DLP shares research at FCO Africa Study Day
DLP research on armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo featured in a day-long discussion of current academic thinking on Africa with UK diplomats and civil servants, held on 21 March 2017. The Africa Study Day is an annual FCO event, and this year it was organised by the University of Birmingham’s International Development Department (IDD), home to DLP’s UK research team.
The study day, held at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, was opened and attended by Tobias Ellwood MP, Minister for the Middle East and Africa, and Neil Wigan, the FCO’s Africa Director. Other participants included representatives of the Cabinet Office, the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence.
Dr Jonathan Fisher, IDD’s Senior Lecturer in African Politics and Honorary Research Fellow in the FCO’s Africa Research Group 2013-14, served as chair and organiser. With colleagues from Birmingham, he developed a programme that reflected the university’s wide-ranging research on the African continent.
DLP research fellow Dr Suda Perera was among the speakers. She discussed findings from her research that show how aspects of the ‘standard’ liberal peacebuilding toolkit used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been co-opted to serve elites’ narrow interests.
Three other members of IDD – Professors Paul Jackson and Nic Cheeseman and Dr Susan Dodsworth – took part. They were joined by Dr Berny Sebe, a Senior Lecturer in UoB’s Modern Languages Department, by colleagues from fellow Midlands institutions Warwick and Loughborough, and by researchers from Royal Holloway and SOAS. Topics ranged from statebuilding in East Africa to security sector reform in Sierra Leone.
Following the event, Dr Fisher said, “It was fantastic to bring together talented colleagues from Birmingham and elsewhere to engage key Africa policy-makers on our research, and on the key issues facing the African continent.
“The day was filled with exciting and challenging discussions and exchanges around politics, security and the UK’s relationship with Africa. We look forward to continuing these conversations with colleagues from Whitehall.”
Image: Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the venue for the Africa Study Day (Sgt Brian Gamble/Crown Copyright 2013).