The Third Annual Peace Studies & International Development Conference for Africanist Doctoral Students and Early Post-Doctoral Career Scholars and Practitioners hosted by JEFCAS took place at the Bright Building University of Bradford on 11th May 2017.
The Theme for the conference was Resources, Conflict and Development in Africa.
The Conference provided a platform where Africanist researchers from various continents of the globe including Africa, Asia and Europe could exchange ideas and engage in critical intellectual debates across the spectrum of the conference theme.
Professor David Francis, Director of JEFCAS gave a thought provoking speech that provided an appropriate atmosphere for further intellectual discussions by the various panellists and presenters. The conference was closed with a well-articulated presentation by Professor Kenneth Omeje, Senior Research Fellow at JEFCAS that provided a well-rounded summation of the issues discussed at the Conference.
Below are some of the captured moments from the conference:
Venue: Pemberton Room 2.11
Date: Wed 22nd March 2017
Time: 16:00 – 18:00
Speaker: Martin Plaut (Institute of Commonwealth Studies)
About Martin Plaut:
Martin Plaut is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and author of “Understanding Eritrea” published by Hurst October 2016. The book explains how the country operates and why President Isaias Afwerki has retained in power. His main research interests and publication include Civil Rights, Colonies & Colonization, emigration & immigration, International Relations, Modern History, Political Institutions, Socialism, Communism, and Anarchism. Mr. Plaut research focus is Africa in general, South Africa and Horn of Africa in Particular.
Promoting Peace Education in Somalia Universities: Experiences and insights
Somalia has been a failed state and without a central government for many years. War has traumatised Somali society, and destroyed its national institutions, infrastructure, social foundations positive ethos, communal trust, community spirit, solidarity, sense of hope and prevented meaningful dialogue. Somalia’s youth have grown up in a country where violence is the norm. This, combined with poverty and the complex problems of a post-conflict society has resulted in a large number of disenfranchised youth who are vulnerable to recruitment by extremist and criminal groups. This project aims to inspire Somali youth and restore a sense of hope, confidence and trust through a process of positive dialogue, reconciliation, building healthy relationships and learning non-violent communication methods.
About Dr Yusuf Sheikh Omar & Khadijo Osman: Yusuf Sheikh Omar holds PhD from La Trobe University. He is a writer, a poet, peace activist. He worked as a teacher at Victoria University, as a researcher at University of Melbourne and Victorian Transcultural Mental Health focusing on Khat Use in the Horn of African community in Victoria and on Emotional wellbeing of the Horn of African Muslim men. His research focuses on social integration of young Somalis living in the western countries. Dr Khadijo Mohamed Osman has a PhD from University College London, School of Pharmacy, UK.
Venue: Pemberton Room 2.11
Date: Wed 25 January 2017
Time: 16:00 – 18:00
Speaker: Dr Paul Higate,
University of Bristol: Beyond Radicalisation: Gendered Assemblages and Migrations of Violence.
About Dr Paul Higate: Dr Higate is a reader in Gender and Security School for Sociology, Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol. His research focuses on the gendered culture of the military and militarised masculinities in the substantive contexts of: the transition of military personnel to civilian life, United Nations peacekeeping and most recently private security contractors. Dr Higate has an interest in developing innovative and inter-disciplinary informed ways in which to theorise security, drawing on human geography, critical geopolitics, sociology and cultural studies.
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.
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.
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: email@example.com
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
An Academic-Practitioner Dialogue on Peace in the 21st Century: 5-6 September 2016, University of Bradford
Fourth July 2016 marks the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Adam Curle, peace scholar, Quaker activist international mediator and Founding Chair of Peace Studies at Bradford. To mark the occasion, Bradford’s Peace Studies Division is hosting the Adam Curle Centenary Symposium. Academics and practitioners around the world are invited to a dialogue on peace in the 21st Century in the light of Curle’s philosophy and practice.
Curle’s approach to Peace Studies was interdisciplinary, drawing on an academic career that spanned anthropology, psychology, education and development. It was also practical , reflecting experience in peacemaking and development in India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and the Balkans. These academic disciplines and practical experiences informed his conception of “peaceful relationships”, which he regarded as key to understanding peace and conflict at different levels, from the quest for individual peace to the negotiation of settlements to interstate wars.
Curle drew further inspiration from a range of religious teachings, particularly those of Tibetan Buddhism and he remained a member of the Society of Friends and much of his peace work was conducted with the support of the Quakers. He used these to inform a trenchant critique not only of what he called the “futility” of violence, but also of the materialism and ignorance which he regarded as underlying it. This prompted Curle to regard the broad promotion of development and education as intimately connected to the practice of peacemaking and mediation.
