The Kingdom of Swaziland officially launched an ACSS community chapter on 23 July in Mbabane, Swaziland. This is the 28th ACSS community chapter to be established in Africa and ACSS is honored that so many community members have come together to create chapters, which are mechanisms for continuing dialogue and networking on the continent. Senior government officials and members of U.S. Embassy in Swaziland attended the ceremony and the symposium that followed.
In his opening remarks, Earl M. Irving, the U.S. Ambassador to Swaziland pointed out that the new chapter was a demonstration of commitment to security cooperation between the U.S. and the Kingdom of Swaziland, and congratulated ACSS alumni for taking this initiative. Senator Edgar Hillary represented the chapter during the launch ceremony and welcomed the Swaziland chapter members, guests and ACSS delegation, praised the high quality of ACSS programs and the Africa Center’s ability to blend civil and military leaders “in one pot.”
The chapter launch was also an important component of the first Topical Outreach Symposium held in Swaziland. The symposium was an opportunity to discuss ideas on Transnational Threats in the Sub-region as well as Gender, Security and Development. Dr. Benjamin Nickels, ACSS Assistant Professor for Transnational Threats and Counter-Terrorism, presented on trafficking issues in Southern Africa and Swaziland, which included money laundering as well as human and drug trafficking. The presentation led to a discussion of the issue of smuggling medications, especially counterfeits antiretroviral drugs.
Dr Monde Muyangwa, ACSS Dean of Academic Affairs and Faculty, offered a lecture that examined the nexus between security, development and gender. The dean stressed that issues related to gender are not just about women; rather the connection between gender, development and security is a critical dynamic within the concept of human security. Though the topic is clearly complex and can be sensitive, the dialogue was very honest and open. The general perception was that some progress has been made, even though more still can be done.
In the future, the Swaziland chapter hopes to collaborate with other chapters in the region on some of the security issues discussed in the symposium.
ACSS congratulates the Kingdom of Swaziland Community Chapter for their commitment and dedication to continuing the dialogue regarding peace and security in Africa and looks forward to working with the chapter in the future.