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26th IPRA Conference in Sierra Leone Ends on a High Note PDF Print E-mail
Written by Expotimes   
Thursday, 28 September 2017 01:17

The International Peace Research Association (IPRA) successfully held its 26th General Conference on ‘Agenda for Peace and Development: Conflict Prevention, Post-Conflict Transformation, and the Conflict, Disaster Risk and Sustainable Development Debate’ in collaboration with the 10TH Dealing With Disasters Series, Northumbria University (UK)and Sakarya University (Turkey) and  the University of  Sierra Leone at the Bintumani Conference Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone from November 27 to 1st December 2016.


 The conference, which was hosted by the University of Sierra Leone, brought together peace researchers, experts, activists, representatives of civil society organisations and community based organisations, social activists and human rights activists from all over the world. More than 300 participants took part in the conference from 82 countries to present academic papers and share their ideas, research findings, experiences and practices.

 The conference also aimed at fostering links between researchers, policy makers, activists, civil society organisations, human rights activists and the media to better address the issues of just peace in the world. The conference grand opening ceremony took place on Sunday November 27th following registration of participants and three parallel pre-conference workshops facilitated by the Risk and Conflict, Conflict-sensitive journalism, Practice-based peace Working Groups. The conference was officially declared open in a statement by the Vice President of Sierra Leone Honourable Victor Bockarie Foh.

 The Deputy Vice Chancellor of University of Sierra Leone Professor Thomas Gbamanja presided over the inaugural event while the welcome speech was delivered by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone Professor Ekundayo Thompson. The IPRA Secretaries General Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw and Dr Nesrin Kenar, the World Bank Country Director Parminder P.S. Brar, Dr Guan Yi, CEO, Shanxi Zhuoao Organisation, Xian, China, Professor Andrew Collins, Director, Disaster and Development Network, Northumbria University addressed the inaugural day event.

  Most of those who addressed the event congratulated the Secretaries General Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw and Dr Nesrin Kenar for conducting the conference successfully, in a brave way, despite several challenges. This 26th Conference has the distinction of being the conference held in an African Country for the second time in the history of IPRA, the first time in West Africa. In his statement, IPRA Secretary General Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw said the main idea of the conference on AGENDA FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT “is to bring  peace researchers from all over the world to explore the ‘hidden narratives’ of conflict, which the founder of peace research, Johann Galtung refers to as ‘invisible’ structural and cultural forms of violence in his ABC conflict triangle, and which are often ignored in research and policy interventions to address the challenges of peace and development.” Dr Shaw, who is also Senior Lecturer in Media and Politics at Northumbria university in the UK, said the aim of the conference is to shift the focus of peace researchers and policy makers from more dramatic challenges of peace and development such as wars, terrorism, civil wars, disasters, to those less visible issues such as global poverty, discrimination, marginalisation, human trafficking, forced migration, which if not addressed, or prevented, could lead to more dramatic challenges of global peace and development. Dr Shaw provided a brief background about IPRA, including its history and affiliation with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) where IPRA has five permanent representatives, as well as UNESCO and International Social Science Research Council.

 He said when he campaigned to be IPRA Secretary General at the IPRA 24th General Conference in Japan in 2012, “it was on the basis of bringing the conference to Africa for the second time in the 52nd year history of IPRA (the last time was in Durban, South Africa in 1998), and to his home country, Sierra Leone, which went through one of Africa’s bloodiest civil wars in the 1990s, and which recently, according to UN Secretary General Banki Moon, made the transition from a post-conflict country to one of development, thus making it the best African candidate to host the 26th IPRA conference. Dr said when he announced this plan, including at the 25th IPRA conference in Istanbul, some of his IPRA colleagues were not sure, especially given the Ebola outbreak in 2014-2015; however, he said through hard work and support from his colleague co-secretary General Dr Nesrin Kenar, and members of the conference organising team, especially those in Sierra Leone led by Mrs Memunatu Pratt and Mrs Bernadette Cole, as well as support from local and international organisations, he was able to pull it through as planned.

