United Religions Initiative (URI) Africa presented its 2014 Africa Peace Award to Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on October 25. The Prestigious Africa Peace Award of URI Africa presented to IGAD in appreciation and acknowledgment of their many crowning achievements.
The Ambassador of the Republic of the Sudan to Djibouti and Permanent Representative to IGAD, H.E. Hussein Elamin Elfadil, on behalf of IGAD member states, along with the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Ambassador Mahboub Maalim, received the award from Ambassador Mussie Hailu, URI Regional Director for Africa and Representative of URI to the United Nations Office in Africa, Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union Commission. The award ceremony took place at Djibouti Palace Kempinski.
After receiving the award, Ambassador Mahboub Maalim commended the work of URI Africa and the leadership of Ambassador Mussie Hailu. Maalim said that he felt “much gratification that such an internationally recognized organization as URI Africa is awarding IGAD this yearly award. This award is another wake-up call for us to do even more in the area of peace building in our region”.
After handing over the Peace Award to IGAD, Ambassador Mussie Hailu said “IGAD is among the African intergovernmental organizations working hard on the ground to bring peace, security, regional integration and development in the Horn of Africa. It is also for this reason that URI Africa honors IGAD with the peace award. URI Africa recognizes the excellent leadership of the Executive Secretary of IGAD and the great day-to-day work of the entire IGAD Secretariat staff”.
IGAD is at the forefront of efforts towards finding peaceful resolution to conflicts throughout the Horn of Africa. In 2005, they spearheaded the efforts that brought about the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed between the National Congress Party and the SPLM—the initiative that paved the way for the creation of the Republic of South Sudan.
URI Africa also acknowledges IGAD for the important role that the organization has played in contributing to the stability and diplomacy in the Horn of Africa.Their accomplishments range from critical mediation and conflict-prevention to capacity building between member states. IGAD has also held a long-standing role in the re-establishment of sovereign government in Somalia, keeping the issue of Somalia on the international agenda.
This award is also given to honor IGAD’s work in Conflict Prevention Management and Resolution through the Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism, an effort in enhancing regional integration and controlling drought and infrastructure development across the region.
IGAD is an organization that holds every stakeholder accountable, encouraging its member states to live according to their constitutional rules, to adhere to the process of democratization and to maintain acceptable levels of governance. Moreover, they involve
NGOs and civil society members in the region to play active roles in peace-building, social development and environmental protection. IGAD has also been highly effective in spearheading the Peace Talks in Addis Ababa on the South Sudan crisis.
On behalf of members of URI in Africa and its leadership team, Ambassador Mussie acknowledged the tireless effort and outstanding contribution made by H.E Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and current Chairperson of IGAD in facilitating the increased engagement, convergence of ideas and solidarity among IGAD member states in support of Somalia.
Ambassador Mussie also acknowledged the continued commitment of the AMISOM forces, the courage and commitment of the Somali National Security Forces, and the support by all troops and police in contributing countries such as Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Uganda as well as in Ethiopia. Ambassador Mussie also commends the role of IGAD Special Envoys, Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin of Ethiopia, General Lazaro Sumbeiywo of Kenya and General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa El Dobi of Sudan for their tireless efforts to help the South Sudanese stakeholders to resolve the crisis in South Sudan.
In addition, Ambassador Mussie announced that URI Africa joins hands with the African Union Commission to harness the power of religious communities for the integration and development in Africa through the AU Interfaith Forum and express the commitment of URI Africa to enhance more its working partnership with IGAD Secretariat and member states to promote peaceful co-existence among followers of different religions and cultures and to preserve the environmental protection in the horn of Africa.
Addressing on the need of the Africa Peace Award program Ambassador Mussie said:
“URI Africa established the Africa Peace Award to recognize the committed, effective leadership that is currently being exercised to bring sustainable peace, development, democracy and good leadership in the continent. The Africa Peace Award celebrates, acknowledges and honors the accomplishments of individuals or organization that have exhibited extraordinary leadership to build a culture of peace, reconciliation and harmony among different religions and cultures and respect the universal declaration of human right. The award helps to create role models of peace-builders throughout Africa.
The Africa Peace Award is a non-monetary award that honors distinguished African individuals or organizations that have exhibited exceptional leadership in bringing about peace, reconciliation, solidarity, and the alleviation of poverty, preservation of the environment, and promoting interfaith harmony and co-existence among different ethnics groups and cultures. The Africa Peace Award focuses on individuals or organizations whose leadership and policies reflect courage, initiative, and creativity in a wide variety of areas that help to create peace and a better future for all. The Africa Peace Award acknowledges and honors the recipients’ outstanding contribution to the general wellbeing of the people of Africa and the world at large. In addition, the Africa Peace Award seeks to generate heightened awareness within the global community of the many African leaders that are making difficult decisions and taking the necessary actions to resolve the pressing political and social issues facing the continent. The award recognizes that leadership is exercised at every level and sector of society and thus the Africa Peace Award seeks to recognize recipients from all walks of life”.
Some of Past Recipients of the Africa Peace Award include:
- E. Pierre Nkurunziza President of the Republic of Burundi, H.E. Mr. Armando Guebuza President of Mozambique, H.E. Mr. Joquim Chissano Former President of Mozambique, H.E. Mr. Alfonso Dhjakama President of RENAMO Party, H.E. Mr. Girma Woldegiorgis President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, The Achole Religious Leaders Initiative of Northern Uganda, National Unity and Reconciliation Commission of Rwanda (NURC) and H.E. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, H.E. Blaise Compaore, President of Burkina Faso, The Elders Council of Ethiopia, Professor Hizkias Assefa, UNESCO, Missionaries of Charity, Rotary International, Archbishop Desmond Tutu , The Africa Union, The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, The President of Liberia and the President of Nigeria are also among the recipients of this Prestigious Africa Peace Award.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is an eight-country intergovernmental organization. It includes governments from the Horn of Africa, Nile Valley, and the African Great Lakes. The headquarter of IGAD is in Djibouti City.
The IGAD mission is to assist and complement the efforts of the Member States to achieve, through increased cooperation: Food Security and environmental protection, Promotion and maintenance of peace and security and humanitarian affairs, and Economic cooperation and integration in the IGAD region
URI is a global interfaith organization with Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and it is working to promote enduring daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence, and to create cultures of peace, healing and justice for the Earth and all living beings. Through its 650 member organizations in over 89 countries URI is cultivating peaceful co-existence among different religions and cultures by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the world. In Africa URI has 140 member organizations in 28 African Countries.
The vision of URI Africa is to see united, prosperous, and peaceful Africa where there is no religious strife and where followers of different religions live together in harmony and respect each other based on the teaching of the Golden Rule which says” Treat others the way you want to be treated”.
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