Mutaru graduated from Coventry University in 2013 after studying for a Masters degree in Terrorism, International Crime and Global Security. We recently caught up with him to find out about his goal to transform terrorism in West Africa, as well as what it was like to meet Barack Obama!
How did studying at Coventry University enhance your career?
The rich course content and the strong interaction/relationship that I was able to develop with my professors enhanced my passion to build a career in this area. The seminars, conferences and most importantly my field trip to Sicily, Italy, as part of the International Organized Crime course was very influential. Whilst in Sicily I was exposed to and inspired by the significant contribution Addio Pizzo, a civil society group, were making to the anti-mafia struggle in Italy. I participated in an anti-mafia rally in May 2012 in Palermo, shouting anti-mafia slogans over loud speakers on the streets. This played a significant role in inspiring me to get engaged in counterterrorism work back home.
Following completion of my studies in Coventry including the field work in Sicily and a short internship with the International Office, I decided to return to Ghana in 2014 to set up the West Africa Center for Counter Extremism (WACCE) to contribute to finding solutions to terrorism in West Africa.
I will emphasise that Coventry University continues to expand the professional content of its program to provide students access to a wide network of professional contacts including UK leaders in business, government, and the non-profit sector.
What would you say to a student thinking of studying at Coventry University?
Coventry University is one of the fantastic environments for your ideal educational and career experience with a huge multicultural community. Once you are here, taking advantage of every single opportunity is incredibly important in ensuring your success in your chosen career. Opportunities abound; what you need to do is take advantage of it! Certainly I am very proud to be Coventry University Alumni and will continue to be proud especially with the continuous rise of the university up the school league.
What was it like to meet President Barack Obama at the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders?
Obama, in my opinion, is the most remarkable leader you can ever meet. I felt a special privilege and honour. Looking into his eyes, I felt an air of unaccounted confidence and hope that all the goals I have been aspiring to achieve in my life are possible. It was like the feeling you get when something extraordinary happens in your life. When I shook his hand I felt a sense of validation in the work that I do in contributing to securing West Africa.
What are your plans for the future?
West Africa is one of the deadliest regions for terrorism. My plans are to expand my counter terrorism work to include the entire West Africa region, helping to dissuade vulnerable groups and individuals from engaging in violent extremism and falling into the void of terrorist recruitment.