Major strategic change for ICON

ICON is to sharpen its focus and grow considerably in size and influence, as a result of decisions made by the Board of ICON.  The key change is that the Board has accepted a proposal from the Vice-Chancellor of Durban University of Technology (DUT) for the establishment of ICON as a centre of the University.

This will make the International Centre of Nonviolence the only such centre at a South African university, and will make Durban the focal point of South African organisations for peace and nonviolence.

The existing work of ICON will continue, but it will expand into undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, which will be closely linked to its work in community engagement and action research.  What has strengthened the process is that the Postgraduate Programme in Peacebuilding at DUT is to be included within ICON.  This Programme, headed by the internationally known Professor Geoff Harris, has a large doctoral and masters grouping.

ICON will be a centre, not based in any faculty, and where necessary students will be registered with one or other faculty.

The proposal has these aspects:

1 The Board will change; it will become an Advisory Board with representatives of key partners in the area of peace, specifically ACCORD, Gandhi Development Trust, the Denis Hurley Centre, World Conference of Religions for Peace and the Durban Leadership Initiative.

2 The work of the Durban Leadership Initiative, which includes a nonformal course for students at DUT, will come under ICON.  At present ICON is developing a further nonformal programme for another tertiary institution, also focused on student leadership.

3 The Peacebuilding programme will be part of the new ICON.

4 ICON’s existing work in general education at DUT will be recognised formally, with ICON involved in teaching on three modules: the Cornerstone module, which will become compulsory for all incoming students, Leadership, and Violence and Nonviolence.

5 We envisage some new areas of growth: first is a Peace Forum, to which all the diverse organisations in the Durban area will be invited.  The aim is to facilitate collaboration amongst these groupings, and to link them where possible to research initiatives or collaborative projects.

6 Another growth area we hope to achieve is in Peace Education within the DUT School of Education.

7 A programme of income-generating courses is possible, through collaboration with such organisations as ACCORD.

The status of the proposal is that it has been approved by the ICON Board and will be submitted to the Senate of DUT for its approval.