Madam Minister of Culture and Francophonie of the Republic of Ivory Coast,
Madam President of the Afrik’Orizon Foundation,
Mr. sponsor of the 4th edition of the African Cultural Day,
Mr. Representative of the ECOWAS Commission,
Mr. Representative of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Niger,
Honorable Representative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Central Africans Abroad,
Distinguished representatives of different countries,
Venerable Chiefs and Traditional Priests,
Ladies and gentlemen representatives of political parties,
Ladies and gentlemen, the honorable participants, in your ranks, titles and qualities
His Excellency Professor Robert DUSSEY, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and Togolese Abroad, has mandated us to come and represent him at this extremely important event, focusing on four (04) fundamental concepts namely culture, youth, peace and development.
Commitments previously made at the end of the year of intense diplomatic activities finally got the better of his initial decision to personally take part in this edition of the African Cultural Day (ACD).
I deliver to you, faithfully and in extenso, the Message of His Excellency Professor Robert DUSSEY, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and Togolese Abroad:
Indeed, Togo, under the leadership of President Faure Essozimna GNASSINGBE, attaches great importance to peace and gives its full support to all initiatives coming from other governments, regional and international cooperation institutions and organizations of the civil society for peace.
Peace is suffering on our continent and this worrying fact cannot leave anyone indifferent. This is what all the men and women who work to promote peace in Africa have understood. Their work is like that of the trees that grow loudly in the forest, but to which the forest owes its resilience and durability.
The commitment of Mrs. Elvire KISSI and her Afrik’Orizon Foundation in favor of culture and the promotion of peace confirms me in a certainty expressed by the poet Friedrich Hölderlin in the 19th century: “Where the danger grows, also grows which saves”. Where the threat to peace grows, so does the work for peace. The Afrik’Orizon Foundation is a model of citizen engagement for peace in Africa.
Only our commitments can push back the frontiers of war and instability in Africa. When civil society and young people seize enough peace, peace will reign in Africa. It is good to want peace, it is even better to cultivate it, to be a peacemaker, to be a promoter of peace.
For the record, it is appropriate to recall that the concept “Culture of peace” was developed for the first time in the world in this African land of Côte d’Ivoire during an international congress organized by UNESCO in 1989 in Yamoussoukro on the theme “Peace in the minds of men”.
We must work for peace since peace is a deep and perpetual aspiration of the human race and of all the peoples of the earth. We must work for peace since the African populations have legitimate expectations linked to peace, tranquility and stability.
We must work for peace since peace is an indispensable condition for development. We must work for peace since the culture of peace is a remedy against the culture of war. When we believe in peace, we know that war is not inevitable.
We must work for peace since war debases man and only peace makes him flourish. We must work for peace since peace is more than a simple absence of war: “Peace is not the absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a desire for benevolence, of trust, of justice”, said the philosopher Baruch Spinoza. The great problem of life, said Amadou Hampaté Bâ, is mutual understanding.
We must work for peace since there is the imperative need to relight the candle of peace in the minds and to reactivate in the consciousness of humanity the seeds of peace in a disturbed regional context like ours. To understand the true meaning of peace is to understand that peace is a common good for all creatures, for all the work of God.
The life of each of us is a commitment to a cause and I want the cause of peace to be an integral part of everyone’s commitment. In particular, I would like to invite young people to channel their energies towards promoting peace and building development in Africa.
In 2002, at the age of 30, I published my book For a Lasting Peace in Africa: Advocacy for an African Awareness of Armed Conflict. 20 years later, I am still convinced that the commitment to peace is worthwhile. It is a commitment that does not lie. Our countries and our region need peace, and therefore the commitment of all.
I, Professor Robert DUSSEY, consider the prize awarded to me this evening, after the “Super Diamond Alassane OUATTARA Prize for African Integration 2022” in Abidjan here and the “International Prize for Human Rights 2021- 2022” in Pakistan this year 2022, as an exhortation to work even more for peace in Africa.
These prizes, which I dedicate to all African youth, are less a consecration than an invitation to more audacity and initiatives in favor of peace in Africa.
Finally, I would like to thank the Afrik’Orizon Foundation, its President Mrs. Elvire KISSI and the jury for this choice focused on Togo as Guest Country of Honor and on me.
Long live regional and African integration!
Long live citizen engagement in favor of peace in Africa!
Long live the Afrik’Orizon Foundation!
Long live the African cultural unity dear to Cheikh Anta Diop!
Thank you for your attention.