Christian Achaleke is a young Cameroonian specialist in the culture of peace and is the former coordinator of the network Commonwealth Youth Peace Ambassador Network (CYPAN). In this interview, he shares his personal story, the importance and role of young people in the culture of peace, and what remains to be done to make it sustainable.
1. What does the concept of a “culture of peace” mean to you?
In my opinion, the culture of peace is a set of values, a way of life, a morality and an ethic which makes it possible to prevent conflicts or violence and also to engage people towards a peaceful and ethical life.
2. In your opinion, what concrete actions can be taken to consolidate peace on the African continent?
Regarding the activities to be implemented to promote a culture of peace in Africa, I suggest first of all to engage young people and women in this process. Activities like research are very important for documenting the context and history of the conflict, and also for capturing perspectives. Capacity building in the form of workshops and training is also strategic. It is also important to work on developing resources and funding initiatives, especially at the community level, as well as opportunities for sharing experiences and swarming ideas. All of these elements and ideas are essential to building peace on the African continent.
3. What made you decide to become a peace advocate?
My decision to become a peace advocate was influenced by my personal experience. I grew up in a community where there was a lot of violence and as a youngster it was a way of life. At one point, I realized that violence leads nowhere, as I have lost friends and acquaintances, some having been stabbed and others thrown in jail. So, by volunteering in civil society, I discovered another perspective on life, focused on peace and supporting communities to become better, and I started very early to use the theater to preach these core values in my community. This is how I have found myself doing this work since 2007, and since then it has been a life-changing experience, with a lot of inspiration. Read more