Team from Universidad San Pablo, Spain Visit the University of Makeni

By Correspondent Matthew Kanu

A team of 15 Spanish academics were in Sierra Leone during January to further strengthen the bilateral relationship between Universidad San Pablo, Madrid, and the University of Makeni. The visitors were specialists ranging from medicine, entrepreneurs, architecture and mass communication.

There was a joint meeting between the Spanish team and staff of UNIMAK on Sunday 21st January 2018 to meet with the different faculties departmental heads and directorate of various units of the university. Several meetings were held during the week with various departments and faculty members. A communication expert from the Universidad San Pablo, Elena Lebrian, held fruitful meetings with the staff and students of the UNIMAK Mass Communication Department. Dean of Faculty of Mass Communication and Information Technology, Joseph Ezekiel Thulla, said he was very grateful to see Professor Elena Librian in the department of Mass Communication as this is marked the beginning of a fruitful relationship between the UNIMAK Mass Communication Department and the Universidad San

Elena Lebrian, communication expert from the Universidad San Pablo, lecturing students of the UNIMAK Mass Communication Department

Pablo School of Journalism .

UNIMAK Mass Communication Head of Department, Leonard Mamoud Kamara, hoped that the two institutions would make an agreement on staff and students exchange, lab equipment, research, scholarship opportunities for staff and students, and long and short term training in Sierra Leone and Madrid. He explained that UNIMAK’s Mass Communication Department is a training ground for journalists and media experts in the country since 2005.

In her response, Professor Elena said she was happy to meet the staff and students of the departments. “We would work together to collaborate in the areas you have mentioned. I will go back and report to the Dean of my school the outcome of this meeting and then we will start collaborating” Professor Elena explained.

Team From Rondine International Peace Lab Visit UNIMAK and Other Stakeholders in Makeni City.

Correspondent Matthew Kanu writes:

In early January 2018 a team from the Rondine International Peace Lab in Italy visited UNIMAK and other stakeholders in Makeni City, Sierra Leone . The week long visit comprised of Rondine staff, International Peace Lab Alumni and a journalist for the implementation of an initiative for a peaceful and democratic elections project in Sierra Leone . During their stay the team held fruitful discussions with various stakeholders in the March 2018 elections.

Meeting With Traditional Leaders

Community leaders after the training in the Kenema District with support from Rondine International Peace Lab

The team met the Paramount Chief of Bombali Sheborah Chiefdom, Bai Sheborah Kasanga the 2nd. Paramount Chief Kasanga praise the effort of the team to facilitate the process of achieving a free, fair and transparent election in Sierra Leone. “Everything we strive to achieve will not hold if our elections are not always peaceful” the paramount Chief noted. He said their role as Paramount Chiefs is to be neutral and to ensure the right of all citizens is respected in any democratic dispensation.

In Sierra Leone traditional leaders play a major role in promoting peaceful and democratic elections because the majority of the people live in rural areas of the country. The chieftaincy institution over the years has displayed neutrality.

Paramount Chief Bai Sheborah Kasangha the 2nd promised to inform fellow Paramount Chiefs across the country about the significance of the visit of the Rondine team in the country.

Visit To The National Electoral Commission Bombali Distrct Office
The team met the Bombali District Electoral Officer, Sahr Samuel Kellie, and his team during the nominations of local councilors contesting the March 2018 local council elections in Bombali District. While covering the nominations process the District Electoral Officer said the team was among the very few international organizations that brought international journalist to cover the nominations process which is key in the electoral calendar of the March 7 2018 elections. He said the commission will do all it can to ensure free, fair and transparent elections in Sierra Leone.

According to the 2015 Sierra Leone Housing and Population Census there are over 7 million people in Sierra Leone. The NEC 2018 voter registrar indicate that there are over 3 million registered voters in the country. Majority of whom are first time voters.

The Association Rondine Cittadella della Pace has been working with Sierra Leone, specifically with the University of Makeni, since 2003. As a result, 9 youngsters from different areas of Sierra Leone have been accommodated at the International Hall of Residence in Arezzo – Italy while completing a Master Degree in Italian Universities. These youngsters have undergone a personal transformation, and now are part of the network of the Alumni Association of Rondine (Rondine International Peace Lab). They are the best resources that will give back to their communities, transmitting the message of peace and dialogue by implementing projects of local development. In this case, they will contribute through preparing the environment for safe, democratic, and informed elections.

Witnessing The First Round Table Discussion For Students Of The University Of Makeni.

Trainer Maddieu Barrie facilitating a session

On the 13th January 2018 the team also witnessed the first round table discussion for students on peaceful and democratic elections in Sierra Leone. The discussion was moderated by renowned and respected independent lawyer in Sierra Leone Solomon Jamiru. Lawyer Jamiru mentioned in his opening remarks that the discussion will help the students to be responsible voters in the March 7 2018 polls . “You have a role to play as young people to ensure non violent elections in Sierra Leone” he emphasized. The discussion was interactive and students were able to make contributions and ask many questions.

Addressing students Rondine International Peace Lab Alumni Manuella Markaj congratulated the students for attending the round table discussion. She encouraged them all to be peace ambassadors and to play their part in ensuring a non-violence democratic and peaceful conduct of the 2018 elections.