 In her statement, Dr Shaw’s co-secretary general, Dr Nesrin Kenar emphasized why it is appropriate to hold that conference in Sierra Leone given the country’s recent history of conflict despite the challenges encountered. She said the conference theme was a very good follow up to the IPRA conference held in 2014 in her country Turkey which focused on the search for universal peace. She said organising this conference in Freetown and the one in Turkey in the past four years of their term has made IPRA to be more global which is important for the international credibility of the organisation.

 In his statement, the World Bank Sierra Leone Manager, Parmendrar Brar, expressed appreciation to IPRA for choosing Sierra Leone as the host of this important global peace conference. He said despite some challenges, including the recent civil war and Ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone has made progress as one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and sees this global peace conference as a boost of confidence in the country as destination for foreign investment and tourism. The Sierra Leone Police Band provided music during the opening ceremony, which was closed with a Cocktail Reception and light entertainment by the Sierra Leone National Dance Troupe supported by the University of Sierra Leone in partnership with World Bank Sierra Leone.

 During the conference IPRA announced Dr Guan Yi, a member of All-China Youth Federation and CEO of Shanxi Zhuoao Organisation and chairman of China Zhuoao Group and China Shandong Huidong Group as IPRA Peace Ambassador to China to promote its aims, objectives and programmes. In his statement at the Opening Ceremony, Dr Yi said: “Peaceful development for China and the world needs healthy and well-intentional interactions between China and other countries. And I am very glad and couldn’t resist but to restless again, that the 2016 IPRA conference indeed makes this effort in peace and development happening via bridging the network of communication among people from about over 100 countries.”

 For more on the opening ceremony visit this You Tube video: is also available on the IPRA web site

 In all, seven thematic plenary and about 40 commission breakout sessions presented by 20 IPRA commissions were held during mornings and afternoons of the remaining three and half days where over 300 peace researchers, peace practitioners and Human Rights activists from 82 several countries of the world representing all continents delivered their research papers. The World Bank Sierra Leone also organised a session on ‘Conflict, Security, and Governance’ with speakers including its Country Manager, Parmendrar Brar. Further, several training workshops, including one for local journalists on peace journalism, were also conducted while one sightseeing tour was organized.

 Financial assistance for the travel and accommodation grants for the Peace Researchers from various countries, particularly the Global South, was provided by IPRA Foundation, TIKKA, Shanxi Zhuoao Organization, African Peacebuilding Network and the British Academy. The 4 days long conference came to an end on the 1st of December followed by a special Sight-seeing of cultural and touristic sites, including the Peace Museum and the Sierra Leone Special Court

 Participants were asked to complete conference feedback forms. The feedback is being analysed and the final version of both documents, together with the public feedback, will be available soon on the IPRA website. However, the preliminary results of the feedback indicate that majority of the participants were very satisfied with the conference. Most of them said that the decision to hold the conference in Sierra Leone was absolutely timely and very appropriate. They said they found the people of Sierra Leone friendly, helpful and hospitable. To quote a participant “The conference was well promoted in the country, and locals were quite welcoming to the researchers. I appreciate the efforts to give us a sense of security as guests”. “Choosing a post conflict country as the venue helped contextualise peace matters” said another participant. Participants also said they were very satisfied with the quality of the presentations delivered during this conference and conference organisational arrangements.

 In an email message to outgoing IPRA Secretary General Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw, IPRA Foundation Treasurer, Rachel Trueblood had this to say: “Congratulations on what everyone agrees was a most wonderful conference! All our travel grantees have given me glowing reports of the conference. All of them feel it was extremely important for their careers and they all met many new people with whom they will stay in contact. Great work!”

 Nevertheless, few participants expressed dissatisfaction over the room arrangements for the commission sessions. One of them said, “it was a good experience. I enjoyed myself but most importantly I learnt a lot. There is room for improvement though, especially with room assignment, microphone facilities etc.” “Sierra Leone is perfect location for IPRA but time management and arrangement of commissions were rather disorganised” opined another participant.

 IPRA Institute formation announced

During the closing ceremony outgoing Secretary General presented a brief report, including a provisional financial statement, where he announced that he and his outgoing co-secretary general Dr Kenar are setting up an IPRA Institute as an autonomous body to support the work of IPRA .

