Joint Federal Government of Ethiopia – University of Bradford 50th Anniversary Africa Regional Conference, 23 – 24 June 2016

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) and the University of Bradford (UoB) held a two-day joint regional conference on Global Education for Peace in Africa to mark the 50th anniversary of the University of Bradford. The conference was held at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on 23rd and 24th June 2016. The Conference had three main objectives:

  • To bring together high-level continental agencies, strategic partners, political leaders, policy makers, practitioners, students and University of Bradford alumni to share ideas and develop a concrete programme of action on Global Education for Peace in Africa.
  • To strengthen the role of the University of Bradford in promoting global education for peace with particular reference to the African region.
  • To celebrate the University of Bradford’s 50th Anniversary with our International Partners and Alumni.

The official opening of the conference was performed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia and a distinguished alumnus of the University of Bradford H.E. Dr Demeke Mekonnen. Speakers at the historic conference include:

  1. H.E. Dr Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia
  2. Professor Brian Cantor, Vice Chancellor, University of Bradford
  3. H.E. Ato Shiferaw Shigutie, Ethiopian Federal Minister of Education
  4. Dr Getachew Engida, UNESCO Deputy Director-General, Paris
  5. Dr Admasu Tsegaye, Addis Ababa University President, Ethiopia
  6. Professor Donna Lee. Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Bradford
  7. Professor David Francis, Head, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford
  8. Dr Alhaji Sarjoh Bah, Head Crisis Management and Post-Conflict Reconstruction Division, Peace and Security Department, African Union Commission, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  9. Peter Hare, Peacekeeping English Project Adviser, British Council, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  10. Selamawit Alemayehu, Regional Programme Manager, Schools Programme, Sub-Saharan Africa, British Council, Nairobi, Kenya
  11. Prof Pamela Machakanja, Director, Institute for Peace, Leadership and Governance, Africa University, Mutare, Zimabawe
  12. Dr Arthur Bainomugisha, Executive Director, Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, Kampala, Uganda
  13. Professor Oshita O. Oshita, Director-General, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Office of the Presidency, Abuja, Nigeria

The conference theme of peace and the regional focus on Africa are key areas of strength for the University of Bradford as a leading Technology University. 40 years ago, the University established the School of Peace Studies, which has emerged not only as a global brand but also the world’s largest academic centre of excellence for peace and conflict research. Its internationally recognised Africa Centre (the John and Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies [JEFCAS]) has established education-for-peace capacity-building programmes and institutes at 25 universities in 20 African countries.

The golden jubilee anniversary conference was divided into four plenary panels. The first three plenaries explored thematic issues on the global education for peace, the African context of peace education, the impact of the University of Bradford as a world-leading technology university on peace, education and economic development; the historical role of the African Union in peace-making on the continent, the contribution of UNECSO-Africa in education-for-peace, the impact of African universities in promoting Education-for-peace, the interface between the British Council’s schools programme in Sub-Saharan Africa and peace education, the flagship role of the federal government of Ethiopia in mainstreaming and institutionalising peace education into Ethiopian schools system, etc.

The last conference plenary was a University of Bradford’s Alumni special forum on the ‘Global Evidence of Making Knowledge Work.’ The panellists discussed in significant detail their academic experiences as post-graduate degree students at the University of Bradford and how they have applied the academic knowledge and skills acquired from Bradford in contributing to national and regional conflict intervention, security, peace-building and development. The various plenaries were followed by highly interactive and engaging question and answer sessions.

One of the key policy recommendations of stakeholders at this epochal golden jubilee anniversary conference was the need to mainstream peace education into the curricula of schools and other educational institutions on the continent using a regional framework. Uganda was chosen to host the first in the series of the follow-up conferences to develop modalities for this important regional peace education project. The Ugandan follow-up conference on Global Education for Peace in Africa (Phase 2) has been tentatively scheduled to take place in Kampala in October 2017.

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