African Universities’ Week Celebration | November 11 -15, 2019 “Towards a Peaceful and Secure Africa Through Quality Higher Education”
African Universities’ Week (AU Week) is a special period on the calendar of the Association of African Universities (AAU) when higher education institutions across Africa commemorate the establishment of the AAU. The AAU was formed on 12th November 1967 in Rabat, Morocco by 34 African Universities as the apex organization and forum for consultation, exchange of information and co-operation among institutions of higher education in Africa.
Each year, the AU Week’s celebration brings together higher education stakeholders across Africa to discuss thematic issues pertinent to the improvement of quality higher education and the relevance of higher education to the development of the African continent in general.
The theme for the 2019 African Universities’ Week celebration is “Towards a Peaceful and Secure Africa through Quality Higher Education”. It seeks to bring together the entire higher education community and other major stakeholders in Africa to map out strategies and methodologies, as well as situate the place of quality higher education in the promotion of peace and security towards Africa’s unity and renaissance in line with the 4th Aspiration of Agenda 2063: A peaceful and secure Africa.
Peace and security are a major responsibility for all and demand a multi- stakeholder approach in all interventions. Higher education players and other stakeholders are not exempted from this and do have a major role to play in ensuring peace and security on the continent. For the past few decades, there has been a growing concern on the peace and security
situation of Africa. This has led to several policy responses such as putting in place structures for mediation and conflict resolution, mechanisms for the management of diversity, strengthening governance and democratic principles, and sensitizing the populace on the need to have respect for the rule of law. All these efforts at the national and continental levels are to fast track the realisation of a peaceful and secure Africa.
War and conflicts of any kind are a threat to global peace and security. Many of the causes of conflicts and wars in Africa have deep roots in history of injustices, corruption, marginalization and political connotations. The key to uprooting the underlying causes of these conflicts and insecurities is an informed and enlightened citizenry. Quality education comes in critically at this point.
Quality education is an investment that yields profit and as quoted by former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Anan, “Education, is quite simply, peace-building by another name. Education is the most effective form of defence spending there is. For it yields promise for those who have known only poverty; progress for those who have known only privation; peace for those who have known only pain.”
Quality Education at all levels is the greatest tool that can be used to impart knowledge, attitudes, and enlighten the mass population and youth in particular. This is well articulated in Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), which calls for inclusive and equitable quality education for all. This goal is to ensure that learners acquire the knowledge and skills, among other things, to appreciate cultural diversity, and promotion of the culture of peace and nonviolence.
Education plays a pivotal role to peace building in the sense that when it is delivered in an equitable way, is of good quality, is relevant to the needs of the society, and conflict sensitive, it can help deliver peace and security
on the African continent. However, when attention is not paid to how education is delivered, such that it is plagued with exclusion and inequity, and of low quality, it has the potential to incite conflict.
The Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 2016-2025) takes cognizance of the need for peace to be embedded in education at all levels. The strategy calls for the promotion of peace education, conflict prevention and resolution at all levels of education and for all age groups. A major focus on achieving peace and security using education as a tool is developing policies and plans that are conflict sensitive for education. This approach requires proactiveness from higher education institutions to conduct an audit of our educational system to ensure that the systems are not prone to being drivers of conflict and violence.
Current education policies and educational systems have not been able to adequately deliver on the promise that they hold of enlightening the general citizenry to uphold peace and security in Africa. A higher education system which can be referred to as Quality higher education, must entail awareness of the drivers and threats to peace and security and have adequate systems established to eradicate these threats.
It is against this backdrop that the AAU, “The voice of Arica Higher Education”, the apex organization for higher education in Africa, chose to dedicate this year’s African Universities’ week to exploring how quality higher education can be leveraged on to deliver peace and security on the continent. The week will be dedicated to addressing cross-cutting issues such as:
• The quality and relevance of higher education towards peace building. • The intentional role higher education institutions should play towards peace building.
• The need to strengthen African higher education and research institutions to come out with policies and recommendations that addresses current peace and security concerns on the continent.
• How higher education can engage all key stakeholders – including government in the peace building efforts.
• How higher education can adopt multidisciplinary approaches to dealing with peace education.
Objectives of the week celebration
Promote peace and security through quality higher education.
Promote multidisciplinary approaches to dealing with peace and security in Africa.
Accelerate the development of systems, programmes, and policies to deal with threats to national and continental peace and security.
Activities of African Universities Week Celebrations
The North Africa Regional Office (NARO) of The Association of African Universities (AAU), -established on 12 March 2019 at Al-Azhar University Cairo, Egypt by The Association of African Universities (AAU)- is pleased to announce its first release of the activities of the celebration of the African Universities Week (AUW) from 11 to 15 November 2019. AUW is held every year to celebrate the anniversary of establishing the AAU and discuss one of the important educational issues in Africa. This year theme is “Towards a Peaceful and Secure Africa through Quality Higher Education”.
This year, AUW celebrations will be held for the first time in Egypt.
Objectives of the week celebration:
• Promote peace and security through quality higher education.
• Promote multidisciplinary approaches to dealing with peace and security in Africa.
• Accelerate the development of systems, programs, and policies to deal with threats to national and continental peace and security.