João Lourenço, President of Angola, inaugurated the third edition of the Pan-African Forum for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence – Luanda Biennial on Wednesday. The biennial forum, held in the Angolan capital until Friday, carries the theme “Education, Culture of Peace, and African Citizenship as Tools for the Sustainable Development of the Continent.”
President Lourenço emphasized the paramount importance of peace and peaceful coexistence within African societies. He stressed the need for “continuous education, especially among young people,” to instil the values of peace and foster its preservation as a prerequisite for economic and social development.
While acknowledging cultural diversity as a valuable asset, the President of Angola cautioned against its distortion, which can breed social tensions and unnecessary conflicts. In this context, the forum’s theme aptly challenges us to “forge new paradigms and foster respect for difference as a cornerstone in building societies increasingly immune to violence.”
Promoting a culture of peace, President Lourenço continued, entails valuing the collective, embracing diversity as a source of wealth to be protected, and acting as a driving force for social justice, equity, and inclusion.
Recognizing the vibrant youth demographic of the African continent, Angola’s President emphasized the importance of addressing their aspirations and expectations for the future. He urged us to “seek to meet their needs, always considering their role as a driving force for change, evolution, progress, development, and the construction of creative and innovative societies.”
President Lourenço advocated for initiatives to definitively end conflicts in Africa and embark on a path of sustainable development without hindrance. He called for concerted actions among all, with the active involvement of the African Union, citing problematic examples such as the situation in Sudan, terrorist actions in the Sahel region, and coups d’état in some countries in West and Central Africa.
He decried the lack of strong condemnation and repulsion towards these actions, stating, “There are even cases in which coup plotters are treated with the same respect as legitimate holders of power, which clashes with the principles and values defended by the African Union.”