Curle’s emphasis on “peaceful relations” is a highly original theorisation of approaches to peace practice, and it has informed the ethos of Peace Studies at Bradford, which Curle created in 1973. In his book, Tools for Transformation, Curle divided his work into three broad strands: peacemaking, social change/development and education, and these will be the three streams of the Centenary Symposium, alongside one on arts and peace to reflect the importance Curle, a musician and poet, gave the arts in peacemaking.
The symposium aims to strengthen interdisciplinary and practice-oriented explorations of peaceful relations in the 21st Century and to assess the ongoing relevance of Curle’s ideas to the challenges the world faces today.
Professor David Francis visited the Mount Kenya University in Nairobi, and the University main campus in Thika between 27- 28 June, 2016, where he held meetings with the University Vice Chancellor Professor Stanley Wando and other Senior administrators on the prospect for capacity –building partnership with the University of Bradford.
The envisioned partnership will support the development of curricula in context-relevant areas of Peace and Security studies starting with the Master of Science in Peace and Social Enterprise, an international conference on Peace and Security in Africa, as well as an International Journal of Peace and Social Enterprise.
MKU offers a variety of programmes in peace and security studies through its Institute of Security Studies, Justice and Ethics. University of Bradford’s Department of Peace Studies, which Professor Francis heads, celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2014. The two institutions have agreed to work together on Staff capacity training/mentorship and exchange programmes. “Lack of information on available opportunities has been a hindrance to African academics,” said Professor Waudo. “But this relationship opens a treasure trove of information. Our staff, for instance, will now have information on Commonwealth scholarships available.” Professor David is a Commissioner for the UK Commonwealth Scholarship Commission.
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:
- H.E. Dr Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia
- Professor Brian Cantor, Vice Chancellor, University of Bradford
- H.E. Ato Shiferaw Shigutie, Ethiopian Federal Minister of Education
- Dr Getachew Engida, UNESCO Deputy Director-General, Paris
- Dr Admasu Tsegaye, Addis Ababa University President, Ethiopia
- Professor Donna Lee. Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Bradford
- Professor David Francis, Head, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford
- Dr Alhaji Sarjoh Bah, Head Crisis Management and Post-Conflict Reconstruction Division, Peace and Security Department, African Union Commission, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
- Peter Hare, Peacekeeping English Project Adviser, British Council, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
- Selamawit Alemayehu, Regional Programme Manager, Schools Programme, Sub-Saharan Africa, British Council, Nairobi, Kenya
- Prof Pamela Machakanja, Director, Institute for Peace, Leadership and Governance, Africa University, Mutare, Zimabawe
- Dr Arthur Bainomugisha, Executive Director, Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, Kampala, Uganda
- 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.
As the African Union (AU) prepares for the election of the Commission Chairman following deadlock in the last January election that failed to produce a clear majority winner, attention of analyst are firmly focused on what would transpire in the election game particularly with the divide within the commission. In a short publication, Franz Wild and William Davison argues that division in the Commission could only spell division, doom and pervasive crisis in the continent. In as much as it is important to look at the dangers of division especially between the two major powers in the continent, it is as equally important to ponder if actually there is Unity in the AU as symbolic to the name African Union.
Here I present a quick poser on the decision of Malawi not to host the Summit and the implication for the unity of African Union as a continental body. On June 8th, Malawi announced its decision not to host the AU summit because of the commission’s insistence that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir who is allegedly indicted for genocide, ethnic cleansing and other crimes against humanity by ICC will attend the Summit. Dr Jide Okeke reflects on the division in the AU and the imperative for draft Protocol on the African Court of Justice and Human Rights in order to avert future scenario. The decision of Malawi signifies lack of unity and paints a picture of disunity within the AU. States interest and economic stability is very much a crucial factor in determining the extent to which they abide by and support the Commission’s decision, how there ought to be mechanism for ensuring state compliance with commission resolution when one particular State’s action is tantamount to betrayal especially when such decision was based on other contested international Treaty like ICC indictment on Omar al-Bashir.
I wonder therefore if ICC indictment on a serving African Head of State like the case of ICC on Omar al-Bashir supersedes the Commission’s resolution? Should Member State act contrary to the Commission’s resolution and recognition? How could AU avert such embarrassing outcome in future? Do we need an expansion of role and functions of the African Court of Justice? Is there a need for an African Protocol restricting Member States from acting contrary to AU resolution in favour of an internal contested Protocol? I leave the answer to you.