In May 2013, New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation is partnered with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), UNESCO and a wide coalition of partners from corporations to civil society to launch the 2013 world campaign “Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion”, aimed at engaging people around the world to Do One Thing to support Cultural Diversity and Inclusion. Following the adoption in 2001 of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, the United Nations General Assembly declared May 21 as the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.
In Jos, the Plateau State, Nigeria’s “Home of Peace and Tourism”, the “2013 Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion Conference”, was conducted at the Main Conference Hall of CRUDAN GUEST House, Sabon Barki, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria, to mark the United Nations World Day for Cultural Diversity and Inclusion for Dialogue and Development, on May 21, 2013, beginning from 8am to 4pm. The theme we chose for this year’s event in Jos, Nigeria was: Forging Peace Through Understanding and Inclusion. Three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension. Bridging the gap between cultures is urgent and necessary for peace, stability and development. The day provides us with an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to live together better. The 2013 campaign, by encouraging people and organizations from around the world to take concrete action to support diversity, aims:
Cultural Diversity does matter. Cultural diversity is a driving force of development, not only with respect to economic growth, but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life. This is captured in the seven culture conventions, which provide a solid basis for the promotion of cultural diversity. Cultural diversity is thus an asset that is indispensable for poverty reduction and the achievement of sustainable development. At the same time, acceptance and recognition of cultural diversity – in particular through innovative use of media and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) – are conducive to dialogue among civilizations and cultures, respect and mutual understanding.
The event was very well attended by over 100 participants, representing the Government, Civil Society Groups, traditional, cultural and religious leaders, teachers and students. Arrival and Registrations commenced as early as 8am. After the prayers and brief introductions of Invited Guests, students of Creative Minds International Academy, Jos (www.creativemindsacademy.net), entertained participants for about thirty (30) minutes in traditional Africa songs and cultural dances. This was followed by the Welcome Address delivered by Dr. Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba, Executive Director of New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation, on behalf of the Organizers and collaborators. The Opening Statement was the presented by Hon. Elisha Buba Yero, Global Council Trustee for the United Religions Initiative (URI), a US-based International Organization promoting daily interfaith dialogue and a culture of Peace around the world. Participants then had the priviledge to listen to a video Goodwill Message for Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, United Nations High-Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, from New York, USA. More Goodwill Messages were received from the Hon. Commissioner, Plateau State Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Hon. Barr. Timothy Parlong, Special Adviser to the Plateau State Governor on Peacebuilding, Mrs. Betty Alaribe, Founder and Proprietor, Victory International Schools, Mr. Godwin Okoko, Nigeria Country Representative of Apurimac Onlus, among others. Meals were then served from 10:0am – 11am.
A Special Discussion Session on the Theme: Forging Peace Through Understanding and Inclusion, including a Question and Answer Session then followed, facilitated by Ema Miroslava Billings, NEEDCSI’s Director of Development, from the Center for Justice and Peace of the Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA. A Keynote Address was also delivered by Nnaemego, Nkiruka Stella, BL. Law, MSc Social Work, PNM, MNIM, Founder/CEO of the Abuja-based Fresh and Young Brains Development Initiative (FRESH). Group Discussions centered on the content of the Paper presented. The paper observed that that for peace to exist, citizens must learn to promote mutual respect, understanding and inclusion. Some of the Key ingredients for forging Peace highlighted at the Campaign include, but not limited to: Right Information, Interfaith Dialogue, Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue, Forums on Ethnicity and Religion, Use of ICT in Information Dissemination, Positive Engagement of Migrants, Public Consultations, etc.
An important major component of the 2013 Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion Campaign in Jos, Nigeria, was the Youth Interfaith Service-Learning Activity, to encourage peace through service projects and education among youths of different faith traditions in Plateau State, to help build up and encourage youths and families to live a life of strong moral value, recognizing that the peace of our communities, our nation and the world begins with the peace of the individual and to help participants to socialize across boundaries of culture and faith and to experience volunteerism from a faith-based community of youths, educators and experts.
50 Students, mainly from Christians, Muslims from Creative Minds International Academy and Victory International School, both in Jos, Nigeria participate in a 3-hour Interfaith Youth Street Cleaning Exercise. The Students cleared and burnt garbage along Michael Botmang Street in the Dadin Kowa District of Jos South Local Government Council.
KEY DECISIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:
The women, men and Youth Participants at the 2013 Do One Thing Campaign in Jos, Nigeria, provided recommendations to decision-makers, institutions and individuals for dignifying everyone and our shared values. In a safe space, the Do One Thing for Diversity and Inclusion Campaign created a living model for prosperity, coexistence beyond war, and restoring friendships and trust. Key Decisions and recommendations included:
Photographs and Videos of our 2013 Do One Thing Campaign in Jos, Nigeria are now available at the following links: .Facebook Photos:
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