Press Release 1

March 30, 2009

Inter-denominational summit to empower youth as leaders and peace builders

(Nairobi, Kenya, April 13-18) Responding to the violence that wreaked havoc in Kenya in 2007 after the presidential election, the Kenyan Evangelical Lutheran Church (KELC) will host an inter-denominational youth peace summit from April 13-18 in Nairobi. The meeting will provide a platform for reflecting on the post-election violence and develop youth-led peace building processes geared toward addressing factors that fuel violence in Kenya and wider horn of Africa.

Organized by the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church (KELC) with financial support from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Global Mission, the event brings together nearly 200 youth. The meeting will strategize responses to the aftermath and challenges posed by the 2007 post-election violence that left more than 350,000 displaced from their homes and another 1,200 dead.

The summit comes at a time that Kenya is striving for national healing and reconciliation among its 42 tribes and cohesion among its population in the context of an increasingly volatile situation in the country and region at large. To ensure the meetings success, KELC has teamed up with Young Women Christian Association (YWCA), Church World Service (CWS), Fellowship of Christian Council and Churches in Great Lakes area and the Horn of Africa (FECLAHA) and All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) in quest for peace.

The inter-denominational and interfaith gathering brings together Muslims, Methodists, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Catholics and Lutherans from across Kenya as well as Rwanda, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, United States, South Africa and hosts Kenya. Youth affected by the Rwanda genocide in 1994 and former internally displaced persons are also expected to participate.

Meeting under the theme ‘Embrace Peace fulfill Dreams’ the summit hopes to reverse the helplessness and hopelessness that many youth face, which fueled by political manipulation, poverty, unemployment, negative ethnicity and inequality, all contributed into flare-up of violence in 2007. To document the conference and share the stories of how youth experienced and responded to the violence, a youth media team has been trained to blog live from the summit at: https://peacesummit2009.wordpress.com.

The summit kicks off the first of a three-phase process to develop youth-led peace initiatives in addition to empowering youth with life skills. As part of the week-long program, participants will learn skills in project development, financial management and entrepreneurship skills, including how to access micro-credit. For the next phase of the process, a peer-review team comprised of youth selected at the conference will determine youth-led peace and development projects to receive small grants.

The Kenya Peace Summit follows up a similar gathering held in Rwanda in March 2008 and series of peace initiatives among churches in East and Horn of Africa. The Youth Gathering in Rwanda was supported by a grant from an offering of the ELCA Youth Gathering, and provided youth in Rwanda a space 14 years after the genocide to reflect, encouraged reconciliation and learn skills to launch small-scale businesses. The Rwandan genocide left more than 300,000 orphans and more than one million dead in 1994.

For more information log on to: https://peacesummit2009.wordpress.com

Contact person
George Arende: 250 0726 469 518

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