Translating Training Into Action. Member Spotlight: Cecilia Idika-Kalu

Cecilia Idika-Kalu has an extensive peacebuilding background. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Ilorin in Nigeria, a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Massachusetts (UMass), and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. In addition to this, she has also completed the Massachusetts law requirement for mediation and has a core certification in Human Resources.

A great deal of Cecilia’s vision and work involves participating and helping in communities professionally, and most importantly, getting them to apply their mediation skills in their everyday lives.

Mediation in Policy: Gender and Security

After getting her bachelor’s degree, Cecilia worked with people in the field as a trainer and facilitator. This involved “training in different global contexts”, which also meant a great deal of travel. She also ventured into entrepreneurship, building her own consultancy. “My training in mediation does just influence my teaching, it gives me an informed perspective for interventions where necessary.”

Cecilia is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts (UMass), Lowell, where she is also an adjunct professor in the Political Science Department. Understanding different intervention dynamics for different conflicts is a pivotal aspect of Cecilia’s work, especially in the global south stating; “I’m interested in the conflict aspect of it.” However, her Ph.D. research is based in Nigeria, and it explores women’s experiences with terrorism. It is a “sense-making process, whereby, it essentially seeks to discover how mediation plays a role in their circumstance, and how it can be incorporated into informing policy.Terror management and intersectionality is also a key component of this research.

Listening to Learn, MBBI

Cecilia’s mediation practice and MBBI engagement “fall at a centerpiece” of her core areas of expertise and competencies. Furthermore, connecting and working with other mediators gives her diverse opinions and great insight into the world of conflict resolution.

Giving people “the driver’s seat” and building trust with trained community members who in turn are trusted within their communities is a powerful approach to dispute resolution. This, “in conjunction with what they already know and have”, even outside of the Western educational context, helps create peaceful and stable environments.

Above all, Cecilia really values the knowledge she gains just by listening to others. And, as a certified senior specialist in Human Resource Management, she understands the importance of cultural competence in navigating human relationships.

Article by Jainaba Gaye, MBBI Writer