UB hosts African peacebuilding scholars

The University of Botswana, in collaboration with the Department of Political & Administrative Studies and its staff, this week hosted the African Peacebuilding Network (APN) of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC).

The workshop, held between Monday and Wednesday, brought together leading researchers from Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Niger, and South Africa. Research fellows and resource persons were leading scholars from Botswana, South Africa, the UK, the USA and Canada.

According to programme assistant, Dagan Rossini, the SSRC-APN is a non-profit, international organisation, which aims to foster research in social sciences, while promoting a culture of innovative knowledge.

Based in Brooklyn, New York, the organisation’s APN arm represents a welcome effort to substantially contribute to the visibility of research work on peacebuilding in Africa.

“We support independent African research on conflict affected countries and neighbouring regions of the continent, as well as the integration of African knowledge into global policy communities,” he said.

The workshop provided a platform for scholars to hold key discussions on research in conflict areas, affirming the APN’s mandate of strengthening the African perspective on peacebuilding, he added.

Speaking on the workshop’s objectives, programme director, Cyril Obi said:“It is aimed at helping grantees refine their research focus before going out to the field for data collection purposes.” He added that the key aim was for researchers to explore ways of making their work accessible through publications and to develop constructive relationships with other fellow scholars.

“The workshop also strives to give the grantees a critical understanding of the context and politics of the conflict and peacebuilding nexus in Africa.

This comes at a time when researchers also represent the voice of the historically disempowered members of societies in conflict stricken countries,” he said. Dr. Obi noted that the University of Botswana’s choice to host the workshop reflected the valuable partnership between the institution and APN’s New York office.

“It further presents opportunities for the university and its staff to enhance their international outlook. The SSRC’s presence in Botswana places UB in a unique position to contribute to peacebuilding research.”

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