Edward Y. Mitole, PhD. Founder and CEO of the African Renaissance Project, Visiting Professor
of African Studies at UNISA Institute for African Renaissance Studies. Secretary General of the
Muslim Supreme Council of South Africa. Political Analyst for SABC News and eNews Channel
Born on 25 May 1974 in Mangochi, Malawi, Edward Mitole is Afrikan first and Malawian second.
He obtained his Bachelor of Social Science degree and Master of Arts in Development Studies
degree from the University of Malawi. He obtained his PhD in Development Studies from
Columbia University in the USA.
Edward Mitole graduated from the University of Malawi in 1999 with a Bachelor of Social Science
degree and immediately joined the United Nations as a United Nations Volunteer (UNV).
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is the UN organization that promotes
volunteerism to support peace and development worldwide. Volunteerism can transform the pace
and nature of development and it benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer. UNV
contributes to peace and development by advocating for volunteerism globally, encouraging
partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing volunteers. In
most cultures volunteerism is deeply embedded in long-established, ancient traditions of sharing
and support within the communities. In this context, UN Volunteers take part in various forms of
volunteerism and play a role in development and peace together with co-workers, host agencies
and local communities. In all assignments, UN Volunteers promote volunteerism through their
action and conduct. Engaging in volunteer activity can effectively and positively enrich their
understanding of local and social realities, as well as create a bridge between themselves and
the people in their host community. This will make the time they spend as UN Volunteers even
more rewarding and productive.
Under the leadership of the late Koffi Annan, first Black Secretary General of the UN, Edward
Mitole developed knowledge products, provided policy advice and country office and regional
programme support in the following areas: Conflict prevention and peacebuilding; Inclusive
political processes and elections; Enhancing voice and participation, responsive and accountable
institutions and anticorruption; Human rights; Rule of law, justice and security. He reported to the
Regional Rule of Law and Justice Specialist. His focus was with the Governance and
Peacebuilding Team. He provided programmatic support to areas of programming which have
relevance for peace and security, including conflict prevention and peacebuilding, prevention of
violent extremism, resilience, and migration and displacement related issues. He worked tirelessly
to mainstream human rights, gender and disability rights into the work implemented by UNDP
Country Offices. He worked with UNDP Country Offices in Sub-Saharan Africa and at the regional
level including with the African Union and Regional Economic Commissions such as ECOWAS,
ECCAS and IGAD.
Due to his outstanding performance as UNV, Mr Mitole rose to the position of Cluster Leader in
2005 and was deployed to Dubai to head the Peace Building Team in the Arab Gulf States.
His team brought consolidated UNDP expertise in building inclusive societies and
sustaining peace through good governance and conflict prevention to support Country
Offices across the region to address today’s development challenges. At the centre of his
work was preventive governance, referring to those processes and mechanisms of
democratic governance that ultimately foster resilience against instability and violent
conflict. His approach had been developed in response to Security Council Resolution
2171, recommendations of recent reviews of UN peace-operations and peacebuilding
infrastructures and Sustainable Development Goal 16, all calling for a UN system-wide
approach to preventing conflict and building and sustaining peaceful and inclusive
His focus was on
• Rule of Law, justice, security and human rights: supporting rule of law;
enhancing legal empowerment and access to justice for all; fostering justice and
security reforms at national and local levels, including work with formal and informal
actors; promoting respect of human rights and gender justice including gender
• Inclusive political processes: promoting institutionalization of open and
representative state-society negotiation and accountability processes; participatory
and inclusive constitution-drafting processes; and professionalization of electoral
• Responsive and accountable institutions: strengthening government
functionality for the delivery of social services and economic development at central
and local levels, and enhancing local governance and decentralization for stateand
peacebuilding, democratic representation;
• Conflict prevention and peacebuilding: enhancing national infrastructures for
peace, trust, inclusion and social cohesion; supporting national dialogue processes;
and strengthening conflict analysis and prevention capacities including mitigation
and contestation management mechanisms;
• HIV and Health: addressing social and economic determinants of noncommunicable
diseases, and influencing social protection policies for people living
with HIV while supporting a conducive legal and social environment for them.
Due to his outstanding performance as a Peace Building Cluster Leader, Dr. Mitole was hired by
the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2008 to serve as a Protection
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated to lead and
coordinate international action to protect and assist refugees and other persons of concern. It is
constantly seeking talented, compassionate candidates with high-integrity to strengthen its
capacity to respond urgently to crises with the right skills. Given the nature of UNHCR’s work, it
is essential that its workforce has the right mix of skills and qualities to fulfil its mandate. Edward
Mitole led and coordinated UNHCR’s protection programme with the objective of providing timely
and effective protection to populations of concern, as well as supervising protection interventions
within the UNHCR office. He was able to contribute to or lead development of a multi-year
protection strategy that is solutions-oriented and based on a consultative process with multifunctional
teams and partners. He forged strong partnerships with government entities, other UN agencies, and NGOs to facilitate the operation’s protection objectives. To achieve this Edward
Mitole worked tirelessly to build and maintain effective relations with communities of concern.
Dr. Mitole left the United Nations in 2011 after serving it faithfully for 10 years and decided to
return home to help build leadership for Africa. There were a number of countries that had
expressed interest in his profile and needed his services but Dr. Mitole chose to fly straight to
South Africa and joined the UNISA Institute for African Renaissance Studies as a Visiting Scholar.
He is the Founder of the African Renaissance Project, a project aimed at building a United and
Conflict Free Africa.
Edward Mitole is the most powerful proponent of the African Liberation Movement today, as well
as the foremost black political thinker of our time. He is a speaker, activist, theoretician and
organizer of campaigns such as “The Curriculum Must Fall” and “Africa Unite”.
Following in the footsteps of previous black leaders such as Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah,
Mangaliso Sobukwe, Patrice Lumumba and Malcolm X, Edward Mitole points to a positive future
for the African Continent through the slogan made famous by the Garvey Movement of the 1920s,
“Africa for Africans, at home and abroad.” He sends a bold message, calling on African people
worldwide to unite their homeland, liberate their people and dispense with colonial borders that
continue to divide and oppress.”
Dr. Mitole is a living testimony of the liberating potential of Ubuntu education. The blinds obscuring
his vision and chains of mental slavery were surgically removed and replaced with a hunger for
knowledge and a propensity to gravitate towards light.
He can be described as a man firmly embedded in the present but with an ever wakeful readiness
to reflect on the past and a vision firmly set on the future.
Many people he has met including comrades have said to him that he must be very brave to
speak truth to power or write about what he writes because of the risks it entails. The African
Renaissance Project itself stands poised as a countervailing force against the colonial apparatus.
But in response, he has often said that it is not a matter of being brave but an avoidable burden
of responsibility. He might have fears about the implications of attacking the colonial apparatus
and spreading light on the African continent – the fears are real and the consequences dire – but
his conscience never walks away. He wishes it could, but it does not. It is always there, making
the point that he has a responsibility that no one but he can now discharge.
His message to African youth is “Unite and rally the Afrikan people behind the banner of Afrikan
nationalism. Fight and defeat all forms of oppressive and exploitative rules, be it outright
colonialism or neo-colonialism. Champion and promote the economic, cultural and spiritual
interests of Afrikan people. Project the Afrikan personality in all aspects of life at all material times.
Establish a democratic monolithic State of Afrika with one government, one military command,
single economic market with one currency, and a common passport.