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THE 2022 NATIONAL COHESION AND INTEGRATION WEEK
THEME: National Dialogue on Cohesion and Integration: Reflecting on our Past and Contemplating the Future
Kenya is made up of about forty-five (45) ethnic communities spread across the country, each of which has a unique culture that make them distinct as a group. The cultural diversity within these groups can be a resource for national development if positively harnessed. However, due to limited exposure to each other, some communities have lived with a lot of suspicion and stereotypes. The lack of cohesion and integration among communities has led to negative ethnicity among Kenyans.
The country has experienced occasional post-election conflicts especially since the introduction of multi-party politics in the early 1990s. The climax of the conflict was the 2007/2008 Post Election Violence that was responsible for the loss of lives and destruction of properties, displacement of human population and destruction of livelihoods. The violence necessitated the establishment of two commissions in 2008 namely; Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence. From the two commissions, there were recommendations for subsequent action in different areas including Ethnic Tensions and Reconciliation. In particular, the two commissions recommended the following regarding Ethnic Tensions and Reconciliation in Kenya:
- Establishment of a National Reconciliation Conference/Day;
- Continuous and sustained nationwide as well as community dialogue;
- Audit of institutions involved in reconciliation, peace-building and Early Warning Systems (EWS) for conflict/violence;
- Institution of restorative justice processes for the acknowledgement of wrongdoing and apologies;
- Resettlement of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and repatriation of refugees;
- Establishment of a memorial for victims and survivors;
- Prosecution of perpetrators of the Post-Election Violence.
Following the above recommendations and particularly on the Establishment of a National Reconciliation Conference/Day, Karatina University took the challenge and has established an annual National Cohesion and Integration Week and International Conference held at the university. The first National Cohesion and Integration Week and International Conference was held in 2017 with the theme “Promoting National Cohesion and Integration through Cultural Diversify: Our Culture, Our Heritage”. The second event took place in 2021 and the theme was “Promoting National Cohesion and Integration: Our Cultural Diversity, Our Heritage, Our Strength”.
To continue with promotion of national cohesion and integration in Kenya, Karatina University is pleased to announce the third National Cohesion and Integration Week and Roundtable discussion on integration and cohesion issues at the University Main Campus, Kagochi from 29th –31st March 2022. The goal of the National Cohesion and Integration Week is to promote cultural diversity as a unifying factor by providing a forum for displaying the diverse cultures in Kenya and to discuss and conceptualize multiculturalism.
The Objectives of the National Cohesion and Integration Week are to:
Provide an opportunity for communities to showcase their diverse and rich cultural heritage;
- Audit the state of cohesion and integration efforts in the country;
- Determine the lessons learned out of the previous national cohesion and integration efforts;
- Engage stakeholders in a dialogue aimed at sensitizing the citizenry on the value of sustainable peaceful co-existence;
- Offer an opportunity to communities to interact and share ideas that promote cohesion and integration;
- Identify and recommend sustainable strategies to strengthen the national institutions charged with cohesion, integration, and peace-building efforts.
Academicians, Religious Leaders, Community leaders, Government Institutions, Political Analysts, Youths, Peace Champions and women Leaders will interrogate cohesion and integration in a roundtable discussion. Cultural teams from across the country will have an opportunity to showcase their cultural heritage through dance, songs, attires, artefacts and cuisines, among others.
- Increased awareness and consciousness for patriotism, unity and harmony;
- Updated status of cohesion and integration in Kenya;
- Sensitization of the citizenry on the value of sustainable peaceful co-existence;
- Enhanced peaceful and cross-cultural co-existence and appreciation of diverse cultural values and heritage;
- Proposals on strategies for promoting cohesion and integration and peace-building.
We believe that this event will go a long way in promoting cohesion and integration in Kenya. This is critical especially as we prepare for the general elections in August this year.