WORD FROM THE CHAIRMAN, Organizing committee INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON PEACE, SECURITY AND SOCIAL ENTERPRISE AT SAFARI PARK HOTEL, 16 -19TH MAY 2017

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Mount Kenya University, in tandem with its Vision, Mission and 2015 – 2019 Strategic Plan is organizing an International Conference under the theme of ‘Peace for Sustainable Development’. This is a valuable community social responsibility as well as an academic event coming in a series of similar topical undertakings by the university in the last six years as follows:

1) 2013 – MKU hosted a conference at Safari Park Hotel on Innovation and Research which was graced by the then Minister for Education, Prof. Richard Kaimenyi as the chief guest.
2) 2014 – MKU hosted a Water Summit in Lodwar in partnership with UNESCO which was graced by the former President of the republic of Kenya who is the UN Water Ambassador.
3) 2015 – MKU hosted an International conference at KICC on Entrepreneurship which was graced by Dr. Manu Chandaria.
4) 2017 – MKU will be hosting an International Conference on Peace and Social Enterprise.
So far, the university has been at the forefront of transforming the region through education by advocating for development and training of relevant capacities towards the realization of the national transformative agenda, embedded in the Kenya Vision 2030 as well as the global targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is also informed by the fact that, there is a strong unwritten international consensus on the need to discuss peace and security in Kenya today in the wake of the unprecedented radicalization as well as the prevailing fear on election-related violence. This scenario is not unique to Kenya but it is a common challenge all over Africa.
As aforementioned, the conference will be taking place just a few months to the general elections in Kenya and therefore its significance to this nation cannot be overemphasized. In that regard, your participation shall contribute useful insights towards the peace agenda through this important forum which shall bring together various stakeholders.

EXPECTED CONFERENCE OUTCOMES
1. Informed contribution in policy guidelines with a focus on peace, security for sustainable development;
2. The establishment of a consortium on peace and security geared towards sharing best practices on enhancing sustainable peace in Africa;
3. The launch of a journal on peace, security and social enterprise;
4. The provision of an annual conference platform where all like-minded persons will converge to network and exchange experiences as well as ideas on peace, security and social enterprise for sustainable development in a globalised world.
As a global academic institution, Mount Kenya University has without doubt initiated yet another first by organizing a forthcoming International Conference on Peace, Security and Social Enterprise coming just before the general elections which have previously been marred with violence and destruction of our hard earned resources both at the individual, communal and national levels.
As an institution of higher learning, we feel indebted to contribute to the greater good of our society by promoting a culture of peace through the spirit of shared responsibility.
In this regard, we will be bringing divergent stakeholders ranging from the academia, private sector, civil society and governments (both local and international) to share a platform and dialogue on pertinent social issues that continue to affect our people. A good example in this case is the current violence in Baringo and the stalemate between ranchers and pastoralists in Laikipia. You may have noticed that majority of these conflicts have a genesis on access to resources. Does this mean that we do not have adequate resources in Africa? In an attempt to answer this question, I will take you back to our conference’s theme: ‘Peace, Security and Social Enterprise for Sustainable development ’. This theme was informed by the need to interrogate how as a country we can initiate and promote social enterprises particularly among our youth as a means of earning a livelihood and being self reliant. I must hasten to say that MKU has already identified this gap and through its Graduate
Enterprise Academy (GEA), is mentoring young graduates by offering them practical and innovative entrepreneurial skills to enhance their employability.
This is one of the best methods of empowering our youth who more often than not have been misled into joining illegal gangs and radical groups due to frustrations of being jobless. Needless to say, there is always a direct relationship between poverty and violence.
Having said that, and with a clear realization that peace is a challenge of the 21st century, this conference is not an end in itself but only beginning of our long term commitment to peace. We therefore expect to launch a peace consortium which will be a platform where think tanks can share ideas and best practices on peace and security.
In addition, we hope to contribute in policy guidelines on peace and security matters through the presentation of academic papers.
Lastly and most importantly, we hope to gradually transform societies into peaceful institutions and promote social economic development.

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