AFRICA/IVORY COAST - "Peace bearers": students apostles of the Gospel in a society marked by civil conflict

Friday, 21 September 2018 peace   school   reconciliation   violence   wars   students  

Yamoussoukro (Agenzia Fides) – To educate for peace in a context marked profoundly by the civil war. This is the project that is taking place in Côte d'Ivoire "Porteurs de Paix" ("Peace Bearers"), an association led by the Jesuit, Vincent Foutchantse, in collaboration with the Magis Foundation, the Italian Jesuit NGO. The initiative has been underway for some months and takes on particular significance today, 21 September, International Day of Peace.
The project has as its objective the education to peace, based on the teaching of the Gospel, of a group of formators who then, in turn, will work together with the students of the Ivorian colleges. This is why seminars and meetings are organized to strengthen the skills of formators. The courses will allow to deepen self-awareness, communication, conflict management and mediation, with the effect of propagating a style of human relationship based on trust towards others and harmony, rather than on violence.
For years, the Ivory Coast has represented a model of economic growth and coexistence among populations of different social groups for all of West Africa. At the beginning of the 2000s, political opposition led to a polarization of the ethnic components of the Country and to an increase in social relations which, in 2000, resulted in an open conflict. The conflict devastated the Country and, even after the end of hostilities in 2003, ethnic tensions have always remained latent. Only partly alleviated by the economic policies that led to a strong increase in GDP from 3.6% in 2009 to 6.3% in 2015.
In this context, the "Porteurs de Paix" carry out an action to promote good relations between the different components of the Ivorian society. Its formators try to transmit the values of mutual acceptance and respect towards every member of society.
"Our subjects - explain those responsible of Porteurs de Paix - could also be taught at university. But we have preferred to focus our efforts on high school students. They will be offered the tools to manage conflicts and relationships without conflict in order to broaden their horizons and their spirit to new perspectives for the peaceful resolution of conflicts, according to the Gospel teaching: Blessed are the peaceful". (EC) (Agenzia Fides, 21/9/2018)