I wrote an endorsement note on behalf of the Third Millennium Africa Project for my friend Victor Ochen and his African Youth Initiative Network team for their nomination for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Award. In the note, i mentioned three reasons why i think Mr Victor Ochen should be honored with this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for his contribution to peace and security in Africa.
We are excited to join the rest of Africa and the world to endorse Mr Victor Ochen and African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET) for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Award. Aside from being one of the change-makers on our network, we have had the privilege of interacting with Victor and sharing in his dream of a third millennium Africa: “an Africa of peace and security”. Victor and his African Youth Initiative Network team have proven through their efforts, that transitional justice and peaceful reconciliation in war-torn regions are necessary journeys we must undertake to achieve and experience lasting peace and development in Africa.
Given the many security challenges in Africa and the crucial need to support and encourage young change-makers emerging within the breadth of Africa, we believe that Victor stands out for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Award, for the following three reasons.
The need to spotlight our attention to security and peace in Africa
After the much continuing battle with security and post-revolutionary uprisings going on in Libya and Egypt; the ethnic conflict in Southern Sudan; and the religious/political crisis in Northern Nigeria, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia, the case of security and peace in Africa is a crucial one. Victor through his initiative has contributed immensely to peace in Uganda, and with his contribution and call for a national dialogue and transitional justice for war victims, he has proven to us that peace is the core of his essence. Convening the first ever War Victims Conference in 2014 (a national dialogue on transitional justice for war-victims) and empowering young people through Peace Clubs, to be agents of peace and change in Uganda is not an easy feat, especially considering the many unsettled ethnic and political crisis hovering the post-Independence Uganda. Uganda, like most African countries is still struggling with the lingering post-Independence legacies of war.
Victor Ochen is a new face of peace in Uganda and Africa’s face of hope. And if presented with the Nobel Peace Prize Award, this will be a win not only for Uganda, but a win for Africa and a win for victims of wars all over the world. The case of Leymah Gbowee of Liberia who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her role in mobilizing women to advocate for peace in Liberia, serves as a guiding light to what might happen in Uganda and the neighbouring Southern Sudan, if Victor receives this prize for peace. It will be a reminder to Africa at large that peace and security is a virtue the rest of the world is longing to see in Africa.
Due to the crucial need to spotlight our attention to the need for peace and security in Africa, we therefore endorse Mr Victor Ochen and AYINET for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Award.
The need to encourage and support young African change-makers emerging within the continent
Over the past few years, we have experienced the tremendous rise of young change-makers providing local solutions to the problems within their local communities. Most of them, like Mr Ochen, are making tremendous impact and rebranding Africa’s image.
With unprecedented access to global information and communication via the internet, third millennium Africans are getting connected with the rest of the world as they contribute to innovation and help tackle some of the frontier issues––the albatross of a neo-colonial state, urbanization and social development, good governance and religious conflicts––confronting the continent. There is an urgent task to give voice to young change-makers in Africa to communicate their passion and dreams to the rest of the world.
We believe that Mr Ochen’s story represents the experiences of a vast majority of African youths, and if presented with the Nobel Peace Prize Award, will serve as a springboard of inspiration to millions of young Africans who are suffering and in despair due to the effects of political and religious conflicts. We seem to be experiencing a transition of power from the older generation of leaders to the younger generation of change-makers, and such an effort to elevate a young African change-maker as a face of the Nobel Peace Prize Award, would loudly nourish existing efforts to give young African change-makers a voice and global value.
Due to the lacking need for visibility for young African change-makers, we endorse Mr Ochen for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Award.
The need to pay close attention to Victor’s dream of a third millennium Africa
During our Spotlight Talks interview with Victor in October 2014, he voiced his dream of an Africa of the future. Victor hopes that his third millennium Africa will be an Africa where there is security and peace. Victor’s dream of a third millennium Africa supports our vision of “an Africa where innovation and sustainable development are commonplace.” Without security and peace there would be no development, and neither can innovation be achieved if peace is not valued and security not assured. We need both peace and security as pillars of our society and as the building blocks for our dream of an Africa of the future.
The need for peace and security is a very critical one in Africa today. And we share in Victor’s dream of a third millennium Africa, where peace and security thrive. Encouraging such a dream via the Nobel Peace Prize Award, would set the path straight and right for the pursuit of peace and security in Africa, in the coming years.
And for these three reasons, we therefore endorse Mr Victor Ochen and his organization (AYINET) for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize!
We want to thank the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) for recognizing the depth and potential in Victor’s vision and dream of a better Africa of peace and security, as AFSC did before by recognizing and nominating the efforts of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Martin Luther King, and President Jimmy Carter among others. Thank you for believing in Africa and Africans by nominating Victor OCHEN and African Youth Initiative Network.
And therefore, we at the Third Millennium Africa Project stand along with other supporters such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Fatou Bensouda, the Ugandan Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, and thousands of others all over the world to endorse Victor Ochen and AYINET for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Award.
Congratulations Mr Ochen and thanks for your contribution to further the growth and development of the continent!!!
Co-founder & Project Leader
On-behalf of the Third Millennium Africa Project