Sh5.7m award for promoters of dialogue and peace in Africa to be unveiled in Nairobi

Founder of the Macky Sall Prize for Dialogue in Africa Mr. Deo Hakizimana, the Secretary General of the Independent Centre for Research and Initiatives for Dialogue (right) based in Geneva, Switzerland meets the Senegalese President, whom the prize is named after in a past photo.

A Sh5.7 million (50,000 Euros) annual award to recognise initiatives and personalities using political and social dialogues to avert conflicts in Africa is set to be introduced in Nairobi.

The award is named after Senegalese President Macky Sall who is acclaimed for his efforts to innovatively deploy high-level dialogue to resolve conflicts in his country and across the continent since he came to office.

The initiative is the brainchild of renowned former Burundi diplomat, teacher and journalist Mr. Deo Hakizimana through the Independent Centre for Research and Initiatives for Dialogue (CIRID) an NGO he founded in Geneva, Switzerland. 

The event in Nairobi on Tuesday is part of efforts to promote visibility of the award across the continent ahead of the naming of the inaugural winner in September this year at the United Nations in Geneva by President Sall himself.

 The winner will be selected by an Honorary Committee that includes Ivory Coast’s President Allassane Ouattara, King Mohamed VI of Morocco, international artists Youssou Ndour and Angélique Kidjo from Benin as well as Former Secretary-General of the intergovernmental organization of La Francophonie Mr. Abdou Diouf.

CIRID is planning to nominate an eminent person from Kenya to join the committee in recognition of Kenya’s role promoting dialogue to solve conflict, both within the country and the region.

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 “The prize seeks to send a strong message about the need for peaceful conflict resolution in Africa through dialogue. We are also looking to set up our regional office in Nairobi,” said Mr. Hakizimana.

CIRID, which launched the award in December 2016 in Geneva, works with governments, religious and civil society institutions to develop platforms for dialogue to conflict resolution, sustainable development and peace across Africa and the Diaspora.

It has facilitated a number of high-level political and social dialogues in Africa and enjoys a special consultative status with the United Nations.

President Sall was key in the dialogue that ended conflict in Burkina Faso in 2015 after a Coup d’Etat against the then President Michel Kafondo

Sall was the newly elected chairperson of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas). He also helped resolve conflicts in Gambia and Burundi.

On its part, CIRID has facilitated peace talks for Burundi including in 1996 after the breakout of civil war following the assassination of the first democratically-elected President of Burundi, the late Melchior Ndadaye.

In May 16, 2017, CRID’s Secretary General Mr. Hakizimana was elected as chairperson of the Burundi Civil Society Platform for the Truth and Reconciliation Committee.

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