Africa University and the Swiss (Switzerland) Embassy work towards inclusive nation building

28 June 2017
Africa University launched the second cohort of the Dialogue, Negotiation and Mediation Training Course on Monday 26 June. The course, which will run for five days under the theme, Consensus-Based Nation-Building, is a collaborative effort of the University through its College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance (CBPLG), the Centre for Security Studies and Zurich ETH (CSS) with funding from the Swiss (Switzerland) Embassy.

Attending the workshop are key stakeholder representing state institutions, civil society organisations, corporates, war veterans, government ministries, service chiefs, political parties, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), church organisations and practitioners from the wider SADC region.
Speaking at the official launch of the workshop, Africa University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Munashe Furusa, informed that Africa University and the Swiss Embassy are committed to responding to Zimbabwe and Africa’s training needs.

“This course is part of our vision for a peaceful and prosperous Africa. We should always remember that there is a cost to not talking, and at times this leads to the loss of human life. As Africa University, we strongly believe that it is only through dialogue, negotiation and mediation that Africa can reclaim the 21st century with optimism and determination.
The goals of this course are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals which further democratic values, transformative leadership, peace, security and stability, gender equality accountability and inclusivity.” he added.

Prof. Munashe Furusa giving his keynote address

Associate Prof. Nicolas de Torrente of the Swiss Embassy said,

“This course, is a step towards building the capacity of Africa University in being able to support mediation, dialogue and negotiation in Zimbabwe. It is an approach and method to build consensus going forward.”

He added that the Swiss Embassy sees the venture as a very positive development.

Image of Associate Prof. Nicolas de Torrente of the Swiss Embassy
Associate Prof. Nicolas de Torrente of the Swiss Embassy

Dr. Solomon Mungure, who is the Coordinator and resource person for the training workshop, informed that the training course is part of a three year programme which started in 2016. The training aims to develop the capacity of regional and Zimbabwean policy makers and practitioners from different key stakeholder groups in consensus oriented nation building, providing them with the necessary dialogue, negotiation and mediation skills and approaches.
The course will also develop a network of state and non-state actors across political persuasions who share a common understanding of how to constructively engage in nation building.

Dr. Mungure expressed optimism that the course will support the institutionalization of capacity at CBPLG for AU to deliver high level training and support to dialogue, negotiation and mediation efforts in Zimbabwe and the region. This will contribute to AU’s long term vision to launch a graduate programme in Negotiation and Mediation, thereby creating an opportunity for more practitioners to benefit from the training.


By AU Correspondent