Dr Gerald Musa
Dr Gerald Musa

Dr Gerald Musa

Research Topic: People Controlled Organisations: The Basis for Sustainable Rural Development in Sokoto - Nigeria 
 
Principal supervisor: Associate Professor Pradip Thomas
Associate supervisor: Dr Nicholas Carah
 
Thesis title: Dialogue as communication: challenges and prospects for Christian-Muslim relationship in Kaduna State, Nigeria (available to download here)

PhD graduate Gerald Musa from Nigeria first knew about the University of Queensland from reading the works of A/Professor Pradip Thomas and Jan Servaes. At the time Gerald was studying Communication at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

 “I read about the research work of the CfCSC and the extensive research work carried out by A/Professors Elske van de Fliert, Pradip Thomas and other staff of the School of Journalism and Communication. I found their work very fascinating as they apply communication theories to sustainable development” Gerald said.

When Professor Robert White at the Gregorian University proposed him to undertake a Doctorate degree at UQ, Gerald did not hesitate.
 
“The only problem I had was that I never met anyone who lived or studied in Australia. I came to the land down under hoping for the best. It was like a leap in the dark, but I am glad I took the leap!” he confessed.
 
In his PhD thesis Gerald explored the prospects and challenges of Christian-Muslim dialogue in Nigeria, firstly because he comes from a mixed family of Christians and Muslims and he grew up in communities and schools where Christians and Muslims co-existed peacefully.
 
“We have always known our difference, but we never fought because of these differences” Gerald said.
 
The second reason for choosing the topic on interreligious dialogue is his work background. As a Catholic priest, Gerald has had the opportunity of participating in interreligious programmes such as the Christian-Muslim Forum (MSF) and the Nigeria Interreligious Council (NIREC), Sokoto State branch.
 
“I had the privilege of working with well-informed and friendly Muslims who sincerely participated in dialogue for peace building. I have a deep conviction that religious leaders have a special role to play in promoting peace and that the art of communication is the key” he said.
 
Gerald’s thesis takes special interest on the situation in Kaduna State, a multicultural state with Christians and Muslims in almost equal numbers. Kaduna State is strategic because it is the political capital of northern Nigeria. The state has also experienced some of the most violent ethno-religious conflicts.
 
“My thesis situates dialogue within the context of communication; it traces the philosophical roots of the concept of dialogue; it identifies the challenges of dialogue in Nigeria without neglecting the opportunities for exploring diversity in a more positive way. The thesis emphasises on dialogue of action (co-operation) in confronting the common social problems that affect all people of diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. Interreligious dialogue is increasingly relevant in Nigeria as we presently face the most violent religious insurgents, popularly known as Boko Haram” Gerald said.
 
After graduation, Gerald got a teaching job at the Centre for the Study of African Communication and Culture, within the Catholic Institute of West Africa, located in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. 
 
“My teaching experience in the last one-year has afforded me the opportunity to share the fruits of my thesis with students specializing in communication,” he said.
 

 

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