Jimma University has organized a public lecture on “Securing Ethiopia’s Future: Pathways to a sustained post-conflict peace “. The renowned professor of International Security, and widely published scholar on conflict, national security and security governance, Prof. Ann Fitz-Gerald, delivered the public lecture.
The session began with a welcoming address of Dr Kenenisa Lemi, V/P for Administration and Students’ Affairs who welcomed the guest of honor, the speaker and the participants on behalf of Jimma University president Dr Jemal Abafita.
H.E Ambassador Dina Mufti, member of FDRE House of People’s Representative delivered a keynote address at the occasion. In his address Ambassador Dina reiterated the importance organizing such a scholarly forum to share views and chart possible pathways towards a sustained peace in the country.
In her lecture, Prof. Ann addressed grand issues pertinent to the geopolitical interest and stability in the Horn of Africa, the nature of current conflict in Ethiopia and the skewed international media discourses about the conflict. She reiterated that the one-sided and often less evidenced media narratives have been used as an instrument of insurgency to fuel the conflict in Ethiopia. Prof. Ann reflected that the misinformation, disinformation and a deliberate propaganda campaigns have been used dangerously to portray the nature of the conflict in Ethiopia.
Prof. Ann explained, the insurgence did not succeed despite the support of external forces, mainly because of the relatively unified population of Ethiopia, and the strong support of Ethiopian diaspora.
On peace negotiations, she emphasized on how external players will not help much, rather delay the process. And why African Union (AU) led negotiation between the Government of Ethiopia and TPLF is appropriate, AU should be able to resolve internal conflicts and manage to bring peace to Africa.
Among the possible pathways to a sustained peace in Ethiopia addressed by Prof. Ann include a call for Ethiopians at home and abroad to look at the big picture and stay firm and united, a push for constitutional and security sector reform and the need to have implementable strategies with clear milestones.
Towards the conclusion of the public lecture session, Prof. Ann was awarded JU’s Presidential award. The highest honors bestowed by JU president in recognition of outstanding national and international professional contribution. In presenting this award, Dr Netsanet Workneh, V/P for Research and Community Service, reflected that Prof Ann Fitz-Gerald, deserves the award for her contribution in science diplomacy, and solidarity to the people of Ethiopia through defending against the unwarranted pressure in times of difficulty by presenting scholarly and evidence based arguments and analysis. Beyond the bestowal of the presidential award, Dr. Netsanet also announced that Prof. Ann has become an honorary staff of Jimma University, College of Law and Governance, and will support the MA program in Peace and Conflict Studies.