Mrs. Aruna Chandaria, co-chair of the Chandaria Foundation signs the Abuja Peace Declaration.

Mrs. Aruna Chandaria, co-chair of the Chandaria Foundation signs the Abuja Peace Declaration.

At the close of the Global Peace Leadership Conference Abuja 2013, political leaders, media professionals, community and regional leaders as well as religious and tribal leaders from more than 20 nations signed the Abuja Peace Declaration for Peace and Development in Africa. They committed to creating a strategic platform to promote universal values for peacebuilding and our shared values as One Family under God. The Declaration formally launched the African Leadership Mission, a coalition of leaders, including former heads of African nations that pursue the action items on the Declaration, which include the following:

        • Promoting moral and innovative leadership
        • Developing character and creativity education
        • Generating community driven development and youth entrepreneurship initiatives
        • Fostering interfaith cooperation
        • Implementing other projects like Global Peace Festivals and regional youth and peace forums that express human solidarity

Faith leaders, including representatives of the Islamic Sultan of Sokoto, the Catholic archbishop of Abuja, and the head of the Nigerian Inter-faith Action Association, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, affirmed common values and a shared commitment to peace. Bishop Sunday drew applause when he declared: “We are all related!”

HJM signing Abuja Declaration 2013

(Photo Credit: NewsIs)

This groundbreaking conference comes at a pivotal point in African development. Salamatu Hussaini-Suleiman, representative of the Economic Community of West African States, in her speech a day earlier, reminded the audience “Africa has the fastest-growing economies in the world, and that this is the time to reverse identity based hatred, insurgency and other disruptive security threats to the continent.” Dr. Moon encouraged African nations to chart a new course of economic and social development that avoids the mistakes of current developed nations.

During his closing remarks Dr. Moon marveled at Africa’s spirit and potential. “Africans have not been overwhelmed  by their challenges. They have the spirit they have the sense of hope to build a brighter future for themselves, their families, for their future generations. That, that is the more precious than all the gold, oil or diamonds that are on this continent. That is what will allow African to lift itself from its challenges that will bring a bright future for their children and their children’s children.”

He called on participants to “take the first step” and make the Abuja Declaration their mission in life in order to secure a positive future for not only their nation, but for the continent of Africa. To a rising applause he urged, “Become the leaders of transformational change. And believe me, God’s abundant blessing will shine and a new tomorrow shall begin.”

The Global Peace Leadership Conference entitled, “Moral and Innovative Leadership: Building Sustainable Peace for a Prosperous Future” was held in Abuja, Nigeria from November 7-9.