People Choosing Peace: John (Liberia/Cote d’Ivoire)

John Demi has been chief of his township in Nimba County, Liberia, for over 20 years. His town borders Cote d’Ivoire, and as a town elder, John helps to mediate community and cross-border disputes.

My role is to bring peace in the community. When issues come up between people, they go to the elders to try to resolve them. So we are in the vanguard of making peace in the community.

Both Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire have had their own share of war. When peace came to our country, we went to our local people to persuade them not to infiltrate the borders. This was not an event, it was a process. Today, we have cross-border cooperation. We have cross-border meetings to thrash out some of the issues, and it is how peace prevails in our border areas.

As an elder, I have passed through a lot of things. Some of the mistakes we made in the past are similar mistakes the children are making today. We are trying to talk to the younger generation and make them understand that peace is something that everyone should carry.

Photo: Ingrid Guyon/Conciliation Resources

Source: Conciliation Resources

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