Yaounde, Cameroon—On the occasion of the celebration of the UN International Day of Parliamentarism on June 30, 2020, the Cameroon chapter of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace (IAPP) held a conference at the Tripartite Hall of the Yaounde Conference Center. There were over 188 participants in attendance, among whom were the vice speaker of the National Assembly, the vice president of the Senate, the executive president of IAPP-Cameroon, and at least 124 parliamentarians, senators, university lecturers, journalists, and other professionals.
The panel was composed of two university professors, one religious leader, the secretary general of UPF-Cameroon and four executives of UPF-Cameroon. The conference started at 11:30 a.m. with an opening address by Hon. Emabot Brigitte (executive president of IAPP-Cameroon) followed by a speech by Hon. Dr. Awudu Mbaya Cyprian, former president of IAPP-Cameroon.
The event took place in two parts. The first part consisted of the appointment of 12 members of Parliament as Ambassadors for Peace, including the speaker of the National Assembly. The emcee (a journalist from Cameroon Radio and Television) read the five Principles of Peace and also the content of the Ambassadors for Peace certificate.
The first certificate was presented by the executive president of UPF Cameroon, Rev. Edwin Plekhanov, accompanied by Hon. Dr. Cyprian, to the vice speaker of the National Assembly on behalf of the speaker. The other parliamentarians received their certificates from the vice speaker of the National Assembly, who was representing the speaker. After the awarding of certificates, the vice speaker read a speech that concluded with words of appreciation, gratitude and congratulations to the newly appointed Ambassadors for Peace. The panel receded to the lobby, group photos were taken to mark the event, and a coffee break ended the first part of the program.
The second session started with presentations from the main speakers of the panel. First was a university professor who spoke about multilateralism. The second presentation was given by an imam who discussed the role of religious authorities in promoting peace.
Next was an address given by the secretary general of UPF-Cameroon centering on conflict resolution. The audience was overwhelmed by his presentation as he called upon members of Parliament to exercise humility and become role models in their respective constituencies while embracing their adversaries using UPF’s Principles of Peace.
After the different interventions, the session continued with a question and answer session. Questions were asked by the parliamentarians to the panelists, and satisfactory answers were given.
Lastly, words of appreciation were offered by some participants, and closing remarks were made by Honorable Brigitte. The event ended at 4:30 pm.
The participants unanimously agreed that egoism, selfishness and ignorance lie at the center of conflict, instability and poverty in the nation and the world. One lecturer from the Institute of Peace Building proposed to train more people in peace values and conflict resolution; the religious lecturer even went further to propose an inter-religious council in Cameroon. He mentioned that if a conflict is difficult to solve, we should appeal for God to help. As the event went on, we realized that people freely talk about God in the Cameroon Parliament compared to previous times.
Around 40 parliaments registered to become members of IAPP.