The APN held a Media Experts Consultative Meeting on “Model Curriculum for Conflict-Sensitive Journalism in Africa,” in Accra, Ghana in collaboration with the University of Ghana from June 19th-20th, 2019. We had the opportunity to sit down with APN alumnus (IRG 2013) Admire Mare and ask him a few questions. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
African Peacebuilding Network: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what motivated you to co-organize this meeting of media experts.
Dr. Admire Mare: My name is Admire Mare and I am a senior lecturer in the Department of Communication at Namibia University of Science and Technology. The motive behind this meeting of media experts comes from the realization that there is a gap in terms of the courses that are currently being taught in African universities and journalism training schools. Even our newsrooms have limited capacity in terms of understanding the theory and practice of conflict-sensitive journalism in Africa. Also, I have observed from some of the other workshops that I’ve attended, that there hasn’t been much emphasis on media and conflict reporting in Africa. To address this gap, we thought that convening a meeting of experts either from civil society, academia, and media organizations would enable participants to discuss how to address some of the systematic challenges facing the training of journalists and design a module/curriculum to address these.
I noticed that you managed to bring together a sizeable number of APN alumni who are media experts. Can you relate this to the impact the program is having on peacebuilding in Africa?
Thank you. I think it is very important to understand that the APN has managed to support and bring a diverse range of academics working on similar issues to the same platform. This workshop has brought together scholars, media practitioners, and security analysts who are working with media and conflict, peacebuilding, and related disciplines. This multidisciplinary approach is very productive in putting together a module on conflict-sensitive reporting for training journalists and will also serve as a basis for developing a curriculum in the future. All this is possible, because the APN has supported both its former grantees and this important initiative for positively impacting the practice of journalism on the continent. This is certainly the start of a much bigger initiative aimed at mobilizing journalists but also allowing academics to impact on the ways in which conflicts and peacebuilding initiatives are mediated on the continent.
What advice would you give people who are applying/are interested in applying for an APN grant, and the impact it can potentially have on their careers?
The APN grant enables you to do what I would call “action research,” research that can change people’s lives and positively impact an area of study, or society at large. I think it is important for people to take the opportunity to apply for the Individual Research Grant. I strongly encourage people applying for the award to be creative in coming up with innovative research topics. They should also pay attention to choosing topics that can tangibly help communities in Africa. I’m a firm believer in the power of action and policy-oriented research that connects the researcher and the researched in mutually beneficial ways. I also want to conclude by saying that even though more scholars are taking their seats at the table, we need to continuously encourage young and upcoming scholars take advantage of opportunities being readily made available by programs like the APN of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC).
Dr. Admire Mare is an African Peacebuilding Network 2013 grant recipient. He is a senior lecturer in the Department of Communication at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). Dr. Mare has published several journal articles and book chapters and is the recipient of several other grants awarded by IDRC (Canada), CODESRIA (Senegal), and OSSREA (Ethiopia). His research interests include war and peace journalism, media and social movements, social media and political action, youth and political participation, emerging media business models in the global south, media and democracy, and platform economies and born-digital start-ups. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.