Post in peace and conflict
1 October 2008
Prof Kevin Clements, an internationally-respected academic now based at the University of Queensland, has been appointed to a new professorship in peace and conflict studies at the University of Otago.
Prof Clements, who takes up his appointment in January next year, will also become director of Otago University's National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.
The centre, to be based in the Otago humanities division, will focus on the nature and resolution of conflict, and the creation of peaceful environments.
It will bring together academics, students and visitors from many disciplines, and aims to fully involve indigenous peoples.
The centre and chair were made possible by a $1.25 million donation from the Aotearoa New Zealand Peace and Conflict Studies Centre Trust, university officials announced last week.
The trust's gift was made through the university's Leading Thinkers Initiative and was matched by the Government under the Partnerships for Excellence scheme, lifting the total to $2.5 million.
Born in New Zealand, Prof Clements graduated with a PhD in sociology from Victoria University in 1970 and has spent the past 17 years in international posts.
He is the professor of peace and conflict studies and foundation director of the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Queensland University.
From 1999 to 2003, he was secretary-general of International Alert, an international organisation based in London working on conflict and conflict transformation in many countries.
Prof Clements had long advocated establishing such a peace studies centre in New Zealand and was "humbled and privileged" to be able to develop it.
He wanted this to be a centre of academic excellence and also wished to build on the rich indigenous peace-building initiatives that ran deep in New Zealand's Moriori and Maori traditions, he said.
University vice-chancellor Prof David Skegg said Prof Clements had outstanding experience and ability and the new centre would quickly become a hub of research and teaching.