I have just arrived back in Kigali from Caux, Switzerland, where I attended the 25th annual Creators of Peace Conference, hosted by the CAUX-Initiatives of Change Foundation (CAUX-IofC). Established in 1946, the CAUX-IofC aims to inspire, equip and connect individuals, groups and organizations to address the world’s needs on the promotion of trust, ethical leadership and sustainable living, starting with themselves. Their objectives are to strengthen the ethical commitment of social, political and economic actors, to help heal the wounds of history by building trust and to nurture peace by forging networks among people of different faiths and cultures.
The conference was wonderful and very helpful. I look forward to using the lessons I learned to help women here in Rwanda. I participated in many workshops on topics such as living in peace and embracing differences, and how to live effectively with your head, heart, and hands. Throughout the workshops we shared our stories, because giving personal testimonies can help us, empower us, and change others.
We had many discussions about the need to celebrate differences, as well as discussions about why some people do not want to accept those who are different from themselves. We spoke about how our differences can compliment one another. For example, a bouquet of flowers is nicest when it has many different types and colours of flowers, whereas a bouquet of all the same colour is not as special. The power of love can help us to embrace these differences, because if you love someone you do not see them as a person of a certain colour, you just see them as a person that you love.
We also discussed how the resistance to accept differences can get in the way of developing peace and the humanities, causing some good ideas to die before they are even born. However, hand in hand, we can create love, and that love can bring peace.
I am now planning to start Creators of Peace groups in Kigali. The groups will meet to tell their stories, give each other advice, and try to find solutions to their problems. Every Rwandan has their own story, and these groups will provide a space to share those stories. The groups will be open to both men and women, and eventually will expand to outside of Kigali.
I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the Creators of Peace ‘Living Peace’ Conference. It was a very worthwhile learning experience and I met many people who touched my heart.
Jeanne Mwiliriza, Tubahumurize Founder and Program Coordinator