African higher educational institutions urged to support peacebuilding efforts

By Iddi Yire, GNA   

Accra, Nov. 16, GNA – The Association of
African Universities (AAU) has called on higher educational institutions to
support peacebuilding efforts on the Continent.

Professor Etienne Ehouan Ehile, the
Secretary General of the AAU, said there had been growing concerns about the
peace and security situation of Africa, which had led to several policy

This included putting in place structures
for mediation and conflict resolution, mechanisms for the management of
diversity, strengthening governance and democratic principles, and sensitising
the populace on the need to have respect for the rule of law.

He said the key to uprooting the causes of
conflict and insecurity was an informed and enlightened citizenry, which could
be achieved through quality education.

Prof. Ehile said this at the 2019 AAU Week
Celebration in Accra.

On the theme: “Towards A Peaceful and Secure
Africa through Quality Higher Education,” the event highlighted cross-cutting
issues concerning relevance of higher education towards peace building.

It also touched on the need to strengthen
research institutions to come out with policies and practical solutions to
peace and security concerns in Africa.

Prof Ehile noted that current educational
systems had not been able to adequately enlighten the citizenry to uphold peace
and security.          

He said it was against this backdrop that
AAU chose to dedicate this year’s week-long celebration to exploring how
quality higher education could be leveraged to deliver peace and security on
the Continent.

He reiterated AAU’s commitment to continue
to work around the clock with the right stakeholders to achieve a peaceful and
secured Africa, through quality education.

Prof. Kwaku Osei-Hwedie, the Dean of the
Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International
Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), said the essence of democracy in Africa
was the ability to manage the diverse cultural, ethnic, religious and
socio-economic backgrounds.

When done positively and properly, that would
enhance peace and security, he said, adding that; “it is to this enterprise
that African universities must contribute in a comprehensive manner.”

In a panel discussion, Dr Patrick Osei
Kufuor, Head of Department, Peace and Development Studies, University of Cape
Coast, said students must be able to impact society with the training they
received, ensure peace and live peacefully with others.

He said peace and conflict studies were
often limited to the Social Sciences, whereas those in the Sciences and
Business were left out.

Dr Kufuor underscored the need to make the
course an interdisciplinary one in which all students would be introduced to
concepts of peace building.

Dr Afua Boatemaa Yakohene, Research Fellow,
Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy, said more research must
be done on peace and conflicts to inform policy while ensuring that those
researches were publicised to benefit society.