31 October 2006 The University of Liberia, a country which the United Nations helped to lead from civil war to democratic elections in little over two years, has inaugurated the Kofi Annan Institute for Conflict Transformation (KAICT) to develop human resource capacity for policy studies in conflict, peace, security, gender and development.
“Not so many years ago Liberia was spoken of as the epicentre of instability in the region,” UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Officer-in-Charge Luiz Carlos da Costa said at the ceremony in Monrovia, the capital. “It is now time to reverse that label and for Liberia to demonstrate, by example, that it can be the regional centre of stability and development.”
KAICT, established in honour of the Secretary-General’s valuable contributions to conflict resolution and transformation in Africa, particularly in Liberia, can serve as an important centre of learning for the entire West Africa sub-region and beyond, he added.
It will fulfil the essential and vital role of educating and teaching, which can restore the soul of the country. “Only through the in-depth study of the root causes of past problems, the reaching of understanding in inter-group relations and the commitment of an educated corps of persons can nations be built,” Mr. da Costa declared.
Kings College, London, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra, Ghana, are amongst organizations already contributing resources and personnel for the establishment of KAICT. When fully established, it will award Master of Arts degrees in Conflict Transformation.
Performing the inauguration ceremony, Vice President Joseph Boakai said the launch was a practical manifestation of Liberia’s desire for long-lasting peace.
“We should learn to beat our swords into ploughshares. We are all aware that conflict is a human phenomenon that brings out contradictions and these contradictions can be transformed into meaningful and positive initiatives that benefit humanity,” he added.