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 September 2017 01:30


26th IPRA Conference in Sierra Leone Ends on a High Note

The International Peace Research Association (IPRA) successfully held its 26th General Conference on ‘Agenda for Peace and Development: Conflict Prevention, Post-Conflict Transformation, and the Conflict, Disaster Risk and Sustainable Development Debate’ in collaboration with the 10TH Dealing With Disasters Series, Northumbria University (UK)and Sakarya University (Turkey) and  the University of  Sierra Leone at the Bintumani Conference Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone from November 27 to 1st December 2016.


Business News


The Parliament of Sierra Leone on Monday 04th December 2017 debated and ratified two additional agreements aimed at improving and expanding Ports facilities in Sierra Leone to be at par with international best practices.

Presenting both Agreements prior to ratification, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Balogun Koroma said that the additional Agreements are geared towards addressing some of the concerns raised by MPs, in respect of expanding our Ports facilities to accommodate larger vessels, and the issuance of license with the view of combating money laundering, contra-band goods, and attracting more funds for Government.

Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, Minority Leader of the House, also supported the ratification of the two Agreements, saying if our Ports are not developed, we would not be able to attract huge vessels; thus the need for the continuous improvement of our Ports facilities.


Media News

Two veteran Journalists, now in the United States have paid a courtesy call on Sierra Leone's Ambassador

Two very respected and veteran Journalists who are in the United States of America for various reasons have called on Sierra Leone’s Amr. Bockari Kortu Stevens not only to appreciate the work of the Embassy, but also to pay courtesy as protocol demands.

Mr. Rod Mac-Johnson, former Lecturer Fourah Bay College, former Director of Information Ministry of Information and Communications, Former Director Sierra Leone News Agency (SLENA), Former Chairman Independent Media Commission (IMC) and stringer French News Agency  etc. is on vacation and Mr. Cyril Juxon Smith Director Information and Communications House of Parliament, former Acting Director General Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) and former UNESCO Media Consultant  is in the United States of America to attend the funeral of his father.

Speaking at the Ambassador’s residence on 4821 Colorado Avenue, Washington DC  Mr. Rod Mac-Johnson said “Thank  you Amr. Stevens for accommodating us in the middle of your tight schedule, and also to discuss with us in a homely spirit.



Reasons why Sierra Leoneans Must Think beyond Tribal and Regional Lines Before Casting their Ballots This Time

As the national or general elections loom in Sierra Leone and, as a true citizen, I solemnly pray and hope with all hopes that Sierra Leoneans of the voting age will consider carefully who they would vote for, come March 2018. The divisive and immature nature of politics as it exists in Sierra Leone has, to a greater extent, contributed to the country lagging behind nearly all other countries in terms of progressive development. My readers should be mindful of the fact that certain countries in Africa would rather develop retrogressively than progressively, a situation wherein governments embark on ego-boosting programs that aren’t beneficial to the average citizen.

A government which expends its energy for the benefit of the people is a progressive government and that is what Sierra Leoneans want at this time after being in the doldrums for ages. It is therefore absolutely necessary for fellow citizens to refrain from casting their valued votes in favor of candidates because of tribal or regional affiliations but on how genuine and capable that candidate is, otherwise stagnation in progress is bound to follow.


View Point

Youth Unemployment Is A Killer Virus In Sierra Leone

“I studied Sociology at NjalaUniversity and graduated in 2015 but still unemployed despite several interviews being attended. I am currently awaiting my MSc at Njala University which is to be awarded early next year,” said 29 year old MabintyKamara.

“I graduated in 2012 with Honours from the Department of Accounting, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. I have sent several job applications; the only long job I got was with the International Medical Corps during the deadly Ebola virus and since then no job. I was also a volunteer teacher but the Minister of Education, Science and Technology did not approve me and others after almost a year of voluntary service so I quit,” said 31 year old Mohamed LaminKanneh.

