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Ernest Ogbozor lends a hand at the Boto Internally Displaced Persons camp in Bauchi State, Nigeria

Ernest Ogbozor lends a hand at the Boto Internally Displaced Persons camp in Bauchi State, Nigeria.

Humanitarian Work in Nigeria Spurs Urge to Settle Conflict

Ernest Ogbozor knows firsthand the importance of humanitarian aid workers in conflict zones. Such aid assured the survival of his parents as they fled the Biafra war in his home country of Nigeria.

Ogbozor has more than a decade of experience working for humanitarian organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross in Nigeria, which led to the Ford Foundation recognizing his efforts with a scholarship to attend Brandeis University to enhance his managerial skills in the humanitarian field.

Now a PhD student at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR), Ogbozor hopes to “gain knowledge on how to analyze and understand conflict dynamics,” he says. “This will enable me to design appropriate humanitarian interventions for resolving violent conflict situations in Nigeria.” He adds that he would like to develop programs to relieve “the sufferings of victims of the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency problem in my country.”

Those insurgencies have made Nigeria a dangerous place for humanitarian aid workers despite the increasing need for their assistance. This dilemma led him to George Mason, he says.

I was especially drawn to the [conflict analysis and resolution] programs that were being offered because they approached the field from a comprehensive perspective that first looked to analyze the issues from all sides before identifying multiple solutions to address them.

Ernest Ogbozor, PhD Candidate in the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution

At Mason he could now link his professional experience to the new developments that were taking place on the ground in Nigeria and to seek a solution to his dilemma.

Ogbozor is writing his dissertation on humanitarian aid workers working amid terrorism and has organized a number of conferences to explore the topic.