«International Symposium of the Pan-African Centre for Social Prospects for Peace and Development through Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue».
This is the title of the conference organized in Cotonou, Benin, from Tuesday 26 to Thursday, May 28, for a general mobilization against the dangers of Boko Haram. «This symposium was based on interreligious and intercultural dialogue to build peace around practical concerns of fight against poverty,» said Albert Tevoedjre, former Ombudsman of Benin and President of the Pan-African Social Prospects Centre, during a meeting with the press on May 20.
Sponsored by the government of Benin, this African initiative has many supporters, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNESCO, the ECOWAS (Economic organization created by the Treaty of Lagos in 1975 by fifteen States of West Africa).
Among the 200 participants from all continents are various academics from Egypt, Lebanon and Indonesia, Ukraine and personalities such Abderhamane Sissako, director of the film Timbuktu, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, UN representative, William F. Vendely, Secretary General of Religions for Peace and Francis Kagema Kuria, secretary general of the African Council of Religious Leaders.
Many African leaders are also present, starting with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, as well as many African and European Muslim leaders.
Also present were leading figures of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo of Burkina Faso, Archbishop of Ouagadougou; Nigerian Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja; Archbishop Jean Zerbo, Archbishop of Bamako (Mali); Bishop Paul Simon Ahouanan, Archbishop of Bouaké (Ivory Coast) and president of the new National Reconciliation Commission and compensation of victims (Conariv); Bishop Jean-Marc Aveline, Auxiliary Bishop of Marseille.