An African answer to conflict depicted in new documentary film to be launched in Washington
The US launch of An African Answer, which was commissioned by the United States Institute of Peace, (USIP) will take place 25-31 October. The film’s Nigerian protagonists Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye, British film director Dr Alan Channer and Kenyan production consultant Joseph Karanja will attend a series of high-profile events and screenings in New York and Washington, DC.
Pre-premiere screenings will take place on Tuesday, 25 October at the United Nations Headquarters and then at New York University in collaboration with the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding and NYU Wagner’s IPSA and WSAFA student groups.
The official launch will be held at USIP in Washington, DC, on 26 October at 10.00 am. The event will be chaired by Dr David Smock, Senior Vice President of the Institute’s Center for Mediation and Conflict Resolution. The Office of International Religious Freedom at the State Department is co-sponsoring the launch. Maureen Fielder, the host of the public radio show Interfaith Voices, will moderate the event, which is open to the public.
The School of International Service, American University, Washington, DC, will host a screening on Thursday at 4.00 pm.
Other events are planned on Capitol Hill and with community religious leaders. On Friday, 28 October the film will be shown at Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, Harrisonburg, Virginia at 7.00 pm. The launch schedule is being organized jointly by the United States Institute of Peace and Initiatives of Change. After a week in the United States, further events will be held in Ottawa and Montreal, Canada, from 1-3 Novembe.
An African Answer (38 minutes) depicts a dramatic bid by Pastor Wuye and Imam Ashafa - former militia leaders turned peace-makers from Nigeria - to bring reconciliation in Kenya’s Rift Valley Province, following communal killings. It is filmed in the district of Kenya worst hit by the post-election violence of early 2008, when around 1000 people were killed and tens of thousands were displaced from their homes and farms.
Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, describes it as 'A very important film.' Annan adds, 'We need to learn, indeed, from Imam Ashafa and Pastor James and multiply in a thousand places their experiences of healing and reconciliation.'
An African Answer comes with Bonus Features: Two years later (8 minutes), which tracks the impact of An African Answer in Kenya two years after the film was shot and Inside the Process (19 minutes), a studio conversation with Imam Ashafa, Pastor James, American academic Dr Margaret Smith and Palestinian film-maker Dr Imad Karam.
An African Answer is produced by FLT films, the UK film-making division of Initiatives of Change. It follows an earlier, award-winning film about the two men, The Imam and the Pastor, shot in Nigeria. This depicted the astonishing reconciliation between the former enemies, showing that it is possible for perpetrators of inter-religious violence to become instigators of peace. An illustrated Resource Guide for Grass-roots Practitioners authored by Imam Ashafa and Pastor James and edited by Alan Channer accompanies the films. Also available is a detailed Manual on using the films to facilitate dialogue and peace-building by Dr David Steele.
For more information or to order the Two DVD set plus Resource guide please email Charles Aquilina.