Speaker: Professor Peter Woodward (University of Reading)
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.
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.
Devon Curtis is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Emmanuel College. Her main research interests and publications deal with power-sharing and governance arrangements following conflict, UN peacebuilding, non-state armed movements in Africa, and critical perspectives on conflict, peacebuilding, and development. Her field research concentrates on the Great Lakes region of Africa, especially Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Previously, Devon worked for the Canadian government and the United Nations Staff College, and she has been a consultant for the UK Department for International Development, the Overseas Development Institute, and a Visiting Senior Advisor to the International Peace Institute. She has had fellowships at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University and at the Centre for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Emma Jones is a Programme Assistant with Advocates Coalition of Development and Environment (ACODE). In this below piece she writes about the necessity of peace perspectives in framing security in East Africa, and presents a review of a recent 2-day conference in which JEFCAS was involved.
[Image credit: European Commission_Boko Haram Displaced in Yola_June 2015]
Zaf Shah is currently in his final year of International Relations and Security Studies at the University of Bradford. He has previously advised local government on the PVE (preventing violent extremism) agenda, and has also provided training to the West Yorkshire Police on community Cohesion and Racial Awareness. His appointment as a Muslim affairs specialist allowed development and better understanding of Muslim affairs from a local community perspective. Zaf has also worked in Pakistan at a local Madrassah which gave him a valuable insight into the world of violent extremism
Over the last fifty years or so Africa’s wars have been well documented, but ironically these weren’t always wars where violent religious groups were vying for control of the region or its resources. Throughout the last fifteen years, conflict theorists and academics alike have focussed their efforts on the conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Indeed, the tide has turned and there is now a different kind of threat.
Whilst the United States and its allies had concentrated its military might in the Middle East fighting a supposed ‘war on terror’, Islamist groups such as Al Shabbab, Boko Haram and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb regrouped and took advantage of the chaotic conflict patterns in Africa. Warfare is returning to Africa through intra state religious conflicts, pitting the aforementioned violent Islamists against state powers in geographical regions of West and Central Africa in particular, along with of course the Horn and Somalia. It serves to briefly mention the difference between Islam and religionised politics of Islamism, which strives to employ religious symbols for political aims. Islamism originates from by and large a political interpretation of Islam. Therefore it is fair to say that Islamism is about political order and not faith.
Indeed, Western Analysts are now beginning to view this as a new frontier on the so-called ‘war on terror’. What couldn’t be ignored was the appearance of several African fighters in the ranks of combatants in Iraq and the success of Islamist forces firstly, gaining overall control of Somalia and secondly, engaging in a proxy war against the US and her allies. Affected African states no longer have a monopoly on power, and arguably are struggling to control the threat of terror groups from operating with relative impunity, with very few prosecutions or at least the legal framework to do the same. This of course means that state structures are weak and lack meaningful leadership to challenge this new threat.
A case in point being Nigeria, who has yet to dismantle North
Eastern Nigeria, based Boko Haram, who have been responsible for the killing of thousands of civilians and kidnappings since its inception fourteen years ago. Boko Haram and a dozen or so other terrorist groups have pledged their allegiance to Isil (Daesh) who have taken over swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria. With little or no control of terrorist groups and their ability to coordinate and attack civilians, means like the 2013 shopping mall attack in Kenya that African based Islamist terror can strike in any part of Africa at any given moment. Bangui, the Central African Republic city has probably seen the most brutal effect of sectarian conflict playing out on the streets of this once harmonious region, where Muslims and Christians lived side by side. A report released by the International Rescue Committee said that more than 6,000 people have been killed since the conflict began and more than 2.7 million people are in need of emergency assistance (WNG2015). The locals blame the hatred for one another on Islamist terror groups operating in the region.
With conflicts between Muslims and Christians playing out in a number of African countries, it is no wonder that much of Europe is now faced with a migrant crisis on its borders.
World News Group (2015) Daily Dispatches. Central African Republic still rife with conflict a year after ceasefire [Online] Asheville. Available from: http://www.worldmag.com/2015/08/ [Accessed August 10 2015]