its future goals.
The programme manager of The Legacy, Muhammed Lamin Dibba, a political science graduate of the University of The Gambia, attached significance to the relevance of the occasion, saying that peace could not prevail in the absence of quality education.
“We must have a stable mind and live in harmony, cultivate a sense of respect and self-belonging in ensuring peace,” he said.
He challenged The Legacy leadership to strengthen their advocacy for peace to not just the young people, but older generation as well.
Also speaking was Amadou Barry, a diploma student studying Peace and Conflict Resolution at the Management Development Institute (MDI), who spoke at length about the refugee crises in the world, and commended the Gambia government for making the country a safe destination for all genuine refugees.