From December 11 to 13, 2014, Libreville hosts the Pan-African Forum on "African Youth and the Challenge of Promoting a Culture of Peace in Africa". Organized jointly by the Omar Bongo Ondimba Foundation and the Gabonese National Commission for UNESCO, in collaboration with UNESCO, this international meeting aims to launch a network of youth organizations working to spread a culture of peace in Africa in through actions in favor of dialogue, tolerance and social inclusion. Young people will be at the forefront of the three-day forum organized by them, for them and with them. One hundred young people representing 45 youth organizations and African national youth councils will be gathered. All regions of the continent will be represented, including the Diaspora. To ensure that young participants have maximum autonomy and initiative, UNESCO made available to them three months ago an online platform which enabled them to take up the stakes of the debate.
Through this virtual forum, youth representatives have compared their views and expressed their ambitions for the network they are developing on their own. They will thus arrive in Libreville to finalize their work through two first days of exchanges devoted to exercises of anticipation and foresight based on participatory methods. These approaches will enable them to envisage their action for the culture of peace in the light of the future - a future where they can play a pivotal and decisive role for Africa and beyond.
After these first two days, the young people will meet the partners of their network. First, at the official opening ceremony scheduled for December 13, they will present the results of their work to their official supporters, the African Union, the Omar Bongo Foundation, the Gabonese government and UNESCO, represented by Ms Bokova, the Director-General. Then, the young people will meet a set of potential partners with whom to take concrete actions on the ground. UNESCO's Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation, Forest Whitaker, will be among their interlocutors. In particular, he will present a partnership project between UNESCO and its foundation, the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative (WPDI). Focusing on the youth of fragile countries, this collaboration aims to train young people in mediation, new technologies and social entrepreneurship in order to build them into networks of peace and sustainable development in their communities. The closing of the Forum will be marked by the nomination ceremony of Pierre-Claver Akendengué, Gabonese singer, musician and poet, as UNESCO's Peacebuilding Artist. This ceremony will then be followed by a concert that will be given in particular to strengthen the impetus of young people towards a culture of peace for the future of the African continent.
By mobilizing African youth around the culture of peace, the Pan-African Forum intends to give substance to a number of ambitions that have emerged in recent years in Africa for peace and youth. The first is to contribute to the Plan of Action for a Culture of Peace in Africa and the campaign "Taking Action for Peace", resulting from the conclusions and recommendations of the Pan-African Forum "Africa: Sources and Resources for a Culture of Peace ", held in March 2013 in Luanda (Angola), co-organized by the Angolan Government, the African Union and UNESCO. The Forum will also be an opportunity to call once again for the ratification of the African Youth Charter by all the Member States of the African Union with a view to accelerating the implementation of the Plan of Action the African Youth Decade (2009-2018).