On July 7th 2022, the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) held its 10th joint graduation ceremony to pass out 102 students from six (6) countries, namely Cameroun, Egypt, Ghana, Malawi and Togo. The graduates completed the MA in Conflict, Peace and Security (MCPS) Programme – Executive, Regular and Weekend sessions, the MA in Gender, Peace and Security (MGPS), and the Doctor of Philosophy in International Conflict Management (PICM).
The graduation was under the theme: ” A decade of peace and security education: the role of KAIPTC”. Speaking as the Guest of Honour for the event, Air Vice Marshall Christian Edem Kobla Dovlo (Rtd) who was the former Commandant of the Centre from 2009 to 2013, noted that the theme was apt as it captured a key solution to the challenges Africa is currently facing. Citing a quote by HE the late Kofi Annan who said “education is simply peacebuilding by another name. It is the most effective form of defense”, AVM Dovlo noted that security education is a vital tool to equip new generations with the competencies, knowledge and skills to tackle old and emerging threats on the continent.
He painted a picture of the threats Africa faces today; these include violent extremism, insurgencies, frightening youth unemployment, disappointing if not outright bad governance practices, worsening economies and stagnation, maritime piracy, gross basic human rights violations, environmental stresses and strains, and most worrisome of all, the resurgence of coups and other democratic reversals. He urged the graduates to use the knowledge they have received to solve the afore-listed insecurities; “the knowledge and fresh insights you have gained here at KAIPTC will be critical in crafting holistic solutions to these challenges. Indeed, I have no doubts in my mind your excellent lecturers here at KAIPTC have adequately equipped you with the needed capacities that will enable you to rise to the occasion and contribute your quota wherever you may find yourselves”.
He congratulated the graduates for completing their academic journeys and added that that it was also the beginning of a new adventure that will test their abilities to practically apply the knowledge and experiences learnt in the classroom and from colleagues. As the Commandant during the formative period of the post-graduate programmes, he commended KAIPTC for sustaining and expanding the programmes, which started with an initial enrollment of 30 students. Ten years on, and with over 800 alumni from Africa, Asia and the Middle East, he attributed the success of the programmes to the “enduring tradition of a hardworking and focused staff who have been the bedrock of KAIPTC’s success over the years”. He highlighted KAIPTC’s role in shaping the continent’s future and potential leaders who will become informed actors and influencers, and further called for recognition of the Centre’s unique position and contribution to peace and security education in Africa.
The Commandant, Maj Gen Francis Ofori in his welcome remarks, affirmed the Centre’s commitment to provide the academic foundation, analytical tools, theoretical and practical skills to its students. He added that the Centre is conscious about mainstreaming gender in all its programmes and therefore introduced the MA in Gender, Peace and Security Programme in 2012, a year after the roll-out of the post-graduate initiative. Referring to the batch of graduates, he added that “as a gender sensitive institution, we can report that 55 persons, representing 54% of our graduating students are males and 47 representing 46% are females”. He called on the graduates to stay open-minded and committed, and further urgent them to be great brand ambassadors of the Centre at all times.
The valedictorian for the joint event was Dr. David Esinu Yao Normanyo, who completed the Doctor of Philosophy in International Conflict Management. Speaking on behalf of the graduating cohort, he noted that as graduates of KAIPTC – one of the ECOWAS’ three Peacekeeping Training Centres of Excellence – they are enjoined to use their knowledge to enrich Ghana’s internationally acclaimed contribution to global peace. He was quick to add that “global peace begins in our homes and communities”, and charged them “to use our education to serve our communities, render service to those who need it, amplify the voices of the voiceless, and support one another in achieving these goals”.
He pointed out that education was more than acquiring knowledge or being an expert, and is deemed incomplete if it renders no public benefit. The education they had acquired, he stressed, must aim to best serve others, to advocate for the weak in society, to give a listening ear to the less privileged and to lift the voices of those who do not have the same opportunity.
Since 2011, KAIPTC’s post-graduate academic programmes has groomed peace and security practitioners who work in various capacities in security and intelligence institutions/agencies, international and regional organizations, civil society/non-governmental organizations, the civil and public Service, and as members of Parliaments/Government in Ghana, Africa and beyond, to contribute to a peaceful and secure continent.