Rongo University’s Center of Media, Democracy, Peace and Security is spearheading youth anti-radicalization through a joint post-doctoral visiting research fellowship together with the Center for the Advancement of Scholarship, University of Pretoria in honor of the late Salah Farah. This fellowship will target recent Ph.D graduates, upcoming and senior researchers to conduct up to three months of research in the area of youth radicalization and terrorism and the role of the scholarly, media and creative works of literature therein. It will also lay emphasis on the historical trajectories of terror in Africa and the role of the nation-state. The findings of the fellowship, which will be a book manuscript, chapter, journal publication or policy paper will be integrated into grassroots peace-building practice through the Campus Peace Ambassadors Program /Campus Peace Club and Community Radio Broadcast for Peace Program run by students in the Department of Communication, Journalism and Media . The campus Peace Ambassadors Program/Club will focus on outreach programs on youth deradicalization and ethnicity in the University and the surrounding community to foster peace building in partnership with community youth and women groups.
In December 2015, a bus bound for the small town of Mandera, Kenya was ambushed by al-Shabab militants. When told by the militants to separate themselves from the bus’s Christian passengers, the Muslims passengers refused, with several demanding the militants kill them all or leave. Salah Farah, a Muslim school teacher who resisted the militants on the bus, succumbed to bullet injuries he sustained during the incident and became the face of heroic resistance to terrorism. The case of Salah Farah was widely covered by the international media, perhaps one of the few instances where individual actions against terrorism have been prominently featured in the media.
Typically, the conventional international media has functioned as an accomplice to global terrorism by sensationalizing terror events from Nairobi to Abuja and New York to Paris. Thus, small efforts like Muslims shielding Christian passengers from al-Shabaab is a blow to radicalism in Africa and warrants public appraisal and media attention. This is necessary because the greatest counter to extremist ideology is counter-ideology. This fellowship explores the salience of understanding what motivates terrorism and radicalism to underscore the role of the media in deradicalization. Salah Farah was honored by president Uhuru Kenyatta in his state of the nation address with The Order of the Grand Warrior of Kenya.
How to Become a Salah Farah Visiting Pastoral Fellow: Prospective fellows will be required to write a request for appointment letter stating their research interest and focus, and how their research agenda will contribute to the spirit of media and peace building in the context of radicalization and terrorism. The fellows’ research agenda should dovetail with the vision and mission of Rongo University Center for Media, Democracy, Peace and Security. The request for appointment letter must be accompanied by a detailed curriculum vitae.
The application will be reviewed by a panel of experts in the Center and approved by the University Senate chaired by the vice-chancellor. Successful applicants will be issued with an appointment letter to conduct up to six months of research at the Center. The fellow will be expected to do a seminar in the center and a public lecture on the role of media, literature and creative works in enhancing democracy, peace and security in Africa and to publish research findings in a peer review journal.
Note that this research fellowship does not involve salary. Applicants are encouraged to obtain alternative funding from their home institutions or external funding to support their research at the center. However, the Center will provide financial support for travel, accommodation and stipend for fellows depending on available funding from partners supporting the program and in addition, the University will provide in-kind support to fellows which include; office space, accommodation and transport from the airport to the center, when commencing the fellowship, and back when fellows complete their visit for those fellows visiting with their own resources.