Makerere University through the Department of Religion and Peace Studies last year submitted a bid to host the Rotary Peace Centre in Sub-Saharan Africa. Other countries that expressed interest are Ghana and Kenya.
In line with Rotary best practices, a delegation from Rotary Peace Centres visits and holds interactive discussions with countries/institutions that express interest in hosting the Rotary Peace Centre.
On 1st March 2019, a delegation from Rotary Peace Centres led by Mr. Bryn Styles visited Makerere University to assess the institution’s capacity to host the centre. The team held several discussions with the University Management and the leadership and staff from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Their engagement with the University Management focused on the proposed certificate programme run by the Rotary Peace Centres.
In their interactions at CHUSS, members of staff led by the Coordinator of the Peace and Conflict Studies Centre at Makerere University, Dr Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala delivered captivating presentations on peace building initiatives they have previously engaged in.
The Peace and Conflict Studies Centre at Makerere University engages in a number of activities aimed at promoting peace on the African Continent.
The Centre conducts specialized peace building programmes for senior police and military officers. It also engages in several outreach programmes in conflict-prone areas. “Our students and faculty members are engaged in life-changing community outreach activities in areas that are experiencing, or recovering from civil conflict,” said Dr Samson Barigye, Lecturer, Department of Region and Peace Studies.
Pitching for the Rotary Peace Centre, Dr Barigye highlighted the significance of Uganda in regional security saying it hosts the highest number of refugees on the Continent. As of October 2018, Uganda hosted over 1,154,352 refugees and asylum-seekers originating from South Sudan (785,104), DR Congo (284,265), Burundi (33,657), Somalia (22,064), Rwanda (14,313) and other countries (14,949).
In her remarks, the Acting Principal, Dr Josephine Ahikire underscored the importance of setting up a peace centre in Uganda noting that the country is strategically located to manage conflicts in the region. Commenting on the strengths of the Peace and Conflict Studies Centre at Makerere University, Dr Ahikire said it had built enough capacity and was well positioned to manage peace building programmes on the African Continent.
About the Rotary Peace Centres
The Rotary Peace Centre aims at promoting world peace by educating and empowering peacebuilders through a rigorous academic training, applied field experience, and global networking opportunities. Through this training, Rotary Peace Fellows develop the skills they need to serve as leaders and catalysts for peace and conflict resolution both in their local communities and around the globe.
The Centre to be established in Sub-Saharan Africa, is envisaged to offer a professional development certificate fellowship; a newly developed Rotary International program through which experienced leaders will gain tools for promoting peace and development. The program is a multi-faceted social impact fellowship emphasizing peace, development and leadership. It inspires social action and provides participants with a platform to hone their leadership skills and build robust regional networks for peace.
The Professional Development Program will be held twice a year and is expected to take up 20 peace fellows per cohort. Each cohort is envisioned to overlap with a future cohort to build networking opportunities and a sense of community as Rotary Peace Fellows.