The Right Livelihood Award Foundation – in partnership with SEKEM (RLA Laureate 2003) – hosted a regional conference in Cairo, Egypt from 6 to 9 June. The regional conference brought Laureates from all over Africa and the Middle East to share their experiences and struggles in their different areas of work: from human rights to environmental protection, women’s health, ecologically and socially sound agriculture, as well as justice and community healing after violent conflict.
This event was the second in a series of regional meetings of Right Livelihood Laureates and was made possible thanks to the generous support of Church of Sweden.
In a joint statement, all 11 Laureates at the conference addressed the public: “In our diverse struggles toward improving access to health care, ending impunity, and achieving food security and sustainable development, we recognize an overarching crisis afflicting the region. Corporate capture of governance in Africa is becoming increasingly prevalent in the areas of agriculture and the extractive industries, namely mining, oil, and gas.”
They also called upon African governments to “make investments into infrastructure, health and education, especially in rural communities.”
The atmosphere remains hopeful: “Amidst the ongoing devastation caused by this iniquitous system, we would like to celebrate some of the successful alternatives that are flourishing, from Egypt to Burkina Faso.” On the day of the Presidential inauguration in Egypt, they also extended their solidarity to civil society groups in Egypt.
Some important quotes from the participants:
“I believe the foundation of everything I do is education.” Jacqueline Moudeina
“We cannot talk about education without talking about culture. We must get the youth to develop autonomy, for them to become responsible members of their communities.” Guillaume Harushimana, Centre Jeunes Kamenge
“If I see a tree, I do not look at it as a carbon stock. I see it as a tree, as part of culture. European and American culture puts a price on everything. And that puts pressure on Africa.” Nnimmo Bassey
“We are worried that international organizations are working with the government to cultivate large areas of land for agribusiness. The threat is already at our door.” Nomewende Joël Ouedraogo, Fédération Naam
For more information on this conference, read the full post here.