Vice President Joseph Boakai has told a delegation of “peace agents,” from across Liberia and other nations that peace can be achieved by what one does or says.
Vice President Boakai who made the assertion yesterdayformally declared open a national stakeholders workshop on peace, security and justice in West Africa. The two-day workshop involves traditional leaders, including town chiefs.
The stakeholders’ seminar, which ends today, is the first of a four-day workshop. The last session, which is the International Stakeholders Workshop, is expected, to begin on Thursday, July 2, and ends Friday, July 3rd.
VP Boakai told the audience that the workshop and its “attendant intellectual frameworks, all make a useful tool.”
“But we cannot consider this as an end in itself;” and appealed to the participants that long after the close of the workshop, “all stakeholders will continue to make additional impactful efforts in promoting peace, security and justice in communities, institutions and organizations.”
Organizers’ concept note states that the contributions of chiefs and other social groups or systems to peace, security and justice, sometime receive little attention and is poorly understood, particularly in international circles and this can have important effects.
They added: “To contribute to greater understanding and discussion of these questions, the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra, Ghana, along with the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, have set out to investigate the nature and scope of the interaction of state, non-state and international
providers of peace, security and justice in more detail.”
The aim of the national stakeholders’ workshop is for participants to consider their own and each other’s contributions to peace, security and justice, to explore the nature of their engagements with each other, and to discuss what potential there might be for better engagement.
The stakeholders’ gathering, which is being held under the theme, “Understanding and Working with Local Sources of Peace, Security and Justice in West Africa,” is being sponsored by the Australian Government, through KAIPTC in collaboration with the University of Queensland.
Earlier, Deputy Internal Affairs Minister Stephen Neufville stated that the workshop forms part of a two-year project for national actors in the provision of peace, security and justice. “It is very timely and important because the people of Liberia and the region at large are going through times in which the contributions of all stakeholders and their strong collaboration to provide and promote peace, security and justice are strongly needed,” he added.
For his part, Major General Obed B. Akwa, Commandant of KAIPTC, said the idea of holding the conference is to research into the role of traditional leaders in peace and security.
According to him, the role of traditional institutions in peace and security situations can not be overemphasized. He added “Because there are some areas within our country that you can’t find the regular soldier, police or state security agency operating yet there is peace and tranquillity. The reason is that we have traditional security institutions, which are able to bring about this peace and security through their usual normal practices.”