On 30 November 2016, the Rift Valley Forum hosted a forum with the Embassy of Ireland in Kenya on regional conflict dynamics in the Horn of Africa and East Africa. Guests included Ireland’s Minister for Diaspora and Overseas Development, Joe McHugh, Ireland Member of Parliament, Maureen O’Sullivan, and the Director General of Irish Aid, Michael Gaffey. 

The meeting discussed pressing security and humanitarian crises in South Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, the role of regional bodies—such as the African Union, IGAD and the East African Community—in mitigating and preventing conflict, and international humanitarian and peacekeeping operations. The forum also reviewed lessons from local conflict resolution and peace building work related to inter-ethnic and cross-border violence, which could inform conflict prevention strategies ahead of the 2017 elections in Kenya.

Left to right: Dr. Vincent O’Neill and Joe McHugh

Speakers included Joe McHugh (Ireland), Vincent O’Neill (Ireland Ambassador to Kenya), Rashid Abdi, Cassie Copeland, Abdul Khalif, Abdullah Abdulle (International Crisis Group), Abdi Rashid (Concern World Wide), Simon Addison (Trocaire), Olga Mutoro (PeaceNet), Father Patrick Divine, Professor Wanakayi Omoka and Sheena McMullen (Shalom Centre for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation), Roger Middleton (Conflict Dynamics International), and Mark Bradbury (Rift Valley Institute).