Nova Scotia, Canada June 2003
Andrew Participated in the Nova Scotia, Canada - 2003 Africa-Canada Youth Symposium for Leadership in Development event hosted at St. Francis Xavier University
The Coady International Institute hosted the Africa-Canada Youth Symposium for Leadership in Development from July 22-27, 2003. The Youth Symposium, an integral part of St. FX's 150th anniversary celebrations, provided the opportunity for young men and women from Canada and Africa to develop their capacities through skill building and leadership, exchange ideas on youth strategies for community development, and create an international network of young leaders committed to creating a just society. The Symposium brought 70 African and Canadian youth leaders to the StFX campus to discuss and develop effective, youth-friendly strategies for some of the critical issues facing youth throughout the world - issues like HIV/AIDS, the environment, peacebuilding, and economic development.
Please Read Andrew Greene's reports on his Experiences At Coady International Institute St. Francis Xavier University. Nova Scotia Canada (2003)
REPORT FROM THE AFRICA – CANANA YOUTH SYMPOSIUM FOR LEADERSHIP AND
DEVELOPMENT. BY ANDREW BENSON GREENE
My selection to the 1st African-Canadian Youth Symposium for Leadership in Development has all been for me, like facing history in more concrete ways. Time and place was more appropriate for hosting such a symposium on Africa-Canada collaboration. There in Nova Scotia, my thoughts were engulfed in the gloom part of history, when my ancestors, the black Africans were carted away to America during the Atlantic slave trade, and the laborious travels of those slaves up the Underground Railroad to Detroit and onto Ontario, and the Black Loyalists who arrived in Nova Scotia following the American war of Independence. My thoughts could not cease to reflect on how the 1,196 of those black loyalists left Halifax, on that chilly January in 1792, heading for Sierra Leone. I was there in Nova Scotia to share my inspirational story of working with the young victims of war in my country Sierra Leone, and to raising global awareness of the role of conflict diamonds in fanning the flames of Sierra Leone’s largely brutal decade long civil war.
I was ask to co-facilitate several conflict resolution and peace building workshops at the symposium in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where 100 or so young activists and youth leaders gathered at this valuable symposium and shared ideas with each other in the true collaborative spirit. The verve that we possessed throughout the symposium was reflected in our shared commitment to finding effective youth-friendly strategies to tackle the issues youth are facing throughout the world - issues such as HIV/AIDS, the environment, peacebuilding and economic development. Representing iEARN Sierra Leone, It was important for me to show colleagues my own vision of leadership in my country. In fact, it is this long-range vision that enabled me to set up iEARN in my country. It was as a response to the great and urgent need to rehabilitate and enhance opportunities for the children and youth who have endured this conflict. knew that the rehabilitation of youth, with the help of building ICT and communications skills, will assist in reclaiming their potential as productive citizens and showed my colleagues how we utilized computers and the internet for community development. This will ultimately be a great tool in the battlefield against social injustice. to help build ICT and
communications skills in these youths with the intent to reclaim their potential as productive citizens. We were able to grasp many great ideas on social issues and as young leaders we showed our commitment to the very principles Moses Coady stood for. Established by St. Francis Xavier University in 1959, the Coady International Institute is world-renowned as a centre of excellence in community-based development. The Institute was named in honour of Rev. Dr. Moses Coady, a prominent founder of the Antigonish Movement—a people's movement for economic and social justice that began in Nova Scotia during the 1920s. Apart from facilitating at various peace and reconciliation, conflict resolution and human rights workshops, I was empowered and enlightened in other workshops with thematic concerns such as: ‘Advocacy –Its role in Civil Society, ‘Advocacy- Getting The Message Out’, ‘Program Planning’ and ‘Mobilization of Resources’, to name but a few. These themes do not belly the vision of Rev. Dr. Moses Coady who believed in the empowerment of civil society and self reliance as was portrayed in his book ‘Masters of there Destiny’.
On July 23, 7:30 pm at the Conference Suites, Keating Millennium Centre, St. Francis Xavier University, I was thrilled to hear Ken Wiwa, a human rights activist, journalist and author, discuss his experiences in fighting for the rights of the Ogoni people in Nigeria as well as the role of young leaders in Canada and Africa in helping to address issues such as the environment an d globalization.
The Honourable Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbour also gave a Keynote Address at the Immaculata Auditorium, StFX University. She has been a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and also a former UN Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals in Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Madam Justice Arbour’s insightful speech gave a new reawakening to the gathering of African –Canadian Youths when she clearly defined the role for young leaders in addressing global issues such as peacebuilding. Many other social functions marked the week-long event including the International Films Series; Short films and features on issues such as cultural diversity, human rights, peacebuilding, the environment, HIV/ AIDS, and sustainable development. During the relaxing evenings of July 25, of ‘The Africa-Canada Concert’ which took place at MacKay Room, Bloomfield Centre, StFX University, Local talent, High Plains Drifter, opened for the award-winning Afro-Musica, with modern jazz, funk and world beat ensemble whose dynamic live performances has been getting audiences dancing across Atlantic Canada. In the many developmental issues, that was the core of the symposium, my many observations, was on the uncommon and uneven opportunities that African young people face in harnessing Information Communication Technology. (ICT). I harped believed it is high time policies at the higher levels began to be shaped such that the ICT revolution will include the excluded and reach the un-reached bringing a barrage of knowledge and skills down to the excluded thereby empowering their lot. Well, I was speaking from a hard-earned experience gained in my Sierra Leone society that still groped for a share of the ICT cake from which source our young people could derive strength from our common purpose, and be empower youth in the quest for unwavering employment opportunities. In my passion for advocating global human rights and peace, I was matched
with a like-minded peace advocate and Co-facilitator, Nicole Johnson (Ms) youth Coordinator, Halifax Regional Development Agency. Together with vibrant many vibrant and enthusiastic youth participants, we
were able to resolve the following:
1. Strengthen to respect peace, human rights and fundamental freedom.
2. Develop a great sense of individual self-respect for the right of
others and values for human dignity. 3. Have learnt how to promote genuine gender equality and equal opportunities for men and women.
4. Appreciate and promote cultural diversity towards different national, ethnic, religious, linguistic and minorities and communities.
Our plan of action was therefore the creation of a Youth Leadership network for peace and human rights that will go well beyond the symposium. This will strengthen collaboration amongst symposium participants.
Formulate a declaration for world leaders to realize that ‘peace is not only a core human value but a core human rights’ and so this declaration crystal clearly spells out the commitment of young people to fight against the injustices of war, light weaponry and the proliferation of arms trade and the urgent need to put a ban to its sales in Africa.