Archbishop of Canterbury backs peace education in Africa
The spiritual head of the world's 70 million Anglicans, Dr Rowan Williams, has urged the effective expansion of university education in Africa in order to overcome fear and mistrust between different communities in conflict zones. Dr Jane Williams, to whom he is married, has also welcomed peace-building church projects.
Speaking towards the end of a four-day tour of Burundi, the Archbishop of Canterbury told students at the country's university in Bujumbura that tertiary education was not just for the benefit of students, but assisted the whole society to move forward.
During the visit he praised the work of the Anglican Church in trying to promote peace and reconciliation after years of violence and bloodshed.
Returning to the theme of education, Dr Williams declared: 'The university values the life of the mind, the life of conversation. It is possible to take risks in conversation and relationship because by taking these risks we understand ourselves better as well as understanding each other.'
He continued: 'In the post-conflict situation we may see relationships that have been destroyed by panic, fear and self preservation - fear between one community and another; between different economic classes. When we see what the results of such fear may be we see also the degree of violence that results. It is important for the university to help the country imagine a different kind of life for itself; it helps people to see what their real choices are.'
The Archbishop said that education was a vital component in building the continent's future: 'Education alone cannot do the work that development or economic investment can do; but without education, development and investment cannot do its work.'
Dr Williams and his wife, the theologian Dr Jane Williams, have been undertaking a tour of the country at the invitation of the Anglican Church in Burundi.
Earlier in the week Jane Williams visited Mothers' Union projects, including one in a settlement camp on the border with Congo and another at the university teaching hospital in Bujumbura. She praised the work of the Mothers' Union in building peace for the future by providing for the needs of mothers and children.
Burundi saw elections in early July following a turbulent and violent period in its recent history.
At the enthronement of the Rt Revd Bernard Ntahoturi as the new Archbishop of Burundi earlier this week, Dr Williams said in his sermon there was still much for the Church to do.
'To be an apostle, a pastor, a teacher, is to carry Christ in the need and suffering of Christ's world which he loves. And it is to help create a church that carries these burdens and never runs away,' said the Archbishop of Canterbury.
He emphasised: 'Here in Burundi as you minister with hope and joy in a situation of such need, the Church and all its leaders must pray for the strength to support and sustain and inspire a while society as it grows in justice and maturityÖ Depend on [Jesus Christ] in faith and you will fully play your part in helping this nation to be transformed and led towards God's peace and justice.'