Africa: Jesuits take a step towards peace

An enlightening and challenging experience, the Conference on conflict transformation and peace-building organised by JESAM, the Jesuit African Conference (Nairobi, 8-12 April), raised awareness of African conflicts and challenged the 47 Jesuit participants to realise that it is not possible to remain indifferent to these. The aim of the conference was to encourage a more united approach in addressing African conflicts, and the diversity of participants, the great manifestation of solidarity between the North and the South, is already a first step in this direction. Several recommendations were made during the meeting. These concern, among other things, the need to strengthen networking and regional solidarity among African Jesuit institutions operating in the field of peace-building and reconciliation; the setting-up of training programmes on peace-building based on Ignatian spirituality at different stages of formation and in different Jesuit communities as well as in schools and parishes. Other ambitious, long-term projects were explored, such as the creation of an African Peace University building on the campus of the present Hekima Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations. A follow-up committee will be established with the aim of coordinating peace-building activities of the JESAM social centres and identifying specific needs for immediate, short-term and long-term response. The next meeting will be in 2006 (JESAM Assembly) in view of the next General Congregation. [HL50404] Ferdinand Muhigirwa SJ, Provincial Coordinator of the Social Apostolate in Central Africa and Director of CEPAS, RDC.