The fourth Tana Forum on Security in Africa has started yesterday with African Vice-Chancellors debate and public lecture on the 2015 theme, “Secularism and Politicized Faith,” in Bahir Dar, the capital of the Amhara regional state, 578 kms North of Addis Abeba. The lecture was organized by the Institute for Peace and Security (IPSS), the organizers of the Forum in collaboration with the Bahir Dar University.

The organizers also said this year a record eleven heads of state and government were expected to attend the Forum adding this year’s theme has attracted more than 200 stakeholders including seating and former heads of state and government; ministers and senior government officials, ambassadors, policy makers, prominent scholars, representatives from civil society, faith-based organizations, and others.

“We are delighted to welcome a record number of heads of state and government to Bahir Dar for this year’s Forum,” said H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria and chairperson of the Tana board. “Tana is an event like no other in Africa. It is a chance for heads of state to hear from prominent African personalities, academics, religious leaders, and policy makers on issues that matter to the lives of ordinary Africans.”

During the two days event, the highly anticipated heads of state panel will discuss “Secularism, Politicized Faith, and Security” where faith-based security threats and solutions will be discussed. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria and chairperson of the Tana Board, will present “The State of Peace and Security in Africa”.

In addition to the highly anticipated debates on the theme, the event will also see a tree planting ceremony involving the heads of state and government present in this year’s forum on the outskirts of Bahir Dar. This ceremony will inaugurate the Tana Forum Park; and Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa and member of the Tana Board, will pay homage to the Pan Africanism legacy of former Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah in the annual Meles Zenawi lecture series.

The Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa is an independent Forum on peace and security in Africa. Taking place every year in April on the shores of Lake Tana and the source of the Blue Nile in the picturesque lake side resort city of Bahir Dar in Ethiopia, the Forum brings together heads of state, academics, the private sector, and policy makers for two days of debate, discussions, and side meetings.

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