In his statements, he raised the question of why should Peace and Conflict Studies be offered by so many students at FBC, when there are other better programs than Peace and Conflict Studies.
This statement comes as a disappointment to those of us who over the years, have contributed in developing the skills of young Sierra Leoneans to professionalise in areas like – Peace building, Peacemaking, Conflict Mediation, UN Peace Mission Programs, and how to promote and sustain Human Security. More than ten years ago, Bradford University in the United Kingdom, one of the world’s renowned institutions for Peace and Conflict Studies, contributed in setting up the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at Fourah Bay College. Time and resources have gone into this program. Today, it is one of the fastest growing programs at Fourah Bay College. Most of our graduates from the honours school get automatic scholarship to countries like – Japan, China, and Italy for further studies. Some of our students have secured jobs within the country, in the Diaspora and some with the UN system. Some of them are working with UN missions around the world as professional conflict mediators.
Peace and conflict Studies is the brain child of the United Nations. There are more than 20 top placed Universities offering Peace and Conflict Studies as undergraduate and post graduate programs, with support from the United Nations. The United Nations was founded in 1945 after the Second World War. It principles are deeply rooted in managing and promoting Global Peace, which is all what Peace and Conflict Studies is about. Sustainable development – is only possible when we teach ourselves how to live in peace, and how to resolve conflicts. This is what the UN has been preaching since 1945 to-date. Therefore, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella should know that, the UN badge of honour he carries around as his pride, was vested and rested on the foundation stone of Peace and Conflict Studies. One time UN Secretary General Ghanaian born Kofi Anna, after his retirement from the UN, established the Kofi Anna Institute of Peace Studies in Ghana, training professionals in peace and conflict resolution and UN mission deployment programs. Similarly so, one would have expected Dr. Yumkella, our own retired UN Diplomat, to promote the study of Peace and Conflict in the name of Global Peace, rather than criticising it.
Peace and conflict Studies is a multidimensional area of academic study. It draws from, political science, sociology, history, international relations, law, and human security.
I am a Class seven Rotary Peace Fellow. I hold a Masters Degree in International Studies in the area of Peace and Conflict Resolution, from the University of Queensland – Brisbane, Australia. I was the first Sierra Leonean to receive academic sponsorship for a Masters program in Peace Studies by Rotary International. I am currently a staff PhD Candidate in Peace and Conflict Studies at the School of Postgraduate Studies – University of Sierra Leone, and Lecturer at the Department of Peace and Conflict – FBC. Life is treating me well with my Peace and Conflict Studies Degree. I am also a certified Nonviolence trainer, certified by the Department of Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island in the US. I come to US every year as a trainer, to take part in a Kingian level-1 nonviolence training for over 50 professionals from different parts of the globe.
Please don’t get me wrong, this is not being boastful. I just want to give an insight to Dr. Yumkella, to know why and how Peace and Conflict Studies has transformed my life and taken me to places, for which I know has done the same for hundreds of graduates in Peace and Conflict Studies. I have a job today because of the value of Peace and Conflict Studies.
In view of the forgone, with all due respect to Dr. Yumkella, it is my view that his comments were unfounded, and disrespectful to the University of Sierra Leone, the Department of Peace and conflict Studies – FBC, our International affiliated institutions, current students and graduates of Peace and Conflict Studies, together with their financial sponsors, and their lecturers. I am not demanding any apology from you sir, but good if in your wisdom, you can apologise publicly for making such comments.
Rotary Peace Fellow and Lecturer Dept. of Peace and Conflict Studies-FBC.