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PhD student celebrates essay success at The Tana Forum in Africa

Posted on 22 May 2019

news, news:International, news:Media, Film and Culture, news:Research

​​​​​A Leeds Trinity student undertaking postgraduate research about peacebuilding in Kenya has won the 2019 Tana Forum University Essay Competition. 

Zac Chiliswa is a PhD student in Media Studies at Leeds Trinity University and the University of Leeds and is currently conducting fieldwork in Kenya to understand how peacebuilders communicate peace in an increasingly digitised media environment.

Now in its eighth edition, the theme for this year’s competition was “Political Dynamics in the Horn of Africa: Nurturing the Emerging Peace Trends”. Zac’s entry was based on his PhD research as he found that concepts from his literature review about online media practices and peacebuilding could be applied to current conversations not only in Kenya but also the rest of Africa.
 
The Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa is an annual meeting that brings together African leaders and stakeholders to engage and explore African-led security solutions. Their annual essay writing competition is aimed at African nationals enrolled in higher education institutions across the continent who want to engage in conversation about peace and security challenges.
 
Zac said: “The Tana Forum is a well-known research organisation made up of a network of renowned leaders and policy-makers in Africa. As a researcher I am looking forward to connecting with this network to develop as a postgraduate student and find space where my research interests in media and peacebuilding can be advanced.”
 
Zac, who is originally from Kenya, first moved over to the UK after being awarded the Rotary Peace Fellowship, enabling him to pursue an MA at the University of Bradford in the Department of Peace Studies.
 
Following completion of his Masters, he wanted to continue his academic career in Leeds, and applied for a PhD with Leeds Trinity University after learning of the academic expertise and specialist research facilities on offer, as well as its partnership with the University of Leeds.
 
Professor Graham Roberts, Director of Postgraduate Research Studies said: “Zac is a prime example of one of our postgraduate researchers doing socially impactful work and raising our profile on an international stage. We are all very proud of him.”
 
Following the competition, Zac and his fellow winning authors were invited by the Tana Forum Secretariat to attend the Forum as fully sponsored participants and present their essays. They also received mentorship and training in presentation skills from a pool of experts based at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS).
 
Zac is now getting ready to return to Leeds to finish his doctoral studies and hopes to remain in academia as a lecturer and researchers, offering mentorship to young researchers in the field of media and peacebuilding. ​​

You can watch Zac’s presentation at the Tana Forum here. ​​​

For more information about postgraduate research opportunities at Leeds Trinity University click here. ​​