The 4th edition of the landmark Pan-African Peace Symposium was held on Saturday, 11th November 2023 at the blessed premises of the Baitul Futuh Mosque in London, United Kingdom. The theme for this year’s Peace Symposium was Economic Equity and Eradicating Poverty- Keys to Peace. A topic which is much needed in these turbulent times.
The event attracted a live audience of eight hundred people from all backgrounds with thousands more joining through livestream on YouTube and Facebook. In attendance, were very prominent speakers and guests from across the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Africa and beyond. These included diplomats, religious leaders, civic leaders and the many peace-loving men and women who acknowledge the urgent need for such essential discussions and conversations around peace, economic equality and social justice.
After the melodious recitation of the Holy Quran (Chapter 76:9-12) by Hafiz Uthman Adeleye and its subsequent translation into English Sergeant Nasir Adams respectively, the event begun in earnest.
Tommy Kallon, President Pan-African Ahmadiyya Muslim Association (PAAMA) United Kingdom welcomed all the cherished audience to the auspicious event. Elaborating on the purpose of the gathering, he said:
“We gather here to discuss a fundamental truth that resonates across borders, ideologies, and cultures – the imperative of economic equity and eradicating poverty as keys to achieving lasting peace.”
Tommy Kallon explained how poverty and inequality contribute to social injustice, fosters discontent and indignity in most parts of the world. He further touched on how the Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad (may Allah be his Helper) serves as a great model for leaders around the world.
His Holiness, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V, Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, graciously sent a message for the august occasion, which was read out by the Rafiq Ahmad Hayat Sahib, Amir Jama’at Ahmadiyya UK. His Holiness charged the members of PAAMA “to make an effort as there is an essential need for communities and individuals alike to work diligently within their circles of influence” because “in the complex and rapidly changing circumstances that our world is currently facing, it becomes increasingly vital for every individual to play a role in fostering understanding and harmony.”
In the spirit of Remembrance Day which coincided with the Pan- African Peace Symposium, the Chairman of the Event Planning Committee Ahmed Owusu-Konadu who co-hosted the event alongside Event Secretary Shareef Bhunnoo, requested the participants to rise and observer a minute silence in honour of all fallen heroes and innocent victims of wars.
Thereafter, the Guest Speakers mounted the podium to address the audience on various peace-inspiring topics. Among the speakers were:
- Andy George, President National Black Police Association
- Leroy Logan MBE, Founding Member of the National Black Police Association
- H.E. Justina Mutale, President Justina Mutale Foundation
- Mr Musa Mewa, Amir Jama’at Ahmadiyya Sierra Leone
In addition, there were Goodwill Messages via video from the following:
- Nigel Stewart, Founder and Director School of Pan African Thought
- Dr Ibrahim Stevens, Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone
- Honourable Melrose Karminty, Minister of Social Welfare Sierra Leone
Interluding the speeches and goodwill messages were Video Presentations of an Introduction to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and His Holiness the Worldwide Head as well as a very moving Poem entitled A New Hijrah to Africa capturing the services of PAAMA in collaboration with Humanity First and IAAAE. In the main symposium hall also were displays of various exhibitions from Humanity First and PAAMA UK.
The Keynote Address was delivered by Imam Azhar Hanif Sahib, Naib Amir and Missionary In-Charge Jama’at Ahmadiyya USA. In his address, he reminded participants on why the theme for the occasion was very appropriate. Throwing more light on the unity of mankind, he said:
“All humankind are like one single body and wherever there is pain, where there is ache, we all feel it. As we gather here in United Kingdom for this peace conference, it is the pain collectively, individually that we feel over these past few years of a hiatus, the pandemic, the economic crises, the fall of nations into inflations and struggle. The wars that have broken out, and the loss of lives, the devastations that it brought in its wake for so many individuals.”
The formal session of the event ended with heart-warming Closing Remarks by Rafiq Ahmad Hayat Sahib, Amir Jama’at Ahmadiyya UK followed by closing prayers.
The dinner started with attendees being treated to a variety of sumptuous African cuisines and continental dishes.
In a series of short interviews organised by the Isha‘at team, several guests and participants disclosed how impressed they were with the smooth and successful organisation of the event. Many first-time participants could not hide their enthusiasm to attend the next edition of the Pan-African Peace Symposium.
The final recorded Attendance Report is as follows: