Sibusisiwe Nomthandazo Nkosi
MA in International Security and Conflict Studies, DCU
Sibusisiwe was working as a Programme Officer at the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes prior to being awarded an Ireland Fellows Programme award in 2020 to study International Security and Conflict Studies at Dublin City University.
I am currently doing a Master’s in International Security and Conflict at Dublin City University. My motivation for choosing this programme was driven by my personal and professional aspirations of contributing to sustainable development and peace on the African continent by achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Studying in Ireland has expanded my worldview and has opened my mind to new perspectives. I can credit this mainly to the unique learning experience and environment, engagements with fellow students and fellows, and engagements with Ireland's fantastic people. I have acquired a sense of empowerment and self-awareness, as being away from home takes one out of one’s comfort zone and creates an opportunity for personal growth. The unique pandemic environment has further made me more resilient and self-aware. Overall, the experience has been a process of self-discovery, which is setting a foundation for my professional career development.
I have gained a better understanding of the emerging threats to international peace and security, like cybersecurity, climate change, and weapons of mass destruction. The course has also enhanced my critical thinking and independent thinking skills, which are essential skills for practitioners in Peace and Security.
I adjusted pretty well to life in Ireland, which I think is due to the fact that I came to Ireland with an open mind, and a bit of background attained from online research. The International Office and ICOS have also played a significant role in helping me ease into life in Ireland, from sharing information brochures, constant emails and online webinars, detailing everything from using the public transport system, to grocery shopping and accessing mental health support.
Being part of the fellowship is building my skills and knowledge and will also help me position myself to influence the advancement of South Africa's social, economic and development priorities, in line with the SDGs. It will also help me better understand the relationship between post-conflict reconstruction and development, therefore contributing to the achievement of sustainable peace and security in Africa.
As a result of the fellowship, my work scope will be much more expansive and lead to increased roles and responsibilities. I will also be more confident to engage in a wide range of international peace and security issues at various domestic and international platforms.
My research topic is Local Ownership in Peacebuilding: The Role of Youth in the South Sudanese's Peace Process. When thinking of "youth in conflict," thoughts seldom turn to youths' constructive, preventive and transformative role in both violent and non-violent conflicts. The study hopes to highlight youths' role in post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding and expose the barriers limiting youth participation in formal peace processes.
Once I return to South Africa, I would like to transfer and share the knowledge and experience from my formal and informal learning while in Ireland with as many people as possible. I would also like to continue making a difference and change in my space, field, and country.
I would recommend my fellow South Africans to participate in the Ireland Fellows Programme. Being part of the programme will give them access to the best education, driving innovation and changing the world. It would further set them out on the road to being better at what they do and making a more significant impact in their spaces and South Africa.