I am convinced that International Peace Research Association and its affiliate Africa Peace Research and Education Association AFPREA, provides a suitable forum for scholars who are interested in peace mountains, educational development and societal stability, to come together and exchange their research and theoretical findings and views on peace, education and sustainable development. Unfortunately, African continent, despite of its tremendous economic and man-power resources, is ranked at the bottom of world development hierarchy. Severe inter-ethnic, inter-tribal conflicts, civil wars and persecutions, at local and state levels, have crippled its progress and development. The human sufferings as the result of civil wars and persecution in African countries are awful, reflected in a massive refugees and (IDPs) displacement and tragedies. Being an African citizen who suffered from civil wars and persecutions, on both personal and societal level, and since I had the opportunity to have a wonderful education at best schools in Khartoum-Sudan, United Kingdom and USA, it became my commitment to use my academic and practical experience to inspire visions of peaceful world, promoting knowledge of non-violent peace strategies and developing theoretical paradigms of practical utility. The IPRA/AFPREA mission and vision fit perfectly with my own vision and interest and that is why I joined these network, hoping that, with the co-elaboration with other scholars who share my interest, we together will develop and innovate scholarly work that can help in promoting sustainable peace, education and development for a better world.
In United Arab Emirates
Peace research is an equivocal tool in finding amicable solutions to conflicts of diverse nature. The Africa continent embraces diversity in all corners from native dialects to traditional cuisines and practices not forgetting the fashion and elegance the locals portray in their respective countries. The beauty of her natural and wild landscapes encompassed with the meandering rivers, breathtaking waterfalls and salt-water lakes brings a sense of serenity and tranquility to the human mind when observing and respecting nature. Unfortunately, over the last decades, peace in Africa has constantly been under threat. The beautiful continent has been marred with unending conflicts erupting from different directions instigated by both internal and external forces. AFPREA remains a significant pillar in deriving multi-disciplinary approaches towards solving some of these complex strifes in Africa. As members of AFPREA, we have an infinite undaunted task of deliberations and seeking redress to the politico-socio-economic imbalances that threaten the peace, security and development in Africa. It is an honour to serve my continent and the globe as whole and to participate in the noble cause of uplifting the standards of African people and bringing smiles to their faces through peace research! I urge fellow peace researchers as a first step, to always seek peace from within ourselves and equally share it with others abundantly as we navigate around conflicts in Africa inorder to find permanent solutions to them.
Peace Studies Pioneer Elise Boulding, in her blurb to my first book Guns and Gandhi in Africa, noted that it was time to stop reading about Africa and start following the words and works of leading African scholars themselves. AFPREA provides the ideal place to do just that: to respectfully engage in the extraordinarily rich Pan-African intellectual and practical experience, more and more being put to paper at the universities, colleges, and programs throughout the vast continent. If the world is to find a way to peace with justice, we would do well to return to the roots of indigenous African perspectives.
As an early stage and upcoming researcher, AFPREA over the years has assisted me in meeting my academic dream by knowing more academic scholars in her network of contacts, publishing and presenting my research in my chosen field to honing research work, communication skills, leadership, teamwork and self-management ability. AFPREA will continue to expose me to ethical significance in achieving my Professorship goals in a way to developing my career within a globally recognized academic environment. The platform which has provided me an unlimited imagination for academics’ network, creative mind and opportunity to learn from professional’s intellectuals in their research discipline. I feel so honoured to be part of this wonderful organization with talented people from diverse backgrounds that truly understand the importance of academic family. This family, I believe will continue to provide greater opportunities for interactions, discussion and dissemination of ideas, and collaborations that will benefit the African region as a key component of strategy to develop and deliver world class research that brings the most advanced innovation and meet the highest ethical standards from the African Peace and Educational Research Association.
In North Sudan
Fourteen-year-old Françoise from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was forced from her home and School. She now works extracting and transporting sand from Lake Tanganyika to construction sites (UNHCR, 2018). Françoise is a victim of gross human-rights violations, conflict and violence that has plagued t most resource-rich countries in the world. Almost every valuable natural resource can be found there, including diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt, cassiterite… Why isn’t Françoise transporting ore instead of sand? Why can’t she wear a diamond bracelet instead of the cheap beads? And why can’t her head be adorned with gold instead of the simple faded scarf? The vast wealth has brought nothing but suffering and misery to the Congolese people. It has largely been the cause of the unending conflict and violence. What can we do, to alleviate such situations, not only in DRC, but the rest of Africa? As peace scholars from Africa, what is our contribution? And how can our contribution include the Françoises of our beloved continent? This is my passion.
The world, particularly Africa today as it was in the past, is at war with itself in a magnitude we have never imagined. It has become extremely difficult to understand the dynamics of African violence that we experience everyday across the continent today if we cannot integrate research and practical experience in the areas of conflict and peace. In African Peace, Research and Education Association (AFPREA), this is where research meets field experience and this is why AFPREA is unique. My expectation is that AFPREA will maintain this niche such that it grows into a peace research and practice powerhouse that will come up with practical solutions backed-up with research to guide future generations and governments to put an end to violence in the African continent and allow for sustainable peaceful ways to conflict resolution.
In South Sudan
AFPREA is an ideal association to belong to because of the value of peace it espouses. As an association, it draws people of like mind across Africa whose focus is to see a peaceful coexistence amongst the diverse people of Africa and the world. AFPREA provides an ideal meeting place for people to discuss issues of conflicts so as to craft ways of bringing peaceful coexistence between people. I therefore, encourage as many people as possible in the academia, diplomats, peace envoys, and others who care to see a peaceful Africa to join in the noble cause of pacifying the world so it becomes a good place for everyone to live in.
David Andrew Omona,