In Sierra Leone, despite the numerous promises made by President Ernest BaiKoroma to figuratively ‘lay his life for the youth,’ unemployment among youth is one of the highest with no end in sight to reduce the spate of this social menace. According to the United Nations Development Program, approximately 70% of youth are underemployed or unemployed and an estimated 800,000 youth today are actively searching for employment.


News - Press Release

Sierra Leone receives US$10 Million Supplemental Financing from World Bank as support to Landslide and Flooding

FREETOWN, December 13, 2017 —The World Bank Group has approved aSupplemental Financing (SF) in the amount of US$10 million to help the Government of Sierra Leone meet immediate needs associated with the landslide and flooding disaster that struck Freetown on August 14, 2017.The SF is a grant, provided as a supplemental budget support operation that will flow directly into the Government’s budget.

The funding, under the First Productivity and Transparency Support Credit (PTSC-I), will ensure that the reforms supported under thisoperation remain on track and are implemented without the risk of delays due to competing capacity or budgetary priorities arising from the post-disaster recovery. It will also help with the rebuilding of critical infrastructuredestroyed during the landslide and flooding.

Since the end of the Ebola epidemic, the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) has initiated substantive reforms to boost productivity, restore fiscal stability, and gradually rebuild buffers. The Government initiated substantive reforms, focusing on agriculture, fisheries and energy, supported by the First Productivity and Transparency Support Credit (PTSC-I), to boost productivity and start rebuilding the country's buffers.


Society -Local News

John Baimba Sesay: The Diplomat who Deserves Parliamentary Representation

John Baimba Sesay is a native of Kapethe Village, Safroko Limba Chiefdom, with chiefdom headquarter town of Binkolo, in Constituency 034, Bombali District. The Constituency covers Safroko Limba and Pakimasabong Chiefdoms in the same district.

Born in the early 1980’s, he holds Bachelor of Arts (BA) Mass Communication, with Hons, 2004-2008 from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. He also holds a post graduate Master of Arts (MA), Mass Communication (2009- June 2010) degree from the same university.

John Baimba is my colleague based in Beijing. Having worked for a number of daily newspapers, including, Independent Observer, For Di People and Awoko, he has a wealth of experience in journalism.



World Bank Group Boosts Financing for West African Power Pool Regional Power Transmission Project

FREETOWN, December13, 2017 —The World Bank Group on November 17, 2017 approved Additional Financing in the amount of US$59.57 million to West African Power Pool (WAPP) - Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea (CLSG) PowerInterconnection Project, which aims to increase electricity supply in the four participating countries.

The project will interconnect the four participating countries into the 225 kV (kilo volt) regional energy market in West Africa, and will also enable the connection to the WAPP of the planned hydropower plants in Bumbuna Extension, Yiben and Bekongor in Sierra Leone and Mount Coffee in Liberia and other future generation projects.

The Project will provide residents of Greater Monrovia Area in Liberia; Bo, Kenema and the Western Areas in Sierra Leone; and the Forest Region of Guinea, with improvements in power supplies in the short-term. It also pursues a regional infrastructure developmental approach that will provide over the medium- to long-term adequate electricity to the people of the four countries in a more efficient and cost effective way, boosting economic and social development.



It will not be Business as Usual…Bio assures Diaspora

He was passionate, confident and assuring as he addressed hundreds of Sierra Leoneans at the prestigious Royal Regency Hall in London on Saturday 9th December 2017 with a very simple message that as the next President it will not be business as usual. For a man who has a solid track record as a disciplinarian, Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio continues to attract many voters who feel the country needs a strong and disciplined leadership.

Cataloguing the current state of the country, Bio spoke about a divided country, the poor drowning in poverty, rich swimming in affluence, poor governance, battered economy, high public debt, third hungriest country, high inflation among others . He also reminded his audience that many of the things which necessitated the war such as bad governance, mismanagement of the economy, injustice have been the features of the current APC Government.

However, Bio's message was not just about the doom and gloom but also making a case why he is the right choice that the country needs. He spoke about his track record, experience and how he has always put his country first. "Some have come with slogan, country first, but I served my country first at a very tender age. I did not go around the world to work and come back old to say country first. When I was young I gave my life to our country," a passionate Bio said.

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