Developing postgraduate studies in peacebuilding – in the DRC

The main aim of the workshop was for each of the six participating universities to develop a draft strategic plan to introduce postgraduate studies in peacebuilding. Subsidiary aims included promoting the use of participatory action research and building relationships between universities in the Great Lakes region.

The workshop was led by Professor Geoff Harris and Dr Chrys Kiyala from ICON, assisted by Dr Joseph Rukema from Sub-Saharan Africa University, Goma. There were 22 participants, 18 from five Congolese universities, two from a university in Burundi and two student observers from the Sub-Saharan University of Africa. One participant  – Theodore Mbazumutima – is a recent PhD graduate in Peacebuilding from DUT and another – Josephine Mauwa Kimanu – is a current PhD student with DUT.

Several aspects of the workshop are worth noting:

  • We used a participatory and experiential learning approach. Some lectures were necessary but the best learning, we feel, took place in small groups as participants wrestled with the issues and came up with promising insights.
  • We did not prescribe how peacebuilding programmes should be organised. This can happen in a number of ways and we were aware that many factors will influence the choices which any university will make.
  • We encouraged  the use of participatory action research, an approach with which ICON has particular expertise, and helped participants to develop draft plans of how they might set up their own peace programme and the shape these might take.

We were delighted that on the last day the Rector of La Sapientia Université Catholique, who had attended much of the workshop, committed his university to coordinate future cooperation between the five universities and with DUT. It is very likely that three of the participants will commence PhD studies with ICON in 2020. Overall, we are confident that the workshop will act as a springboard for efforts to develop a culture of peace in the region.

The workshop was funded by a grant from the NRF’s KIC Africa Interaction programme and enjoyed generous hospitality from La Sapientia Université Catholique.

Postgraduate studies in Peacebuilding, 2020

For the past six years, the Peacebuilding Programme within ICON has accepted a large number of new PhD (and some master’s students) each year. This is no longer possible but we may accept a handful of new students in 2020.

The following selection criteria will apply. Please do not apply if you do not meet these:

  • A very strong record in your previous university studies. This means a minimum of a 70% average in your BTech/Honours/PGDip (if applying for entry to a master’s degree) or master’s degree (if applying for entry to a PhD)
  • A willingness to undertake action research on one of the following topics (if you are not sure what action research is, see
    • Tackling gender based violence on university campuses
    • Restorative justice programmes with prisoners/ex-prisoners and their families
    • Training young men in responsible, loving and nonviolent fathering
  • Able to study full-time i.e. if employed, then for less than 12 hours per week
  • Able to spend the first semester, at least, on campus.

Note that full-time students are not required to pay tuition fees and may be eligible for a DUT scholarship. On scholarships, contact

Closing date for applications: July 31, 2019

Enquiries: Professor Geoff Harris tel +2731 373 5609 or Dr Sylvia Kaye tel +2731 373 6860

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