Poised to inject a different narrative into issues of governance, human rights, and development in this part of the world and beyond, AUN on May 16, 2019, launched a Center to drive the initiative.
The Center for Governance, Human Rights & Development (CGHRD), according to Vice President Abba Tahir at the kickoff launch, “is not going to be owned by any School. It will be an institutional center owned by AUN. This is an era of convergence and confluence of knowledge.”
He went on to explain the structure of the center. “It will have an Advisory Board chaired by the Provost, and Vice-Chair is Dean Paddy Fay of SAS, who will serve for a renewable tenure of two academic years.”
CGHRD will be headed by a Director, Bill Hansen, an Assistant Professor in the Politics & International Studies. Hansen is assisted by a co-Director, Dr. Jennifer Mike of the School of Law, also with a two-year tenure.
Dean Fay said the Center is the brainchild of Hansen. “I commend him for his initiative and his perseverance in pushing the idea.”
He went on to say that the aim of the Center is to position AUN as the center of excellence in research in Nigeria.
He said there are already three doctoral students coming from Australia, Edinburgh, and Cameroon--all of whom are doing research on Boko Haram.
“They are part of the Research Associate project. By getting international people to come here to do research we are also spreading our reputation.”
Prof. Hansen said there is a long history to the founding of the Center. “I’m really happy that this is happening. I must credit Provost Kah for making it happen. In many ways, it predates the University itself. The idea came about in September 2001 in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.”
Provost Kah said it is a very important development not only for AUN but also for the host community as well.
“It is an idea that has been brewing for a long time and it is not one person’s idea. It is a collective idea.”
He told the faculty members to see themselves as part of the development. “The name of the Center has gone through several iterations and internal debate to ensure that it is encompassing on the many diverse interests. Everything we do in this university can find its home in these different knowledge areas."
The Provost observed that as the university has graduate programs, it is natural that they continue the drive to ensure there are hubs of research within the university. “No university achieves excellence without research. Teaching is very important, it is central to what we do but to move into the continuum of greatness as a university, the research must take root and must be continuous. This will provide a home for many of us to ensure that we are not only an excellent teaching institution but also an excellent research institution.”
While the Center maintains high aspirations, Prof. Kah plans to ensure that the Center is self-sustaining through sourcing for research grants among others.
“When we have this center we may be able to run summer camps and summer activities of intellectual nature around the thematic areas that are anchored in the center to generate revenue to sustain the Center.”
He said AUN is fortunate to have highly reputable and competent faculty.
“When we challenge our intellectual competencies and capacities, this Center will in no time be a focal point of excellence and a reference place where the majority of universities and scholars may want to connect to. There is no reason why that cannot be because we have the talent base here.”
There will be a publication that will come out of the Center. It could be journals, magazines, and briefing notes. “The nature and type of publication will be a matter for the Advisory Board to discuss, decide, and vet.
He added that there will also be opportunities for students.
Reported by Omorogbe Omorogiuwa