Imagine Africa Beyond War was hosted on Zoom from 23 to 25 November 2023, providing a space for networking among participants.
About World BEYOND War
World BEYOND War (WBW) is a global nonviolent movement founded on January 1st, 2014, to abolish the institution of war and establish a just and sustainable peace. The heart of WBW is to find a way to transition to a global security system that is supported by international law, diplomacy, collaboration, and human rights, and defending those things with nonviolent action rather than the threat of violence. The work of WBW includes education that dispels myths, like “War is natural” or “We have always had war,” and show people not only that war should be abolished, but also that it actually can be. This work includes all variety of nonviolent activism that moves the world in the direction of ending all war. World BEYOND War currently coordinates 25 chapters in 14 countries and maintains partnerships with 97 affiliates around the world.
In Africa, the first WBW chapter was established in November 2020 in Cameroon. In addition to establishing its presence in a country that has already been severely affected by the war, the chapter made it one of its objectives to support emerging chapters and expand the vision of the organisation across the continent. As a result of awareness, coaching and networking, chapters have emerged in Burundi and Nigeria; others are in the process of being established, like in Uganda, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Kenya, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, and more.
Background: The Increasing Threats to Peace in Africa
Building on peace perspectives that emerged so far from the work of Cameroon for a WBW, the first ever African virtual conference will be held this year from 23 to 25 November 2023. The conference is aimed at showcasing the opportunities that WBW chapters in Africa have to end wars and contribute to world peace-building efforts. It will bring together WBW members and affiliates from around the world, organisations that share similar goals and actors who can support this work. The conference will be grounded around the following issues: the stake of security in WBW country chapters, why WBW is needed in Africa and in the world, peacebuilding efforts and regional perspectives.
This year’s first ever WBW conference to stop war in Africa focuses on exposing wars and war-driven factors that prevent the continent from envisioning sustainable peace. It explores existing and potential opportunities to picture how Africa beyond war is really like, by showcasing the work for just and sustainable peace and unique perspectives of activists in the continent who are challenging the structural causes of wars. The virtual conference shall be an opportunity for experience sharing, learning, inspiration, and an opportunity to connect with stakeholders around the world who share our vision for a just and peaceful world, so that together some practical strategies needed to get us there can be considered.
As part of the collaboration with African Chapters, the regional conference is proposed to be organized each year in one of our countries to enhance our roles as agents of change and key actors in implementing WBW’s AGSS (alternative global security system), to further strengthen and increase WBW networks and find new synergies on how to collectively work to end all wars. The first edition is hosted virtually. Through 3 days of online panels and discussion sessions from November 23-25, participants will “Imagine Africa Beyond War.”
Strengthen the collaboration amongst WBW Chapters and allies in Africa and worldwide and envisage World BEYOND War’s blueprint for an alternative security system as the approach to imagine Africa beyond war.
- Increase WBW’s visibility in the African region and further strengthen and find synergies on how to collectively work for a stronger and more effective outreach;
- Enhance WBW African Chapters’ roles as agents of creating a culture of peace and key actors in implementing the AGSS;
- Learn from participants’ experiences and build on best practices and challenges promoting peace.
- Opening ceremony: Welcome remarks by David Swanson, WBW Executive Director, and Guy Blaise Feugap, WBW Cameroon Chapter Coordinator
- Introduction of African Chapter Coordinators
- Getting to know WBW’s work, how to get involved and set up a chapter, with Greta Zarro, WBW Organizing Director, and Rachel Small, WBW Canada Organizer
- Key achievements of the first WBW Chapter in Africa and the movement building in Africa, with Guy Feugap, WBW Cameroon Chapter Coordinator
- Space for one-on-one interactions: Breakout rooms and report back to the plenary
- Challenges in conflict prevention and peace-building work in Africa (by WBW Coordinators from Burundi, Nigeria, DRC, Uganda, Senegal and Mali)
- Examples of campaigns that can be done in Africa (by Godwin Kweku, journalist in Ghana)
- Peace and partnership opportunities in Africa (by Shane Guthrie, Peace Brigades International)
- Space for one-on-one interactions
- Reflections on possible support of WBW’s work in Africa, by WBW’s Development Director Alex McAdams
- Conditions for peace: What we know from Europe? (by Wolfgang Lieberknecht, International Peace Factory Wanfried, Germany)
- Closing ceremony:
- African traditional conflict prevention and resolution methods (by Judithe Lyhuitekong, Cameroon chapter member, and conference participants)
- African cultural and peace ceremonies
- Closing remarks by WBW Board President Kathy Kelly and Guy Feugap, WBW Cameroon Chapter Coordinator