The Independent: First Rotary Peace centre in Africa opened at Makerere University

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The first Rotary Peace Centre in Africa has opened at Makerere University.

Under the new Peace Centre which is to be hosted by the Makerere’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Rotary and Makerere University will start offering a postgraduate certificate program to peace and development leaders who are from or who have worked in Africa to address the underlying challenges to peace in the region.

Rotary International led by Vice President Mr. Yinka Babalola launched the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University .PHOTO via @MakerereU

According to Bryn Styles, the head of Rotary Peace Centres, the centre will provide hands-on experience to complement coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict.

He further argues that other studies will focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.

The program is designed to accommodate working professionals with at least five years of proven experience in the areas of peace and development. Two cohorts a year each with 20 fellows will be admitted.

Yinka Babalola, vice president, Rotary International Board of Directors says they spend approximately 18.5 billion shillings on all its peace centres.

Makerere University joins six other peace centres across the world including; the University of North Carolina and the Duke University in the United States, International Christian University – Tokyo, Japan, University of Bradford- West Yorkshire, England, University of Queensland- Brisbane, Queensland, Australia and Uppsala University- Uppsala in Sweden.

“I do not have the specifics for Makerere University but you know we are going to be having 40 graduates every year and it will depend on where they will be coming from but we shall cover their travel costs, tuition, and feeding. It’s all-inclusive. But annually, we spend about USD 5 million on our peace centres,” says Babalola, the Rotary International Vice President.

The online application will be available in February 2020. Babalola says there is no country without conflicts and that as such, the peace centre comes to create a critical mass of peace builders and mediation experts.

According to the Rotary International vice president, the year-long program in Peace building, Conflict Transformation and Development will emphasize issues and solutions that are of particular relevance throughout the African continent and beyond.

Rotary awards up to 130 fully-funded scholarships for dedicated peace and development leaders from around the world to study at any of its seven peace centres programs annually.

For the past more than 15 years, Rotary Peace Centres have trained over 1,300 individuals for careers in peacebuilding in more than 115 countries, and program alumni serve as leaders in both governmental and non-governmental agencies, international organizations.

Representing Lorna Magara, the head of the Makerere University Council, Professor Sarah Ssali said Peace is a prerequisite of attainment of social order which is a primary condition for sustainable development.

“Conflict ridden societies/ societies with no peace experience typical disruptions in business operations, suffer unreliable social services and persistent social problems such as poverty, hunger and inequality,” says university council representative.

She added that establishment of the peace centre provides Makerere with an opportunity to provide research leadership and capacity development in a critical topic of development.

Francis Xavier Sentamu, the District Governor for District 9211 which includes Uganda and Tanzania. He said they were humbled to receive and host the first peace centre on the entire African continent.

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