South Sudan focus of Dag Hammarskj÷ld Commemorations at Africa University

9 November 2011, Mutare, Zimbabwe…….The sixth annual Dag Hammarskjöld Commemorative Seminar will take place at the Africa University campus in Mutare, Zimbabwe from 16-17 November 2011.

This year, the commemorations will celebrate the birth of the new nation of South Sudan in East Africa and the keynote speaker will be the President of South Sudan, His Excellency, President Salva Kiir Mayardit, who will be represented by the Speaker of the National Assembly of South Sudan, The Honourable James Wani Igga.

The over-arching theme for this annual event is Peace and Development in Africa and this year’sfocus will be onSouth Sudan: Transformation and Nation Building.” The two day seminar will draw leading experts in political science, civic society, from across the African continent and they will unravel the opportunities and challenges facing the new nation of South Sudan.

Vice Chancellor of Africa University, Professor Fanuel Tagwira said the event was very important as Africa University is a pan-African institution. “As an institution of higher learning, we have a mandate to make our expertise bear on the development aspirations of African nations. As such, we believe that Africa University has an important role to play in the re-building of the nation of South Sudan.” He also added that programmes offered by Africa University would be useful in the nation’s development agenda. “Some of the courses offered in our Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance are useful for nations coming out of conflict. Our Public sector management programme will also be useful in creating capacity in the public sector of the new government of South Sudan.”

Africa University is honoured to work with the Ambassador of Sweden in Harare, His Excellency Anders Lidén in serving as a site for the Dag Hammarskjöld Commemorative Seminar. Professor Tagwira also paid tribute to the firm relationship between Africa University and the Embassy of Sweden.

Officials from the Government of Zimbabwe, foreign envoys, members of civic society within Southern and East Africa, are expected to attend this two day event.  Governor and Resident Minister of Manicaland Province, Honourable Chris Mushowe, the Honourable Minsiter of Higher and Tertiary Education, Dr Stan Mudenge are expected to address the gathering. His Excellency, Anders Liden, Sweden’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe will speak on the Legacy of Dag Hammarskjöld. United Methodist Church Bishop for the East Africa Annual Conference, Bishop Daniel Wandabula will lead a Chapel Service at the University campus next Wednesday,(16 November) dedicated to the legacy of Dag Hammarskjöld and peace for South Sudan.

Panel presentations will be heard from representatives of the women’s movement for peace in South Sudan, religious leadership, department of peace studies from the University of Juba, and representatives of the African Union. The voice of South Sudanese coming from the Diaspora, as well as the voices of the youth of South Sudan will also be heard over the two day seminar. Leading political scientists such as West African Professor Adebayo Olukoshi, Dr Pamela Machakanja of Africa University will also be part of the proceedings. Cultural events will also form part of the commemorative event with Mokoomba performers from Victoria Falls, the Africa University Choir and the South Sudan community in Zimbabwe. A film screening of the life of Dag Hammarskjöld will also be aired. Africa University students will also play a lead role as panel discussants over the two day seminar.

The Dag Hammarskjöld commemorations at Africa University are a collaboration between the University and the Embassy of Sweden in Harare. The seminar offers opportunities to focus on Dag Hammarskjöld’s role in the promotion of world peace, security and human development; while recalling the immense contributions and leadership of the second Secretary General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjöld. The event aims to promote dialogue and understanding about the pertinent issues and challenges affecting the African continent today. The lead faculty for the Dag Hammarskjöld Commemorations is the Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance at Africa University.

In recent years, the Dag Hammarskjöld commemorations have attracted high profile leaders, such as former President of Mozambique, His Excellency Joaquim Chissano, former Prime Minister of Mali, Soumana Sako, former Vice President of Sierra Leone, Honourable Solomon Berewa, and the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, His Excellency President Joseph Kabila.

The principal objective of the event is to provide opportunities for debate and reflection, exchange of experiences and promotion of knowledge about peace and conflict transformation, leadership, and social and economic development processes in Africa. 

Africa University is a Pan African institution of higher education, supported by the United Methodist Church. The University’s student representation is made up of 1600 students from across 24 African nations; with the newly found nation of South Sudan represented within the student body. The University has over 4000 alumni to date, with some Zimbabwean alumni working in South Sudan.