Year two law student Paul Kamara commented that the round table discussion was an eye opener for them as students and citizens of Sierra Leone: “The round table discussion will enable us to be peaceful voters. Our responsibility now is to ensure that we transmit the knowledge gained to our people particularly in rural Sierra Leone to be peaceful before, during and after the elections” .

Sierra Leone returned to multi-party democracy in 1996 and then followed by other elections in 2002, 2007, 2012 and now 2018 respectively. Even though Sierra Leoneans have made significant progress in enhancing democratic credentials the country is still regarded as an emerging democracy. Citizens will be voting for local council, parliamentary and presidential elections in less than forty days.

At the end of their visit a spokesperson of Rondine Citta Della Della Pace Mauro D’andrea told this medium that he was impressed with the level of commitment he saw from Sierra Leoneans to ensure a peaceful and democratic elections. He encouraged all Sierra Leoneans to promote nonviolence at all time..

Presently, there is ongoing training of community leaders in all districts of the country. These community leaders will be promoting nonviolence campaigns in their districts. They are drawn from all sectors of development. The format of the training is largely based on participatory methods thereby making the trainings interactive. The project will train a total of 300 community leaders.

Meeting The UNIMAK Vice Chancellor
In a meeting with the Vice Chancellor of the University of Makeni, Professor Joseph Turay ( a social scientist) was optimistic that the Rondine International Peace Lab intervention in promoting a democratic and peaceful elections in a war turn country like Sierra Leone is significant and timely. “I think what we are doing as a University is to collaborate with Rondine to protect our hard worn peace before, during and after the March 7 2018 elections” Professor Turay noted.

International Peace Lab Alumni and UNIMAK Director of Human Resource, Veronica Kamara was coordinating and organizing events leading to the successful implementation of the project.

Agreement between UNIMAK and Guinean King Mo. Roi 6th University

Exchange of agreement between the Founder of King Mo.Roi the 6th University Elhdji Marrah and the University of Makeni Vice Chancellor Professor Joseph Turay

Correspondent Matthew Kanu writes:

On the 2nd January 2018 a delegation from the Republic of Guinea King Mo. Roi 6th University visited the University of Makeni to sign an agreement between the two institutions. The purpose of the agreement is to further strengthen bilateral ties in the field of academia.

Vice Chancellor of the University of Makeni Professor Joseph Turay expressed his appreciation to the delegation for choosing the University of Makeni to be a major partner in Sierra Leone. Professor Turay said such an agreement will promote Higher Education within the Mano River Union.

The agreement is the first in the West African Sub Region and the Mano River Union since the establishment of UNIMAK in 2005.

Founder of the King Mo. Roi the 6th University Elhadji Marrah praised the management and staff of UNIMAK for the warm reception accorded to them. He said Sierra Leone and Guinea have similar values, culture and traditions, and described the agreement as a manifestation of the uniqueness as neighboring countries.

This is the second time that students of the King Mo. Roi the 6th University have come to the country to learn English.

King Mo.Roi the 6th University delegation and staff of UNIMAK

The first was in 2016 with 10 students and the second time was in 2017 with 25 students. Head of the King Mo. Roi the 6th University Head of English Language Department Mousa Kamara accompanied the students to UNIMAK in both years. “We have found a new family at UNIMAK. The learning environment is very good. We always like to come” said Mr. Kamara.

 

The agreement will facilitate students and staff exchange, with UNIMAK students going to learn French in Guinea while students from the King Mo Roi the 6th University come to Sierra Leone to learn English.

The UN and Sierra Leone

This new book has been added to the anthology on the Centre of Sierra Leone Studies page. The author Ade Daramy writes:

“Some may be surprised to know that almost from the moment it obtained full member status, Sierra Leone played and continues to play an active, involved role in the life of the United Nations, taking part in several aspects of the organisation’s activities. It may surprise some to know that as well as being the beneficiary of UN military peace-keeping aid, Sierra Leone has, as part of its contribution to peacekeeping, lent its troops to serve in conflict zones. Almost as soon as it became a member, Sierra Leone threw itself into UN activities. In the 1960s, the country’s representatives were at the forefront of committees debating important matters such as sanctions against South Africa’s apartheid regime.”

The book is illustrated with many fascinating photographs.

UNIMAK Launches Degree Course in Political Science and International Relations

UNIMAK has launched a new degree course: BA. in Political Science and International Relations. Participants will look at some major political ‘pin-ups’ of the 21st century; especially the debate over democratic governance and the relationship between the state and the civil society, the connection between poverty, migration and human trafficking and other forms of human exploitation, climatic change, bioterrorism, nuclear proliferation and globalization etc. All of these issues tell us the study of political science and international relations is a very rigorous, but necessary and timely enterprise.

Philosophy and Objectives of the Study
  • Redefining leadership through special recruitment
  • Create a platform for political debate, seminars and/or workshops that foster and maintain the peace
  • Broaden the scope of citizens’ involvement in politics
  • Promote democracy through dialogue and political tolerance
  • Diplomacy for exploring early warnings of conflicts in the Mano-River Union and thus strengthening Bi-lateral ties with allies.

Further details are given in the brochure in this link.