General News of Friday, 19 October 2018
The Centre for European Studies (CES) in collaboration with the Resilient Peace Network, based in the University of Bristol, UK, organized a one-day workshop on Thursday 18th October, 2018 at the Kofi Drah Conference Hall of the University of Ghana.
The workshop, which was under the theme “Building Resilient Peace in West Africa” was attended by over sixty participants drawn from Scholars and Researchers in the area of peace building from across West Africa, Europe and Australia.
Other participants were from Civil Society Groups focused on peace building in Ghana such as the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), and the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE). Participants from the main political parties in Ghana, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Ghana Armed Forces, and the Ghana Police Service, were also represented at the workshop.
In his welcome address, Prof Ransford Gyampo, Director of the CES noted that the CES has since its establishment successfully organized research-based lecture series on topical issues about Europe and Africa.
The Centre has also collaborated with other reputable bodies and academic networks in undertaking evidence based research. According to Prof Gyampo, one of such collaborations is with the Resilient Peace Worldwide Universities Network.
The Network consists of a consortium of institutions working together within the areas of peacebuilding in West Africa. It aims at bringing together researchers across the globe for collaborative grant applications, research and publications on issues germane to the building of resilient peace among nations in West Africa. Prof Gyampo observed as follows:
“This morning, our colleagues from the University of Bristol, University of Sheffield, University of Western Australia are here to kick start this maiden workshop aimed at contributing to achieving the objectives of the Network. We want to use this opportunity for intensive brainstorming, facilitating meaningful interactions between academia and policy makers, as well as presenting findings of some work carried out by some researchers in the Network within the area of building resilient peace in West Africa. This is also an opportunity to build relations between project members, scholars, civil society and local policymakers.”
Prof Gyampo urged participants to bring their rich experience and perspectives in the area of peacebuilding to bear on discussions.
He also called on faculty members of the University of Ghana and the Centre for European Studies to seize the opportunity to build networks and to strengthen research collaboration ties.
The chairperson for the event, Dr. Ana Juncos of the University of Bristol, UK, commended the Centre for European Studies for its strong collaboration with the Resilient Peace Network and for hosting the event. Research Papers on the theme were presented by Prof Jonathan Joseph, University of Sheffield, Dr. Ryerson Christie, University of Bristol, Dr. Gilberto Algar-Faria, University of Bristol, Dr. David Mickler, University of Western Australia, and Dr. Mohammed Dan Suleiman, University of Western Australia.
Dr. Peace Medie of the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD) served as Discussant of the papers. She critically interrogated the issues of peacebuilding in West Africa raised by the presenters and generated intense discussions and insightful contributions from other panelists such as Prof Esi Sutherland-Addy (FAWE), University of Ghana, Mrs Levinia Addai-Mensah, WANEP, Dr. Festus Aubyn, KAIPTC, and Commissioner of Police Dr. George Akuffo Dampare, Ghana Police and Brigadier Nicholas Peter Andoh, Ghana Armed Forces.
After extensive deliberations, several proposals and recommendations were made to build resilient peace in West Africa. These inter alia, include:
• The state must be strengthened to be able to prevent conflict, manage conflict and provide interventions that deals with poverty, joblessness, and marginalization.
• The creation of peace building bodies like the National Peace Council in Ghana must be replicated in other West African countries and adequately resourced to be able to carry out peace building functions.
• West African countries must share experiences and best practices on peace building.
• There must be a conscious effort to strengthen regional bodies such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to make them proactive in intervening to ensure peace among member countries.
• The Security Sector of West African countries must be reformed and allowed to operate proactively and professionally without partisan political interferences.
• There should be effective devolution of power to the ordinary people in a manner that boosts participatory governance.
• All human beings must acknowledge the commonness of humanity and strive to be peaceful with themselves.
• There should be sustained sensitization and education programmes among the individual citizenry to be peace loving as a way of building peaceful community and state.
• There should be drastic solutions to Winner-Takes-All politics and other proactive interventions that build trust among the citizenry and minimizes the incidence of conflict.
The workshop ended with discussions on joint proposal writing and funding opportunities for more research from Europe and across the globe.