IPSTI needs to expand intake of African students, say African Military Officers
Addis Ababa, September 30, 2023 (FBC) – The International Peace Support Training Institute (IPSTI) has been providing quality education to African military officers and the institute needs to increase the intake of officers from African countries to draw experience from Ethiopian peacekeeping operations, Ugandan, South Sudanese and Kenyan military officers said.
Members of the national army of South Sudan, Uganda and Kenya have successfully completed their two-year long studies at IPSTI and graduated with Master of Arts degree in Peace and Security Management last week.
The IPSTI, which earlier was known as Ethiopia Peace Support Training Center, has been providing education and trainings to both Ethiopian and African military officers and civilians for many years for effective peacekeeping missions in the sub-region and the continent at large.
IPSTI has contributed a lot to enhance the capacity of the East Africa Standby Force (EASF) and other organizations working on peace and security issue, by drawing trainees from across the region.
Lieutenant Colonel Watasa David, a Ugandan chief instructor, who was awarded gold medal for his outstanding achievement lauded the quality education he received during his studies and promised to impart his knowledge and experience to his fellow Ugandans and Africans as his country is also actively participating in a peacekeeping operation.
“I will use my knowledge to also try to impart it to my fellow people back home and as our country is participating in the peacekeeping operations,” Lieutenant Colonel David said,
He added “We are living at a time where peace is becoming a scarce commodity and getting this knowledge from this institute has been a wonderful experience, not only for me but also for my country.”
Noting that pursuing studies at the institute is fortunate for African officers, he said: “Ethiopia is also like home. When the training started, it was during COVID-19 pandemic. So there were a lot of restrictions, but we never missed home. Ethiopia was like a home.”
I had wonderful experience with Ethiopian officers in the classroom, he said, adding my first exposure with Ethiopian officers had been during peacekeeping operations in Somalia and noted that Ethiopia has contributed a lot of peacekeeping operations especially for African countries.
“Now this was my first time experience with the Ethiopian academia, and our class got students who had been in Abyei peacekeeping. So we use it to share a lot of experience especially from Ethiopian perspective. And Ethiopia has had a rich history, especially in peacekeeping. And I was so happy with the inclusion of female officers from Ethiopia. During the class discussions, they were always telling us the gender perspective of every debate. So it was very interesting for our region,” he explained.
The courses are relevant and other African countries need to draw and benefit from Ethiopian experience, “Ethiopia has been able to do it and what we can learn from,” the Lieutenant Colonel said.
According to him, the study tours organized for them to African Union, his visit of the Unity Park and Adama Hot water were all good learning experience.
Brigadier General Jok Angok Deng, a South Sudanese was among the military officers graduated with Master of Arts degree in Peace and Security Management.
Brigadier General Deng is a military attaché at the South Sudan’s Embassy in Addis Ababa.
He expressed his hope that the number of students admitted to the institute from South Sudan and other African countries will increase in the future, so will their experience and skills be expanded by acquiring best knowledge and skills to apply in Africa and in global peacekeeping operations.
“I hope next time the number of South Sudanese students will be more than one,” he said.
Ethiopia has extended support to South Sudan in human resource capacity building efforts for many years, Brigadier General Deng said, adding “South Sudan is a newborn nation that needs human resource development and Ethiopia has been instrumental in providing trainings to so many students, whether civilians or member of the army.”
I had also graduated from the same institute with masters degree in 2017 in military operation and leadership and now with another masters degree in Peace and Conflict Management, he said.
“Many South Sudanese also graduated from Ethiopia with different certificates. This is human resource development for South Sudan, which is a new nation, and they will contribute like Ethiopia in peacekeeping operation in other parts of Africa.” he added.
Although South Sudan has lack of trained force for peacekeeping operations, it started participation in peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) under the East African Force, he said.
Ethiopian peacekeeping contingent did an excellent job in Abyei, he recalled, adding that they were fair enough to protect those who were vulnerable people in the area.
Ethiopia’s peacekeeping track record is quite impressive and it needs to be emulated by South Sudan, he said.
Similarly, Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Yego, who is from Kenya graduated from IPSTI.
The courses he took were very important, especially to the Horn of Africa, where we are experiencing conflict and they will help us to understand the resolution of the conflict, Lieutenant Colonel Yego said.
Ethiopia and Kenya have been cooperating in capacity building efforts in many ways, including exchange program and training for military personnel, he noted.
The lieutenant colonel commended the quality of education and experience acquired during his studies.
“The instructors are very excellent and they provide everything. The quality of education here is very nice. And I also advise my colleagues(Kenyans) to pursue for the same course if given the opportunity,” he said.
He thanked both his country for granting him this opportunity and the Ethiopian government, ENDF and this institute for the support provided to him, per ENA.