Professor Stephen Kendie, a Research Professor at the Department of Integrated Development Studies of the School for Development Studies (SDS) at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) has stressed the need for proactive measures to be put in place to pre-empt and prevent violent conflicts in the country.
According to him, the apparent peaceful environment must not give the country false hopes of sustainable peace and an inclusive society, and called on all stakeholders to work towards ensuring peace at all levels.
He also said the country must prioritise producing more specialists to design strategies and policies for sustaining peace for national development.
Prof Kendie made the call during a stakeholder’s consultative workshop on the development of three new academic programmes of the Department of Peace Studies of the school for Development Studies at the University of Cape Coast.
The workshop was attended by representatives of the two main political parties, the Electoral Commission, the National Media Commission, the National Labour Commission, the security agencies, members of the academia and the media to solicit inputs from the stakeholders to ensure that the new programmes were fit for purpose.
The three new programmes are; PhD, Mphil and MA in Peace and Development Studies, PhD, Mphil and MA in Politics, Peace and Security and certificate courses in Mediation.
Prof Kendie who led a discussion on the proposed PhD in Peace and Development Studies programme indicated that there were widespread nature of political, land, religious and chieftaincy violent conflicts in the country.
He said the new programmes would offer a wide range of courses that would enable students to acquire skills in conflict analysis, mediation and dialogue which were relevant for peace building and managing societal challenges and stressed the need to explore the linkages among peace, conflicts and development from an interdisciplinary perspective.
‘Considering the importance of development studies and its linkages with peace in the country, it is timely to increase the mass of people in Ghana who understand the nexus of conflict, peace and development to think more deeply, engage in research and prescribe appropriate solutions’, he said.
‘The peace we want has to be cultivated. There can be no peace if we do not fight for it. Let us all be peace ambassadors’, he added.
Mr Emmanuel Yaw Tenkorang, the Dean of the School for Development Studies said the school ensured that its academic programmes were fit for purpose and produced students fit directly into where they were needed at the job market.
Mr George Sarpong, the Executive Secretary of the National Media Commission encouraged UCC to reflect on the possibilities of mounting courses that would address conflicts that might arise as a result of emerging technologies and innovations.
He also encouraged the university to run short courses in peace and development studies for identifiable groups such as chiefs, opinion leaders, pastors and Imams who were often the first point of call when there was a conflict in the society.
The participants commended UCC for taking the initiative to address issues relating to peace and development of the country.