Every year, the School of Psychology, Makerere University holds a Psychology Week to among other things raise awareness about the role the discipline in promoting national development. In collaboration with its alumni and stakeholders, the School engages in several activities to sensitize communities on a number of psychological issues. This year, the Psychology Week held between 10th-13th May, focused on the “Role of Psychology in Promoting National Security”. Activities to mark the Week included a public dialogue on psychology and national security, a security walk, community outreach services, an alumni and stakeholders engagement dinner and a sports gala.
At the public dialogue held on 10th May, 2017 in the Makerere University Main Hall, participants discussed several issues including the psychological implications of individual and group behavior in a radically changed national security environment, personal and group dynamics at play in terrorism and political conflicts, the psychological foundations in the behavior of political actors and their consequences on security as well as the role of psychology in security institutions.
The public dialogue was attended by among others, psychologists, security personnel and politicians who underscored the significance of psychology in promoting national security. Senior UPDF officers Maj. Gen. Pecos Kutesa and Col. Felix Kulaigye gave insights in the psychology of warfare and armed conflict, warning that individual behavior and actions have major implications on the success or failure of any security operation.
Giving an overview on the role of psychology in promoting national security, the Dean, School of Psychology, Dr Julius Kikooma, emphasized the importance of understanding human behavior in preventing security threats, noting that persistent political violence and conflicts have foundations in perceptions of unfairness and injustice.
In his presentation titled, “The Psychology of Drug and Substance Abuse: Implications for Insecurity in Uganda”, the Head of the Department of Educational, Social and Organizational Psychology, Dr Leon Matagi, extensively discussed the effects of drug abuse on national security and made a number of recommendations aimed at minimizing the vice (see attached the PowerPoint presentation).
Other issues discussed included the role of psychology in criminal investigations and understanding employee behavior.
See below detailed presentations