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Youth groups share vision of peace

Country Map - Rwanda (Kigali) IRIN
The year ahead promises to be a key one for Rwanda.
The French Cultural Centre in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, rang with the rhythms of peace at the weekend, as 60 young people expressed their hope for reconciliation in Rwanda through song, dances, poems and drama. The project, Promotion Of Reconciliation Through Arts Among Youth, began in 1998 with an essay competition among high school students and has grown over three years to include more than 40 groups from four areas within Rwanda where the NGO, World Vision, is operational, according to the organisation. "As today's youth, you will be tomorrow's leaders. It is time to build a new future. Your voices can call everyone to what is best and what is right. Sing, dance, speak and act for a future that is based on the two great commandments: love God and love your neighbour," said Dave Toycen, World Vision's President in Canada, who was instrumental in the initial planning. The top four groups performed for an audience of over 300 on Saturday, including Jean Neponcene Nayinzira, President of Rwanda's National Commission of Unity and Reconciliation, who was enthusiastic about the possibility of using them to reach the broader Rwandan community. On Sunday, two of the groups travelled to prisons and held performances for some of the 120,000 people still awaiting trial on genocide crimes. Rwandan president Paul Kagame will institute 'Gacaca' tribunals in July or August of this year. "These locally-based courts of justice depend on people being willing to speak the truth - and to forgive. So there has never been a more urgent need for this message of reconciliation from Rwanda's next generation," said World Vision on its website. [http://www.wvi.org/]. A four-day conference follows the weekend, giving 120 youth a chance to plan the future of the project, which the agency hopes will be a model used for reconciliation throughout Rwanda and in other regions.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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