Centre for Conflict, Human Rights and Peace Studies Holds Public Lecture

The Centre for Conflict, Human Rights and Peace Studies has organised a public lecture on ‘the Importance of Conflict, Human Rights and Peace Studies in Present Development Discourse’ at the Jophus Anamuah-Mensah Conference Centre of the University of Education, Winneba.

The event which was held on 19th October, 2016 marked the inception of the newly created Centre for Conflict, Human Rights and Peace Studies at the Faculty of Social Science. It brought together 500 dignitaries from Academia, security services, human rights institutions and other stake holders in education.

The Pro- Vice Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Prof. A. Afful- Broni, who Chaired the occasion, remarked that “there is no organization or community where conflict is absent”. He indicated that the key thing about conflict was how best society can manage it, whiles working towards peace. Again, he expressed his profound gratitude to the Faculty, especially the coordinators of the event for the establishment of the Centre for Conflict, Human Rights and Peace Studies in University of Education, Winneba. He noted that UEW will be heard about the world over, as a result of the courses that will be taken up at the centre.

Speaking on the purpose of gathering on behalf of the Registrar of UEW, Dr. C.Y. Akwaa-Mensah, the Deputy Registrar, Academic Affairs, Mrs. Wilhelmina Tete-Mensah said it was important for one to remind himself or herself that human rights issues play a central role in our lives, globally. It is therefore imperative for one to be concerned with matters which ensure that our dignity as humans is well respected, protected and secured. She again remarked that the lecture was well situated in the context of the quest for higher educational institutions to contribute knowledge, thought-leadership and the need to generate ideas to improve educational delivery and also per the university’s mandate of training competent and professional teachers for all educational levels in Ghana; It was expected, that regular public lectures and other educational fora and seminars are held to engage and update the public and relevant stakeholders on new trends and knowledge in educational research.

The Guest Speaker, Dr. Colm Thomas Cuanachain, in his lecture stated that it was good that the Centre was based in the University of Education so that it can use pedagogy to strengthen citizenship, community, peace, justice and dignity because education is the bedrock on which we can build societies that embrace a culture of peace and human rights. He added, everybody has a right to know their rights; and every state has an obligation to expose people to their rights because when citizens learn about human rights in an environment where their rights are respected and protected, it is more likely to have peace and harmony. He continued that it was important to have an academic centre of excellence focused on peace, conflict resolution and human rights and this is very welcome in West Africa. He added that for some days to come, students from the Centre will be working on conflict resolution all around the globe, and is confident that much of the research and activities that graduates work on will be much needed and be of considerable benefit in ECOWAS countries. On the use of human rights education, Dr. Colm Thomas Cuanachain remarked that, it can be used in different ways as both a reactive or short-term response in times of conflict, and as a proactive or long term toolbox for peace.

He enumerated three pointers he hoped the centre takes into account as they moved forward. Firstly, the rights of women would be taken into account as many women such as Leymah Gbowee have been instrumental into in the process of conflict resolution. Secondly, he encouraged the centre to forge links with a broad range of professional bodies, academic faculties, government departments, private sector enterprises, and civil society actors and also make the programmes that it will run open to all. He related the last pointer to research as he urged the centre to do more research because research, reflection, and analysis, will build the evidence that can provoke and challenge a broader community of practice working for peace and human rights. He said research will be the currency that will build the reputation of this Centre.

Present at the ceremony were the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Prof. A. Afful-Broni, Ag. Principal, College of Agricultural Education, Prof. Kagya-Agyeman, Dean, School of Graduate Studies, Prof. Jonathan Armah, Director for Quality Assurance, Prof. Amedeker, Dean, Faculty of Social Science Education, Prof. Yaw Ofosu Kusi, Representative of the Inspector General of Police, Rep. of IGP DCOP Rev. David Ampah Bennin, Dean of Academic Affairs, Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Prof. Vladimir Antwi Danso, Director, Amnesty International Ghana, Commander of Mottor Traffic and Transport Department, Winneba, DSP Charles Obiri, Winneba Police Commander, Superintendent Godfrey Tetteh Adjirakor, Ghana’s Ambassador to Czech Republic, Professor Quartey and other important dignitaries.