AU website. The African Union Commission (AUC), on Tuesday 25 May 2010, joined the rest of the continent and the Diaspora, to observe the Africa Day, celebrated every May 25. Organised Under the theme “Promoting peace through Sports”, the ceremony at the headquarters of the AU Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia featured activities such as a workshop on promoting peace through sports; a photo exhibition on AU peacekeeping efforts and the launch of “Peace Journey”, a journey across 24 African countries to promote peace.
The ceremony which brought together representatives from world sport corporations; the diplomatic corps, the international organisations and officials of the African Union Commission, amongst others, was an opportunity for the African Union to promote the year 2010 as the Year of Peace and Security in Africa, proclaimed by the African Heads of State and Government in Tripoli.
Chairing the occasion on behalf of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Mrs. Julia Dolly Joiner, Commissioner for Political Affairs of the African Union recalled the importance of May 25 in Africa. “A day to celebrate Africa through Peace and a day to take another step in building the edifice of Peace in Africa…. a day in which we reflect on the future by celebrating progress that has been established through our collective and individual efforts”, she noted.
Commissioner Joiner said, “it is through such celebrations that we are reminded of the promise and commitment that set us on a consistent path into the future” adding that, on this day of celebration, a reflection on success and a note of optimism would be a most positive gift to all who continue to face difficulties. She therefore urged that whilst Africans reflect on challenges, there is need to spend some time articulating positive and optimistic development projects for the continent. “While Africa will make history by staging the World Cup in 2010, our Continent will be making another kind of history too, by making peace happen at every level of society”, she emphasized. (See complete speech of Commissioner Joiner on the AU Website: www.africa-union.org).
Speaking on behalf of the Chairperson of the African Union, H.E Bingu Wa Mutharika, the ambassador of Malawi, H.E Isaac Monroe recalled the historical importance of the Africa Day celebration in Addis Ababa, where the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was created. Referring to the theme of the celebrations, Mr. Monroe explained that sports can play a critical role in peace-building and have always been a vehicle for rebuilding broken societies and a spirit of fair play that transcends all sorts of divisions and conflicts. (See complete speech of Ambassador Monroe on the AU Website: www.africa-union.org).
Hon. Isa Ibrahim Bio, Chairperson of AU Conference of Ministers of Sports, on his part, congratulated the African Union for the efforts in promoting peace within the continent. He urged African countries to take bold steps in making sports a national priority agenda item.
Mr. Dimitry Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, lauded the initiative of the African Union for proclaiming the year 2010 as the year of Peace and Security in Africa.
Taking the floor, the president of the AUC Staff Association, Mr. Elias Yala, said the up coming World Cup in South Africa will be an opportunity to promote sports as a symbol of peace and fraternity. This, he explained, would contribute in raising awareness on the need to consolidate peace in Africa. (See complete speech of Mr. Yala on the AU Website: www.africa-union.org).
A “Peace Journey”, caravan crowned the Africa Day celebration in Addis Ababa.