Central Africa: Renewed Hopes for Peace in the Great Lakes Region

This three-edged front of climate change, food insecurity and conflict is enough to shake the very foundations of peace in Africa, even ones established by institutions like WILPF for over 100 years, said Joy Ada Onyesoh, the International Board President of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

Kampala — A unique academic offering by a humanitarian organisation and a tertiary institution is anticipated to bring long-lasting peace in the conflict-prone Great Lakes region and the entire African continent.

Rotary and Makerere University in Uganda are offering the postgraduate certificate programme to peace and development leaders who are from or who have worked in Africa to address the underlying challenges to peace in the area.

The year-long program in Peace-building, Conflict Transformation and Development will emphasise issues and solutions that are of particular relevance throughout the continent and beyond.

"For centuries, we have looked at peace as the absence of violence, without fully considering the other drivers in play," said Olayinka Babalola, vice president, Rotary International Board of Directors.

Babalola said instead of merely examining the causes of war, Rotary Peace Fellows at Makerere University would explore the underpinnings of peace to achieve tangible measures of human wellbeing and progress.

Hands-on experience will complement coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict.

Other studies will focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.

The programme will incorporate the Positive Peace framework pioneered by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) as well as apply concepts grounded in mediation and negotiation, African philosophy, and indigenous mechanisms for conflict resolution.

Barnabas Nawangwe, Makerere University Vice Chancellor, noted the tertiary institution was situated at the heart of the Great Lakes region, which has experienced the most strife and most conflicts in Africa.

"We've had frequent experience with conflict, so we established our peace program more than 15 years ago to expand our expertise and augment our engagement in the area of conflict and peace," Nawangwe said.

The programme is designed to accommodate working professionals with at least five years of proven experience in the areas of peace and development.

There will be two cohorts a year each with 20 fellows, and the first class will begin in February 2021. The online application will be available in February 2020.

Countries in the African Great Lakes region include Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

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