Students of the American University in Nigeria receiving their prize
American University of Nigeria (AUN) has won the maiden edition of Facebook Global Digital Challenge (FGDC) held for African Universities.
The final competition which was described as the battle of the titans among three universities was held at the University of Ghana’s (UG), Institute of Statistics Social and Economic Research (ISSER) conference room in Accra last Friday.
AUN received a juicy sum of $5000 while universities of Development Studies (UDS), Ghana and Tunisia Business School came second and third taking home $3000 and $1000 respectively.
The FGDC which is also referred to as a Peer-2-Peer challenging extremism initiative is a platform opened to students in universities across the world.
Participating students in the competition were required to design online and offline projects through which followers will engage in discourses leading to counteracting terrorism and other forms of violence.
According to Tony Sgro, CEO of EdVenture Partners who is the implementing agency for the event, twenty seven entries from thirteen African Universities were received when nominations opened in the third quarter of last year for the competition which lasted fifteen weeks.
Mr Tony Sgro lauded Facebook and other partners for the project which according to him was intended to tap what he referred to as great ideas of young people especially in African to make the world a peaceful settlement for all.
In his welcome address, the Head of Programs, Africa Centre for Security and Counter Terrorism (ACSC), Emmanuel Kotin, stated that the world had reached a stage where concerted effort was required to address the myriads of problems of violent extremism.
“Increasingly many fundamentalist groups hide under religion to advance their agenda that end up killing and embarrassing the religions they identify with; working in concert to make the world a safe place should therefore be the responsibility of all manner of people including the youth in our tertiary institutions,” he noted.
The Head of Programs regretted that Africa had been considered as a safe haven for terrorist maneuvers mentioning recent attacks in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Kenya and Egypt.
Mr. Kotin while congratulating the participants of the competition also urged African governments to put out workable strategies which will help reduce poverty, religious fundamentalism and human rights violations.
The Facebook Public Policy Manager For Africa, Akua Gyekye said her institution is happy to be part of the project adding that the youth have credible and authentic values to influence their peers positively.
A representative of the US Embassy in Ghana, Sarah Shabbir, urged the participants in the competition to carry the message of peaceful co-existence among all manner of people beyond the competition.
By Solomon Ofori