Seychelles founding President Sir James R. Mancham, who was awarded at the beginning of the year with the Africa Peace Award 2016, will ceremoniously be presented with this prestigious trophy at a reception at the Intercontinental Hotel on April 12, 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya, on the occasion of the launch of the Joint Leadership Programme between Common Purpose and World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid.
The decision to present the award to Sir James at the Nairobi forum has been taken by the Regional Director of URI-Africa, Ambassador Mussie Hailu, in common accord with Common Purpose and World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid.
In a statement yesterday morning announcing the presentation ceremony of the peace award, Ambassador Hailu, who is also the representative of URI at the AU Commission (AUC), Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and UN Office in Nairobi, Kenya, and Special Envoy of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the AU on Inter-faith, Inter-religious and Inter-cultural issues, states: “The Award is presented to Sir James Mancham, Founding President of Seychelles in appreciation and acknowledgment of his tireless effort in promoting a culture of peace, inter-religious & inter-cultural harmony, constructive dialogue among civilisation, reconciliation, social justice, good leadership and for his visionary and extraordinary leadership in building the image of Africa globally and for being spokesperson for the interest of Africa at international platform as former African President.”
URI Africa established the Africa Peace Award to recognise the committed and effective leadership exercise to bring sustainable peace, environmental protection, developments, democracy and good leadership on the African continent. The award celebrates, acknowledges and honours the accomplishments of individuals and organisations who have exhibited extraordinary leadership to build a culture of peace, environmental preservation, reconciliation and harmony among different religions and cultures and respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and bring positive change in people’s lives.
Previous recipients of the Africa Peace Award include the African Union (AU); UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation); IGAD (Inter-Governmental Authority for Development), UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme); H.E. Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria; H.E. Girma Wolde-Giorgis, former President of Ethiopia; Archbishop Desmond Tutu; Rotary International and Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity and World Public Forum.
The URI is an international interfaith peace organisation with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council working to promote enduring daily inter-faith cooperation to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, healing and justice for the Earth and all living beings. URI has 775 member organisations in 95 countries.
Through its 182-member organisations from 31 African countries, the URI-Africa is cultivating peaceful coexistence among different religions and cultures by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and their environment. In brief the vision of the URI is to see a united, prosperous and peaceful Africa where there is no religious strife.
Editor’s note: It is to be noted that following the announcement that Sir James had been awarded the Africa Peace Award 2016 Seychelles’ President James Michel wrote: “…This prestigious award is an acknowledgement in recognition of your outstanding contribution in the promotion of peace, democracy, security, interfaith harmony, intercultural dialogue and development in Africa as well as in nurturing the spirit of partnership at both continental and global levels.
“We are extremely proud of this achievement which not only honours your remarkable contributions at continental level but also honours Seychelles and the Seychellois people in what they represent today in their commitment to sustainable development, democracy and peace. We share your vision and commitment for a peaceful, harmonious and loving Seychelles.
“Indeed through this award you have claimed yourself an honoured and well-deserved place in the annals of the history of Africa. We pay tribute to your statesmanship and celebrate with you this great accomplishment…”
On February 9 in a letter to Sir James from the Speaker of the National Assembly of Seychelles, Dr Patrick Herminie states:
“It comes as no surprise to me that you have been awarded with the Africa Peace Award 2016 given your outstanding record as a statesman promoting peace throughout the world. This has been particularly so in Seychhelles through your firm and uncompromised commitment towards national reconciliation.
“I have no doubt that you will continue this outstanding work with the same vigour and determination. I therefore avail of this opportunity to wish you continued success in your endeavour and congratulate you on such a big achievement not only for yourself but also to your beloved country Seychelles.”
Sir James was also specially congratulated by the Honourable Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union (AU). In his letter dated February 4, 2016, the AU Commisioner wrote:
“On behalf of all of us at the AU Commission I wish to congratulate you wholeheartedly for having been awarded the prestigious Africa Peace Award 2016.
“I have personally followed with great interests and inspiration your career for years and was excited to see that you have joined the ranks of other distinguished statesmen in receiving this Pan-African Award. You have always impressed me with your clear vision and ability to get the job done against the most formidable opposition, leading your country to independence and transforming Seychelles into one of the leading touristic attractions in the world, influencing many world leaders with your visionary contemporary philosophy and outlook, undertaking indefatigably various actions to promote peace throughout Africa and the pivotal role played in helping to settle international disputes.
“You may certainly count on the support of the African Union in your pursuit of sustainable peace, religious tolerance, environmental protection, development, democracy and good leadership on the African continent. We are confident that your influence will continue to encourage our proud tradition of involvement in worthwhile political causes.
“Please have no doubt that you have our full support. I wish you the best for many more years to come in promoting peace in Africa and endeavouring to silence the guns on the Continent!”
A congratulatory message was also received from Reverend Dr Andre Karamaga, General Secretary of the AU Africa Conference of Churches which is a Pan-African ecumenical instrument established in 1963 which is working in mobilising its 120 million members to speak with one voice on issues affecting the people on the African Continent and which is working in close partnership with the AU towards a united, prosperous and peaceful Africa.