30 September 2020- Africa University in partnership with the Embassy of Switzerland in Zimbabwe and the Center for Security Studies (CSS) held a negotiation and mediation workshop for 20 inspiring youth from across Zimbabwe who occupy leadership positions in fields ranging from human rights, law, small scale business entrepreneurship, youth activism and women’s rights. The workshop forms the third in a series of four workshops that seek to train community leaders who represent all sections of the society in negotiation skills, dialogue and peace mobilization. The next group that shall be trained in the workshop series include women leaders who head various critical civic society groups in Zimbabwe.
The trainings hosted by the Africa University Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance form part of a powerful tradition of community education and emancipation that is at the core of the values of the institute that is lead by Dean of the College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance , Professor Pamela Machakanja.
Presenting remarks on behalf of the Vice Chancellor Professor Munashe Furusa, Registrar Mr. Herbert Njonga expressed the immense pride of place and gravity that the university places upon youth empowerment and their critical role in the realization of the continental blueprint for sustainable development, Agenda 2063, and the Global Sustainable Development Goals. He went on to emphasize that deliberate and concerted efforts must be made to build lasting peace and that youth should not underestimate their place in the peace process.
Mr Njonga also thanked the strategic partners of the initiative speaking to the impact that such trainings have on the advancement of the development trajectory of the region and continent. He said, ” The Africa University Partnership Grant with the Swiss Embassy and the Centre for Security Studies (CSS), ETH Zurich aims to strengthen the capacity of men, women and youth in Negotiation and Mediation skills. The partnership project Grant which is worth USD177,381.00 was signed in 2016 and we are happy to inform you that one of the major outputs of capacity building training sessions such as these is that Africa University with a team of experts from the Centre for Security Studies in Zurich and participants of the initial training workshops have developed a Masters degree programme in negotiation and mediation which is in the final stages of being approved by the Zimbabwe Council of Higher Education. This is a unique programme and is the first of its kind in Zimbabwe and Africa. We seek to launch the programme in March or August 2021. It is our hope that we will continue to partner in ensuring that we train a critical mass of young male and female negotiators and mediators across Africa. “
Africa University’s efforts to drive the inclusion of young people in all aspects of continental development places the youth front and center as active participants in the building of lasting peace and progress. Preconceived notions of the youth being used as tools to agitate violence and unrest are dispelled. Such workshops seek to change the discourse and refocus youth as positive change agents, as innovators, problem solvers and the future of Africa.
The workshop is set to run from the 30th of September to the 2nd of October 2020 with dynamic and engaging facilitators drawn from across the College of Business , Peace, Leadership and Governance.