The Religious Freedom Institute in Washington DC, has approved the appointment of Fr. Atta Barkindo, Executive Director of The Kukah Centre, as Senior Research Fellow for International Religious Freedom Policy.
The Kukah Centre has, however, congratulated and rejoiced with him on the significant international recognition.
The Executive Vice President of RFI, Washington DC, Eric Patterson, in a letter addressed to Barkindo, said Barkindo will be working on projects of common interest as they collaborate to raise awareness and galvanize action for peace and religious freedom in West Africa.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with you to advance religious freedom. Your background and experience on the ground will bring a unique perspective to the work of this organization. RFI’s International Religious Freedom Policy Action Team is dedicated to championing religious freedom for everyone, everywhere.
“As a Senior Fellow, you will be part of a team of senior fellows who will contribute to the work of RFI – a team that includes individuals such as former U.S. diplomats and past government officials from Canada and Pakistan. This also provides an opportunity to promote your existing work to a wider audience. Specifically, we would request the following from you while you hold the appointment,” Patterson wrote in the letter.
The Washington-based Religious Freedom Institute, borne out of the Religious Freedom Project, was established in 2011 at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.
Barkindo, a Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Yola, is an expert on violent extremism and security in Africa, with focus on the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin.
Prior to his appointment as the Executive Director of The Kukah Centre and Head of Secretariat for the National Peace Committee, Fr. Barkindo obtained a BA in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the Dar Comboni Institute for Islamic Studies, Zamalek, Egypt, and a Licentiate Degree in Political Islam and Inter-Religious Dialogue from the Pontifical University for Arabic and Islamic studies, Rome, Italy.
“In 2012, he completed his MSc in African Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, SOAS, University of London. In 2016, he completed his Ph.D. at the same University. His PhD research project, titled
‘‘History, Memory and Resistance in Northern Nigeria: The Transformation of Boko Haram,’’ was awarded the Horowitz Foundation Grant for Social Policy.
“Fr. Barkindo was trained in the Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Violent Extremists, at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, Singapore. He was part of the European Union Technical Assistance Team that worked with the Office of the National Security Adviser to establish the DDRR programme in Nigeria. He has consulted for the UNDP Borderlands Centre, Nairobi, Kenya, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and Conciliation Resources, UK. Fr. Atta is also a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Africa Research Institute, London.
“This appointment stems from Fr. Barkindo’s contributions to research on peace and conflict management. Among other things, Fr. Barkindo will be part of a team of senior fellows who will contribute to the work of RFI – a team that includes individuals such as former U.S. diplomats and past government officials from Canada and Pakistan. Fr. Barkindo will also consult in an advisory capacity on RFI initiatives, write articles for RFI’s publication on a quarterly basis; participate in RFI conferences and republish articles works on religious freedom as opportunities arise,” the Kukah Centre said in in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday.