Category Archives: Events

ANNUAL PEACE STUDIES & INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE: RESOURCES, CONFLICT AND DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA

The annual Peace Studies & International Development conference for Africanist doctoral students and early post-doctoral career scholars and practitioners is scheduled to take place on the 11th May 2017 at the University of Bradford in United Kingdom.

The conference theme is: Resources, Conflict and Development in Africa.

Conference cluster themes include:

1) Natural Resources and Conflict

2) Transition from Resource Conflict to Peace and Peacebuilding

3) Natural Resources, Demographic Change and Development

4) Conflict, Security, Peace and Development Nexus

5) Regional Integration, Security and Development

6) Africa and the Rest of the World

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/resources-conflict-and-development-in-africa-tickets-33989318968

154306 BU FoSS 3rd Annual A4 Poster V2

JEFCAS Seminar Series: Sudan: still an Unstable State?

Venue: Pemberton Room 2.11

Date:  Wed 3rd May 2017

Time: 16:00 – 18:00

Speaker: Professor Peter Woodward (University of Reading)

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About Prof Peter Woodward:

Professor Peter Woodward worked for the VSO in Kosti, Sudan from 1966-67 and then became a Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Khartoum until 1971 when he joined the Department of Politics at the University of Reading. He was also a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Natal, Durban in 1991 and 1993, and at the American University in Cairo in 1999.

Professor Woodward is regularly consulted on African affairs by various branches of government in several countries including the FCO; DFID; the US House of Representatives sub-committee on Africa; and US State Department. He also contributes to various media outlets, most regularly to the BBC World Service. He acted as Rapporteur for Sudan peace talks at the Carter Center in 1993, Chaired jointly by President Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu; and Chaired constitutional talks on Sudan for the International Dialogues Foundation, Durham, 1999.

JEFCAS Seminar Series: Radicalisation and Violence in Africa

Venue: Pemberton Room 2.11

Date: Wed 11 January  2017

Time: 16:00 – 18:00

Speaker: Professor Charles Abiodun Alao.

Professor Charles Abiodun Alao, King’s College London: Radicalisation and Violence in Africa.

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About Professor Abiodun Alao: Abiodun Alao is Professor of African Studies at King’s College London. His areas of Research interests include: Emerging Powers and Global Leadership; the Politics of Natural Resources Management; Religious Radicalisation and Political Violence; Politics, Security and International Relations in Africa.

His authored books include Mugabe and the Politics of Security in Zimbabwe, (McGill-Queens University Press, 2012); Natural Resources and Conflict in Africa: The Tragedy of Endowment, (Rochester University Press, 2007); The Burden of Collective Goodwill: The International Involvement in the Liberian Civil War, (Ashgate Publishers, 1996); and Brothers at War: Dissidence and Rebellion in Southern Africa, (British Academic Press, 1994). He Co-authored Peacekeepers, Politicians and Warlords: The Liberian Peace Process, (United Nations University Press, 1999); and Co-editor of Africa after the Cold War: The Changing Perspective on Security, (African World Press, 1998); Nigeria and the United States: Twists and Turns over 50 Years, (African Peace Support Publishers, 2011); and China and Africa – Building Peace and Security Cooperation (Forthcoming Palgrave – Macmillan, 2016).

Apart from extensive publications on African security issues, Prof Alao has undertaken numerous assignments for international organisations, including the United Nations, African Union, European Union, World Bank, ECOWAS and for individual countries.

Annual Peace Studies & International Development Conference: Resources, Conflict and Development in Africa

The annual Peace Studies & International Development conference for Africanist doctoral students and early post-doctoral career scholars and practitioners is scheduled to take place on the 11th May 2017 at the University of Bradford in United Kingdom.

The conference theme is: Resources, Conflict and Development in Africa.

Conference cluster themes include:

1) Natural Resources and Conflict

2) Transition from Resource Conflict to Peace and Peacebuilding

3) Natural Resources, Demographic Change and Development

4) Conflict, Security, Peace and Development Nexus

5) Regional Integration, Security and Development

6) Africa and the Rest of the World
The conference is open to doctoral students and early career scholars, researchers and practitioners. Potential participants and paper presenters are required to submit an Abstract of 200 – 300 words on or before 15th November 2016 to:              africanistpgrc2017-group@uni.bradford.ac.uk
All shortlisted participants will be required to submit the first draft of their papers at least two months before the conference. The conference is expected to result in a co-edited book (Lead Editor: Professor Kenneth Omeje, Senior Research Fellow, John & Elnora Ferguson Centre of African Studies, University of Bradford). Kindly note that all short-listed participants will be responsible for the full-cost of their participation, including visa, travels, accommodation and subsistence.

For full details on the conference: conference-call-oct-2016-revised-version-1

YASN Conference 2016: Transitions’ from what to what? Justice and Reconciliation in Africa

The 2016 Yorkshire African Studies Network (YASN) Conference is scheduled for Friday 18th November 2016 at the University of Bradford and is supported by JEFCAS.

The conference aims to subject to scrutiny the realms of criminal justice, social justice and reconciliation in Africa. This is not envisaged as a narrow field; the conference is designed to include all elements of international criminal justice, truth and reconciliation commissions, localized notions of retributive, restorative and re-distributive justice, and ideas of social justice linked to themes as broad as poverty, gender, land and societal cleavages. The conference, however, aims also to interrogate the notion of ‘transition’. Often applied to societies deemed in need of change, the important questions of what is envisaged and what actually happens are accompanied by an even more fundamental uncertainty as to whether ‘transition’ is indeed an appropriate term for these processes.

Guest speaker: Dr Phil Clark (SOAS)

We welcome applications from PhD students, researchers and academics focusing on the above issues in any part of the African continent from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds. Please submit 300-word abstracts for papers to be presented at the conference to Dr David Harris (d.harris7@bradford.ac.uk) by 30th September 2016. We will let you know as soon as possible after the deadline whether your paper proposal has been accepted.
This call for papers is open to all academics, researchers and postgraduate students whether they are based in Yorkshire or elsewhere.

Times and schedules will be confirmed in due course.

The Yorkshire Africa Studies Network is comprised of the Universities of Bradford, Durham, Hull, Leeds, Leeds Trinity, Sheffield and York. Find out more about YASN at http://lucas.leeds.ac.uk/yasn/.

 

Joint Federal Government of Ethiopia – University of Bradford 50th Anniversary Africa Regional Conference, 23 – 24 June 2016

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) and the University of Bradford (UoB) held a two-day joint regional conference on Global Education for Peace in Africa to mark the 50th anniversary of the University of Bradford. The conference was held at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on 23rd and 24th June 2016. The Conference had three main objectives:

  • To bring together high-level continental agencies, strategic partners, political leaders, policy makers, practitioners, students and University of Bradford alumni to share ideas and develop a concrete programme of action on Global Education for Peace in Africa.
  • To strengthen the role of the University of Bradford in promoting global education for peace with particular reference to the African region.
  • To celebrate the University of Bradford’s 50th Anniversary with our International Partners and Alumni.

The official opening of the conference was performed by the Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia and a distinguished alumnus of the University of Bradford H.E. Dr Demeke Mekonnen. Speakers at the historic conference include:

  1. H.E. Dr Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia
  2. Professor Brian Cantor, Vice Chancellor, University of Bradford
  3. H.E. Ato Shiferaw Shigutie, Ethiopian Federal Minister of Education
  4. Dr Getachew Engida, UNESCO Deputy Director-General, Paris
  5. Dr Admasu Tsegaye, Addis Ababa University President, Ethiopia
  6. Professor Donna Lee. Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Bradford
  7. Professor David Francis, Head, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford
  8. Dr Alhaji Sarjoh Bah, Head Crisis Management and Post-Conflict Reconstruction Division, Peace and Security Department, African Union Commission, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  9. Peter Hare, Peacekeeping English Project Adviser, British Council, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  10. Selamawit Alemayehu, Regional Programme Manager, Schools Programme, Sub-Saharan Africa, British Council, Nairobi, Kenya
  11. Prof Pamela Machakanja, Director, Institute for Peace, Leadership and Governance, Africa University, Mutare, Zimabawe
  12. Dr Arthur Bainomugisha, Executive Director, Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, Kampala, Uganda
  13. Professor Oshita O. Oshita, Director-General, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Office of the Presidency, Abuja, Nigeria

The conference theme of peace and the regional focus on Africa are key areas of strength for the University of Bradford as a leading Technology University. 40 years ago, the University established the School of Peace Studies, which has emerged not only as a global brand but also the world’s largest academic centre of excellence for peace and conflict research. Its internationally recognised Africa Centre (the John and Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies [JEFCAS]) has established education-for-peace capacity-building programmes and institutes at 25 universities in 20 African countries.

The golden jubilee anniversary conference was divided into four plenary panels. The first three plenaries explored thematic issues on the global education for peace, the African context of peace education, the impact of the University of Bradford as a world-leading technology university on peace, education and economic development; the historical role of the African Union in peace-making on the continent, the contribution of UNECSO-Africa in education-for-peace, the impact of African universities in promoting Education-for-peace, the interface between the British Council’s schools programme in Sub-Saharan Africa and peace education, the flagship role of the federal government of Ethiopia in mainstreaming and institutionalising peace education into Ethiopian schools system, etc.

The last conference plenary was a University of Bradford’s Alumni special forum on the ‘Global Evidence of Making Knowledge Work.’ The panellists discussed in significant detail their academic experiences as post-graduate degree students at the University of Bradford and how they have applied the academic knowledge and skills acquired from Bradford in contributing to national and regional conflict intervention, security, peace-building and development. The various plenaries were followed by highly interactive and engaging question and answer sessions.

One of the key policy recommendations of stakeholders at this epochal golden jubilee anniversary conference was the need to mainstream peace education into the curricula of schools and other educational institutions on the continent using a regional framework. Uganda was chosen to host the first in the series of the follow-up conferences to develop modalities for this important regional peace education project. The Ugandan follow-up conference on Global Education for Peace in Africa (Phase 2) has been tentatively scheduled to take place in Kampala in October 2017.

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Global Governance and the Politics of Aid: Behemoth and the Business

[UK MoD- DfID worker checking supplies on a RAF C17 bound for the Philippines (2013)]

The following is a short review of the University of Bradford’s recent symposium Global Governance and the Politics of Aid, held on April 30th to May 1st.

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David Hulme, as the keynote speaker, set the tone for what is clearly the current trend in global governance, development and aid, quoting Lawrence Finkelstein,

Does it really clarify matters, however, or facilitate the research enterprise, to toss them in a hopper along with states, intergovernmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and Moody’s Investor’s Service? “Global governance” appears to be virtually anything…we say “governance” because we don’t really know what is going on.’  

Hulme also identified tensions between UK DfID-style “results based management”, gettinWEF Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Thabo Mbeki, Tony Blair, Bono, Olusegun Obasanjo - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2005g UK taxpayer “value for money”, and, more globally, increased scope of private investment and, of course, the Chinese. Aid, confusingly is now operating in a “post-aid” world, but perhaps still subject to likes the usual suspects at a “global governance” level (see image). With Bill Gates being campaigned to take on the battle for climate change it seems that if global governance is anything, it is high-level players operating outside the traditional realm of international politics.

This behemoth comes complete with own set of generalized metrics with which most are familiar: Millennium Develop Goals (and whatever “child” this framework will spawn for the future), and the so-called lightening rod rhetoric of a “dollar a day”. The latter is critiqued by many, and notably by Thomas Pogge arguing for the insufficiency of this tool, due to the difficulty of measuring poverty itself. Pogge implicates the World Bank in offering a skewed picture of decreasing poverty,

The World Bank’s own data show that, if they had chosen a more adequate poverty line, perhaps one twice as high at $2.50 per person per day, US dollars of the year 2005 converted at purchasing power parities, then they would have found a slight increase in the number of poor people between 1990 and 2005, the last year for which full data are now available. So it is essential to the World Bank’s upbeat picture that it chooses an extremely low poverty line. As every resident of the US can confirm, you could not have met your basic needs here in 2010 on $1.40 per day or $510 per year.

It seems that in some respects the institutions of the behemoth produce and consume their own “truth” in a high-level, closed-loop space. A space where, as Hulme points out, Bono’s special red card can sooth the souls of western capitalists, so-called “conscience consumers”, buying and spending their way to the delivery the poor and hungry.

According to another symposium participant and presenter, Emma Mawdsley, the business man now reigns supreme in the barracks of DfID, where the simplistic conflation of development and growth means the politics, power, and purse are being increasingly handed over to hedge funds, private public partnerships, and technocrats measuring the poverty of a single life through evidence-based metrics. Yet, Mawdsley holds out some glimmer of hope in face of the inevitability of the business takeover of DfID, with the promise of an injection of new approaches and ideas on the ground. Nonetheless, warnings abound for DfID to mutate into a “export credit agency”, when is ignores emphasis on labour rights of those exposed to this new delivery of aid.

South-South cooperation and the likes of institutions such as BRICS also came under scrutiny. Whilst it is true that China offers its aid, development, and emerging economic power without the pesky strings of human rights guarantees, it is perhaps not a free-wheeling as some would believe. According to participant, and Bradford professor Prathivadi Anand China gives out more than it receives from OECD countries, and deploys various financial-development instruments (lines of credit, infrastructure investment, loans, grants). From 2000-2011, it gave $104 billion in Africa, with Nigeria and Ghana as top recipients, and dominating the sectors of transport, energy and “unspecified” aid. Despite all the fuss made about Chinese neocolonial interests in Africa’s natural resources, it in fact gives more to South America than it does on the rising continent.

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A slice of consensus from the symposium, stemming from Hulme’s critique of NGOs, was that if the above directions of aid and development are in fact true, then it is up to NGOs to engage on a grassroots level politically to fight for rights of aid recipients. This might be the only hope for more participatory methods of development where recipients are treated as constituents in a political climate capable of facilitating of accountability, peace and justice. Some African states themselves are also coming into their own with what the Dean of Bradford’s Faculty of Social Sciences Donna Lee termed “African agency” by utilizing James Scott’s “weapons of weak”. Doing discursive battle with Western donors, African states, she believes are engaging donors with a mimetic challenge, holding up the mirror of norms and preconditions of delivery. If the encroachment of special or corporate interests and the rights of the recipient, it looks like the challenge lies at the feet of those still struggling to feed, clothe, and survive in pressuring governments and NGOs to practice good governance, transparency and grassroots representation.

***Watch this space for audio/visual of David Hulme’s lecture***

References and Further Reading:

Lawrence Finkelstein, ‘What is Global Governance,’ Global Governance 1 (1995).

Nicola Banks, David Hulme, Michael Edwards, ‘NGOs, States, and Donors revisited: Still Too Close for Comfort?’ World Development 66 (2015).

Duncan Green, ‘Book Review of ‘Advocacy in Conflict’ – a big attack on politics and impact of global campaigns,’ From Poverty to Power (2015).

China’s Global Reach graphic

[WEF Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Thabo Mbeki, Tony Blair, Bono, Olusegun Obasanjo - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos (2005)]

The Africa Regional Conference Marking the 40th Anniversary of Peace Studies in Bradford

Professor Kenneth Omeje is a JEFCAS Visiting Senior Research Fellow in Peace Studies, at the University of Bradford. He is the author of War to Peace Transition: Conflict Intervention and Peacebuilding in Liberia (2009), and is a Professor of International Relations at the United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya.

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The African regional conference was part of a series of anniversary events organised by the University of Bradford (UoB) to celebrate 40 years of global education for peace and hosted by Peace Studies Department on the 14th of November 2014, at Serena Hotel in Kampala, Uganda.  Focused on the theme, “Why War? Africa,” the conference was organised in collaboration with some of UoB’s John and Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies’ (JEFCAS) longstanding strategic partner institutions in Uganda namely: Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE), in Kampala; Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Makerere University, Kampala and Mbarara University of Science and Technology.

The conference goal was to bring together academics, political leaders, policy practitioners and alumni to share ideas on how to understand and end the scourge of wars in Africa. Consequently, the conference was further conceived to help develop practical solutions to build peace and reconcile bitterly divided communities in Africa. The conference research papers will result in a major edited reader on the conference theme, to be published by Routledge.

During the official opening, the keynote address was delivered by General Aronda Nyakairima, Ugandan Minister of Internal Affairs, ably represented by Col. Felix Kulayigye, UPDF Chief Political Commissar who spoke on the conference theme. Dr David Harris of the University of Bradford’s Department of Peace Studies delivered the official welcome on behalf of the Head of Department of Peace Studies Prof David Francis. Dr Arthur Bainomugisha, Executive Director of ACODE, gave an official welcome address on behalf of the Ugandan co-hosting partner institutions. About 100 participants attended the official opening and over 50 participants stayed back for the rest of the conference academic and policy research business.

The conference was divided into 5 plenaries, each with a designated chair and focusing on a sub-theme of the conference.  Ten papers were presented and discussed at the Conference; a few of the papers were co-authored. The papers focused on a broad range of topics such as the cost of war in Africa, the role of regional institutions in promoting peace and security on the continent, peacebuilding and security sector reforms in post-conflict areas, the role of youth and women in armed conflict, etc.

The conference ended with a cultural night and cocktail graced by African cultural dance and performance. General Caleb Akandwanaho, Presidential Advisor on Military Affairs performed the official closing in which he was tasked to present a paper titled: ‘From a Freedom Fighter to a Civilian; a Personal Experience.’  The General retitled his stimulating paper to read: “From Military Freedom Fighter to Democratic Freedom Fighter.” There was a stimulating question and answer session after the General’s paper presentation as in all the conference plenaries.

Dr David Harris gave an official vote of thanks to mark the end of the conference. Ugandan National TV Broadcast on the conference is available on Utube on the following link: http://ntv.co.ug/news/local/14/nov/2014/experts-say-african-union-weak-security#sthash.95CJoueR.dpbs

Sierra Leone and Ebola: A Disaster Waiting to Happen

[Image Credit: European Commission DG ECHO_Sierra Leone: into the Ebola epicentre (2014)]

The latest contribution from JEFCAS on Sierra Leone was a presentation by Ebola doctor returnee Professor John Wright, epidemiologist from Bradford Royal Infirmary.  He addressed an audience of hospital and university staff, students and members of the public at the university on Monday 9th February 2015, on Ebola : Experiences in Global Emergency.

He gave firsthand experience of setting up and running an Ebola clinic in the more rural areas, and put this work in a country and development context.

A packed earlier panel discussion, held in December 2014 in the university, had brought together peace studies, medical and African expertise in setting the Ebola scene, which by then was at its awful peak.

Although much has been written and said about Sierra Leone as a country over last decades, it could be said that the Ebola outbreak was a disaster waiting to happen.  Indeed, Professor Wright showed that, over the world, there had been some twenty Ebola epidemics over the last 40 years. Most had been very small but some were significant, with the latest being to a very great extent the most serious. Clearly, Sierra Leone and neighbouring countries Liberia and Guinea were unable to cope.

To recap in time.

Sierra Leone has been at or near the bottom of the Human Development Index for decades. Of course, there was the original exploitation of the area in colonial times, a point highlighted in an incongruous way by the small town named Bradford (see image).  The story goes that in the 19th century a Scottish engineer from Bradford – name unknown – was helping to build a railway (to help export materials away to the UK). The villagers could not pronounce his name (or perhaps were not able to understand his accent!) so called him ‘Mr Bradford’.  The name was eventually used for the local area.

Bradford village in Sierra Leone   Prof John Wright image

[Image credit: Bradford village in Sierra Leone, Prof John Wright image (2014)]

In the last two or three decades there have been UK aid programmes, including substantial VSO trainers on a wide variety of topics.  But the civil war 1991-2002 put paid to that.

In retrospect, the British military contribution to the ending of that war may well have helped continue the UK’s later aid linkages with that country, in small and in large ways.

The devastation caused by the war meant that both the physical infrastructure was incapacitated, as was the people infrastructure.  There were grossly insufficient numbers of both able-bodied people and also of those with health, administrative and other expertises necessary for running a country.

On top of that, during the mid-2000s, the peacetime indigenous birth rate boomed. This, together with the numbers of returning refugees from abroad, meant that the demand for everything rocketed, health requirements for the new infants in particular. But these needs could not be met.

Perhaps it’s not surprising in these circumstances that things can go very wrong, and affect the wider world as well.

However, Bradford in the UK has been helping, alongside many others. In the current Ebola situation, its leading health professor, as said above, went to assist.

A couple of other ways of helping were made too – one minor and one major example.

The minor one was an attempt to have a local authority twinning, in 2004, between the two Bradford’s in the two countries.  The primary purpose was as consciousness-raising of the Sierra Leonean town in the Bradford UK, and hopefully to raise money and expertise to assist Bradford Sierra Leone.  Although the attempt was given publicity in the UK, and a civic reception held at which Peace Studies students attended with the Bradford Lord Mayor, the idea was unfortunately not taken up.

The major one was the establishment in Freetown from 2011 of the UNESCO-affiliated African Peace University project, led by Bradford Peace Studies’ David Francis. This is helping to rebuild civic society, and much besides.

Much more will need to be done on many other fronts, of course.

Perhaps a lesson from a Peace Studies perspective is to make sure we (re)build the peace in a big way soon after war, rather than just let countries drift.  Not only building it economically but socially through trained people to do the health, education and the other elements to a society. If the £1 billion spent of the Ebola crisis had been used before to enhance the country’s infrastructure then, who knows, there might have been no outbreak at all.

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Peter Nias is an Honorary Visiting Research Fellow in Peace Studies at the University of Bradford. Initially an urban planner and an economic and social researcher in Telford, he then spent six years in Namibia just after the end of apartheid to help the country to defeat that legacy.  In Bradford he helped run The Peace Museum, an independent charitable trust, from 2000-2010, particularly creating exhibitions that travelled the UK and the world.  He has co-written a book about Manningham, Bradford, and a number of articles for Discover Society.   He is currently researching collateral damage and human rights.

Further reading/resources:

Audio of Professor John Wright’s lecture

Presentation on UNESCO African Peace University Initiative 

Upcoming JEFCAS Seminars

‘The politics of regenerative nationalism in South Africa”

Presented by Dr Alex Beresford, Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds

Date: tbc                                          Location: Cr training room, Pemberton

‘Food Security + Fishing: Development Issues from Lake Victoria’

Presented by Judith Appleton, MBE

Judith Appleton MBE is a University of Bradford Associate who has worked for over 30 years in nutrition and food security for INGOs, bilateral agencies, the UN and the World Bank.

When: Wednesday, February 29th        Location: Cr training room, Pemberton

‘Children for Sale? Understanding Post-Conflict Child Trafficking’

Presented by Job Akuni, JEFCAS Research Assistant

Date: Tuesday, March 6th 2pm-3.30pm, Where: Cr training room, Pemberton