Thursday, August 30, 2012

Job opening: PROGRAM MANAGER, Interfaith Dialogue Program

Location:  Nigeria
Start Date:  September 2012
Salary:  USD $40,000-60,000, based on experience

UMass Boston’s Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development ( and Public Conversations Project (PCP: are pleased to announce a major initiative to support the conflict resolution work of the Interfaith Mediation Centre (IMC) of Kaduna, Nigeria (see  We seek a Program Manager to assist IMC in coordinating the day-to-day operations of UMass Boston and PCP under the supervision of IMC leadership, and to support IMC operations if requested.  The Program Manager will be responsible for delivering services, consulting with staff and serving as primary liaison between IMC and PCP/UMass.  The role of the Program Manager is to ensure coherence among the international partners and the sustainability of their support efforts, and to help UMass better understand the daily working and needs of IMC.  The Program Manager will be responsible for assisting the PCP Project Director with delivering training in Reflective Structured Dialogue while he is in country, and will continue to monitor and support PCP dialogue initiatives when the PCP Project Director is not in Nigeria.  The Program Manager will also work with the UMASS Principal Investigator to oversee UMass Graduate Student teams while they are in Nigeria, including the gathering of monitoring and evaluation data.  Lastly, the Program Manager will also work with UMass and PCP in the development of as early warning system, and assist in developing the network in the field.

Consequently, the ideal candidate will have several years experience in Reflective Structured Dialogue and other conflict resolution methods, interfaith peacebuilding work, project management skills, and have lived in Africa.  Candidates with strengths in several of these areas are encouraged to apply, but conflict resolution experience is required, preferably with a Masters degree or higher in a relevant discipline.

Interested candidates please email your CV to both Prof. Darren Kew ([email protected]) and Dave Joseph ([email protected]) as soon as possible.  Further information about the project can also be provided on request.


Monday, August 27, 2012

The Soapstone sculptures of Esie

Nigeria's oldest museum is at Esie in Kwara State (midway between Osogbo and Ilorin).  The museum contains over 800 soapstone statues, and has a brand new extension with examples of sculpture and masks from across Nigeria.  It is well worth the detour to get to the museum.  Scholarly research suggests that the figures were made by the Nupe after they sacked Oyo.  The figures are therefore dated between the 11th and the 15th centuries.  Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take photos in the museum and there are no postcards or books available to buy there, so I had to take the picture below with my phone (hence the poor quality).  It is a real pity that photography is not allowed. It keeps the museum as one of Nigeria's best kept secrets, when it should be thronging with school children finding out about the wonders of their cultural heritage.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Prose poem for Eid Mubarak

In the local park, hundreds are out in their finery. Young men wear snazzy Bez-specs; little girls are startled in their wedding cake frocks, while older girls and women wrap translucent shawls over dresses in the northern style.  

The pony handlers are doing brisk business, two-up per under-nourished horse.  The grass smokers loiter contentedly in their usual spot, puffing out sweet herbal clouds.  The photographers’ patch is thronged, a little photo printer rolling out future nostalgia inside the scrum.

The tensions of the last few days: no fuel, insecurity and the Mpape demolitions, seem to float off, at least for the while.

And then, the firmament opens.  Damina rain gushes down with pent-up fury.  People race for cover under the trees, cram beneath sparse umbrellas and sardine their way inside the keke napep.   

All scamper except for one or two rollerbladers, who sense that a stage is theirs.  One has lights on his blades that sparkle to his rhythm; another twists and turns in arabesques of rain-soaked delight.

All of life waits for the downpour to stop.  And I trudge home, drenched to my bones.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Doreen Baingana @ TEDxNairobi

Please leave a comment on the YouTube page and help get Doreen voted onto TED2013.


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