“Some stones are more important than others. Today, we are building together on an idea at the heart of the Central African Republic, building on education, on youth participation,” stated Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, at the ceremony to lay the first stone of a new cultural and sports center in the 4th district of Bangui.
It is in this area, which has been particularly affected by the unrest and communal violence, that the United Nations decided to support the Government in creating an innovative space for dialogue, training and creativity for youth. UNESCO joined with the MINUSCA, UNDP and UNFPA in the project. The Director-General was accompanied by Her Excellency Giselle Bedan, Minister of Education of the Transitional Government, and Mr. Aurelien Agbenonci, UN Resident Coordinator in the Central African Republic.
“To accomplish great things, we must not be above men, but among them,” said Aurelien Agbenonci, emphasizing the need to include the unemployed and marginalized youth in reconciliation efforts, giving them the means to rebuild and to learn to live together.
“Another way of living as young people is possible — the country needs you and we are here to help you turn your back on the dark years,” said Gisele Bedan, addressing local youth gathered for the ceremony.
During the day, the Director-General also met with representatives of civil society, particularly an organization of women and young people, and called for non-violence and peace.
“When facing violence, in the face of uncertainty, we must believe in the force of law, justice, and strengthen together the pillars on which these values are supported — education, culture, and knowledge. It is in your communities and in your organizations that we need to spread this message,” said Irina Bokova.