Published on 2008-12-29 11:25:00 - 5780 Hits
After being elected President of Senegal in 2000, he implemented his noble ideas for unity and peace in West Africa and for sustainable development. His actions, furthermore, have been recognised internationally. Among the many awards he received, let us mention the Henry Sylvester William gold medal for African renaissance, in 2003, and on 16 May 2006, at Unesco, he received the 2005 Félix Houphouët-Boigny award for his efforts to secure peace. The award was bestown by the Unesco Director General and the President of the Jury, Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State and holder of the Nobel Peace Prize. We wish to recognise that the opening session of the Congress was addressed by a great artisan of peace.
President Wade started his speech by recalling the overriding importance of peace in the three great monotheistic religions and understanding among the believers of these three religions. He came to the conclusion that history has proven that good understanding is possible and in present times, as technology brings people closer together than ever before, "the challenge [...] is rather to accept to live together."
President Wade emphasised that "accepting to live together first of all means celebrating our shared values and respecting our differences". He then stressed that extremism is obscurantism and that it is, thus, the duty of each and every one of us to work henceforth to "overcome fear and ignorance"; it is the duty of each individual but it is a duty that is even greater among religious leaders who, by their functions also have a capacity for peace:
"You, Imams and Rabbis, as men of faith and of the Word, with spiritual elevation that puts you above the demands of time, you have the gift and the sacred mission to rekindle and maintain the flame of peace in the hearts of men.
Where politicians come to a halt, you can open closed doors, alleviate resentment, remove the suspicion that generates distrust and fear, and thus you can plot the path of dialogue and cordial understanding.
Against those who incite war and violence, ostensibly in the name of God, you again have the authority to say: no, God loves peace, and God's side is the side of peace, not war!"
Further enriching the presentation of his thoughts by giving a few examples from among the many concrete actions that comprise his strongly peace-bent policy, the President ended his address with a heartening appeal that summarised all the hopes founded on this world congress of Imams and Rabbis for peace:
"Honourables Imams and Rabbis, may the faith within you light up the heart of all believers and all men and women of good will.
And may your prayers be with us, not only for the reconciliation of Israelis and Palestinians but also amongst all peoples in conflict so that peace may triumph in the world."
"During the opening session of the Congress, Pres. Wade also agreed to be President of the Committee of Honour of Hommes de Parole Foundation."
Organised by Hommes de Parole Foundation in partnership with the International Association of Human Values, the Fifth World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace will be held in Bangalore (India), during 2015, at the invitation of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a leader of non-violence in India.
The Third Congress took decisions on the promotion of a peace culture in Israel and Palestine and on the inclusion of women and young people in future meetings.
The Fifth World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace will implement these commitments. This congress will bring together representatives of the great spiritual traditions, and leave ample space for women and young people.