In the context of GPENreformation a regional meeting concerning the promotion of peace and Protestant values in the Great Lake Region took place in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), 20th -23rd November 2017. It was part of a tripartite project in which participate one delegation from Rwanda and two delegations from DRC (north and south Kivu region). It was organized by the Council member Samuel Mutabazi from Rwanda together with two Ambassadors from DRC Jean Kasereka Lutswamba and Meschac Karhakabire Vunanga. 95 participants – students, teachers as well as persons responsible for education in administration – gathered together for this special purpose.
Each day begun with a morning prayer followed by two or three presentations between which student groups presented songs, sketches and poems. The days ended with a cultural activity offered by the participants. Only on the last day, the participants planted fruit trees at the “Institut Bwindi” school instead.
The presentations dealt with different aspects of Protestant self-understanding and peace promoting education. The position paper of GPENreformation as an international orientation frame for Protestant schools was presented as well. The participants discussed to what extend it can be applied to the African context in general and the Great Lake Region in particular. As it is also shown in the position paper, the Ambassador Emmanuel Mugiraneza underlined in his presentation how important it is that students of Protestant schools acquire substantial competencies to lead a self-determined and successful life: independence, a critical mind, a sense of responsibility, being open-minded towards others.
Concerning Peace Education two other Ambassadors contributed with their expertise: Ernest Nkurunziza from Ruanda talked about peaceful conflict resolution whereas Samuel Ngayihembako from DRC dealt with the question of human rights in the perspective of the Bible and Christian ethics.
At the end all participants were very happy with the accomplished work. Especially the good cooperation and the open exchange between everyone involved – whether it was the students, teachers, speakers or organizers – was very appreciated.