By Matt Moran
This article was first published by Independent Catholic News on Nov 1st, 2023
Rev Dr Patrick Devine, Founder and International Chairman of the Nairobi-based Shalom Centre for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation has been appointed Vice-Chairman of Tangaza University Council and Chairman of its Corporate Affairs Committee.
Tangaza University College (TUC) aims to provide a well-rounded, quality education within an environment which promotes freedom, responsibility and excellence in teaching and learning.
To contribute to the enhancement of society, TUC additionally offers research, scholarship and ethical integral development.
In his new position, Fr Patrick will serve the University Council to ensure the integral formation of the intellectual, moral, social, cultural and physical dimensions of a student’s life.
In line with the witness of his life as a missionary and peace-builder, he will undoubtedly continue to foster the values of peace, truth, justice and mercy, which permeate every aspect of the educational process at the institution, with concern for the poor, marginalised and oppressed.
Fr Devine has had a long association with Tangaza College. From 1995 to 2008, when he was Regional Superior / Leader for Kenya and Tanzania for the Society of African Missions, he served on the Board of the college when it was a constituent college of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. He also served on numerous development committees nurturing the governance, growth, and stability of the institute.
With a Doctorate in Political Science and Public Administration, and a Masters in Peace Studies and International Relations, he taught at the university from 2009 – 2021. Having been an original member of the newly established Tangaza University Council (TUC) in 2019, he was recently elected Vice-Chairman of TUC, and Chairman of its Corporate Affairs Committee.
He brings a wealth of experience to the TUC from other governance, commissions, trusteeships, and administrative roles he has held over the years. These include being the Chairman of the Religious Superiors Conference of Kenya (RSCK) from 2005-2010, and its Secretary General from 2010-2013; and a founding director of the religious-owned PACIS Insurance Company Ltd in Kenya from 2005-2014.
In 2009, he founded the Shalom Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation which is now acclaimed internationally for its sustainable peace and development work in Africa, and which holds accreditation from the United Nations. He serves as the organisation’s International Chairman in Africa, Europe and the USA. In 2013, he was awarded the prestigious International Caring Award, succeeding the Dalai Lama, and was later inducted into the Caring Hall of Fame located at the Fredrick Douglas Museum in Washington D.C.
Over the years he has received numerous other nominations, awards, and receptions in his honour. He has been an invited guest at several universities in the USA and Ireland presenting lectures, talks, modules and symposiums on issues relating to conflict resolution and reconciliation methodologies, religious ideological extremism, inter-ethnic conflict management, preventing violence against women and children, the environment and conflict, the humanitarian-peace-development nexus, and human-trafficking.
Pursuing an expansion of the peace-building work carried out by Shalom Centre, he founded the Shalom Empowerment Centre in Nairobi in 2022 to provide training on conflict transformation skills, peacebuilding techniques, post-traumatic stress disorder healing approaches, and other relevant interventions to women and children suffering from violence. Later that year, Shalom opened the Mary and Joseph Life Centre that provides a range of services focused on the wellbeing and dignity of women, children, motherhood, parenting and family.
The vision and leadership of Fr Devine is exemplary. His vision and enthusiasm has been recognised and valued by donors in the United States, in Ireland and in the UK whose generous funding has made so much work that is very necessary and life-saving become a reality in poor and marginalised communities in Eastern Africa. As Fr Devine put it to me humbly: “they have made a dream possible… they are an integral part of our work amidst the marginalised… they are what keep me and my wonderful team going, often in very difficult circumstances.”
As he now brings the same dynamic vision and leadership to TUC, the board, management and staff of Shalom wish him well as he contribute in a new way to the university’s governance, development and administration, and to the wider progression of holistic educational advancement in Africa.
Matt Moran is a writer and author living in Cork. His books include ‘The Legacy of Irish Missionaries Lives On’ and ‘The Theology of Integral Human Development’. He is currently working on a book about ‘The Cultural Colonisation of Africa by the West’.