Since 2014, CITI2 has addressed community grievances, bridged divides, and supported a credible electoral process — with the primary goal of preventing violence associated with the presidential elections, which took place in October 2015. For the first time in 20 years, Côte d’Ivoire held a peaceful presidential election, marking a major milestone in the country’s history.

“This conference is significant because it brings together peacebuilding and conflict mitigation practitioners from around the world to share experiences and learn about best practice in peace and development,” explained Michele Piercey. “Chemonics is especially proud to showcase the accomplishments of CITI2 in this forum because it was so effective in tapping into Ivorians’ shared cultural identity to foster peaceful dialogue and tolerance of opposing views.

“It might surprise some to learn how effective art, music, film, and other means of storytelling can be as a method of building peace between parties to a conflict. It provokes an emotional response in people, helps them express their feelings and feel understood, builds empathy, increases understanding, and generally makes it difficult to stay angry.”

This achievement was made possible through the dedication of everyday Ivoirians and those active in their communities, including actors and musicians, female leaders, television and radio producers, DJs, religious leaders, and elections officials. Chemonics is proud to have supported Ivoirians in laying foundations for peace through these activities that brought such diverse groups together.

For more information about specific sessions during the conference, visit the AfP website. And be sure to follow the conversation at #PeaceCon2016.