Maada Bio thrills Addis Ababa University
On Wednesday 17 th June 2015, the Former Head of State of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio thrilled an audience of students, academics and members of the diplomatic community with his lecture on the roles of local mediators in the Sierra Leone civil war peace settlement.
At the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS), Addisa Ababa University, a confident Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio told the audience that his presentation was to address a gap in the scholarship on the Sierra Leone civil war by examining the role of local and regional actors and agents in facilitating and supporting the process of peacemaking that brought about an end to the civil war. He premised his argument that the scholarship on the Sierra Leone civil war has unduly focused on the importance of international actors but said that perspective ignores the depth and complexity of the peace process.
As an institution which promotes peace and security through education, research, and outreach in Africa, Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio told the audience about the model of peace making for intra-state conflicts in Africa which has started shifting from liberal peace models to exploring the significant contributions of multiple actors and especially of local and regional actors to peacemaking processes. He underscored the importance of local voices in peace initiatives and stated the recognition that these local initiatives are driven by unique motives and deal with values and outcomes to which international institutions do not always cater.
As the Former Head of State gave a background of the Sierra Leone civil war and the violence which characterised the war, it was like a man delivering a message from his heart knowing fully well how much sufferings ordinary Sierra Leoneans had to endure whilst others continue to live with the scars.
Whilst the audience patiently listened, watched on and a good number took notes of the presentation,
Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio narrated the peace initiatives and significant roles played by Sierra Leonean mediators such as the Soro-Gbema Peace Overture; the peace initiatives by Supreme Islamic Council and Council of Churches in Sierra Leone and the contributions of many civil society organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations. The Former Head of State also specifically mentioned the outstanding role of women organisations in the civil war peace settlement.
The Former Head of State concluded his lecture at the Institute For Peace and Security Studies in Addisa Ababa University by saying “Understanding local actors and their role in civil war peace settlement can help to mitigate threats, harmonize outcomes, and thus lead to the construction of a more robust and sustainable peace infrastructure. Certainly, external actors play a pivotal role in peacemaking using political, diplomatic, economic and other resources to enhance mediation efforts. However, as Whitfield (2010) affirms, ‘in all cases, a lasting settlement is likely to depend on the achievement of a relatively unified external involvement in addition to local ownership by relevant social and political actors’(p. 5).” At the end of the presentation, a very thrilled audience gave an ovation to the Former Head of State for a very impressive presentation.
The Presentation was also followed by the usual question and answer session where the Former Head of State, Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio displayed his statesmanship, academic prowess and his wealth of experience and knowledge on issues of state governance, peace settlement and democratisation .
Like the International Conference of Mediation in South Africa, University of Pretoria, it is also expected that the Presentation at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies will now form part of the academic literature available to international students, lecturers, academics and practitioners for research purposes on the civil war peace settlement in Sierra Leone.
By: Julius Maada Bio Media and Communications Team
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