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Washington, D.C.—On March 4, 2013, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) launched the 2013 Next Generation of African Security Sector Leaders Course, a three-week program for mid-career African security sector officials that focuses on professionalism, ethics, and leadership, with a key first-day speaker emphasizing integrity.
This program aims to provide the next generation of African security sector leaders with practical and effective tools upon which they can draw to contribute to their nations’ security and development. Participants include 41 mid-level African security officers, mostly majors and lieutenants-colonel, from 36 countries across Africa with significant command experience or staff responsibilities, as well as recognized leadership potential.
The program will focus on enhancing professionalism, ethics and leadership in the security sector, said Dr. Matt Houngnikpo, Academic Chair of Civil-Military Relations at the Africa Center.
“The evidence on the continent suggests that democratic governance is not sustainable until the security sector is democratized and under civilian control in Africa,” he said. “In the current atmosphere of lingering unhealthy civil-military relations in Africa, the Next Generation of African Security Sector Leaders is a program that seeks to enhance the professionalism of uniformed personnel whose primary mission is to provide security to their fellow citizens instead of constituting the very source of their insecurity.”
The program will examine Africa’s contemporary and emerging security threats and explore best ways to enhance relationships between civilians and the security sector in order to advance good governance and democracy on the continent. Knowledgeable speakers will frame the key issues and engage participants in a question-and-answer during the plenary sessions.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Michael E. Garrison, Acting Director of the Africa Center, emphasized the value of the relationships forged between participants during this program. Not only do such connections provide participants with an opportunity to learn from one another, he said, they also provide a foundation for future collaboration in addressing many of the security challenges facing the continent. “We hope you maintain these relationships as you proceed in your career for the next twenty years or so,” he said.
Opening Speech by General Carlton Fulford (ret.), former director of the Africa Center
General Carlton Fulford (ret.), a former director of the Africa Center, highlighted the ethical aspects of strong leadership in his keynote address. “This course will discuss inalienable values that are vital and important to be an effective leader,” he noted. Honor, courage, commitment to a cause or belief, and loyalty are all essential qualities of an effective leader, he said.
However, he stressed that the most important value for a military officer is integrity.
“Integrity is a vital value for any leader,” Fulford said. “Integrity means knowing the difference between right and wrong and having the courage to do what is right.”
Fulford added, “My vision for Africa is a continent made up of stable, well-governed nations that are committed to peaceful coexistence and international order, contribute to the global economy, and reward their citizens with freedom, security and prosperity.” He then urged participants to develop their own vision for the continent and encouraged them to ask themselves how they can help to make that vision a reality.
“Our hope here is to inspire you to go home and say, ‘I can do this, I can make a difference, I can make this a stronger nation’,” he said. “If you provide your nations with ethical leadership, this vision can be realized.”