"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)


catching up

So. Things have been busy, both in Africa and here at TiA HQ. First there was the Great Lakes Policy Forum on advocacy and the DRC, then President Obama up and sent American forces to Uganda to fight the LRA, the SEC had a round table on conflict minerals, and, just to keep things interesting, Kenya invaded Somalia. A few brief thoughts on each:
  • Conflict Minerals: The GLPF was very interesting, and, like the SEC round table, revealed that there are wide gulfs in ideas from advocates, Congolese citizens, the Congolese Diaspora, and industry as to what needs to happen moving forward with the implementation of Dodd-Frank section 1502. I particularly appreciated Search for Common Ground's efforts to bring together these diverse perspectives in closed sessions on the afternoons of the GLPF conference. However, there is a huge amount of disagreement on things like a timeline for implementation, what to do about the huge number of now-unemployed miners (which Congolese civil society leaders familiar with the artisanal mining sector estimate to be in the 1-2 million range), and what the rules should be for issues as varied as recycled materials, gold, and companies that have tens of thousands of suppliers.
  • The LRA. I'm with Wronging Rights on this one; it passes the Love Actually Test and isn't likely to do harm. Contrary to what many Ugandans and others in the region think, the commitment of 100 Special Forces troops in an advisory capacity to track down a really bad guy is not a front for getting Uganda's oil. (Those contracts are almost certainly already for sale to the highest bidder.) Despite divisions within the LRA ranks, this is one of the few instances in which taking out the leader of a movement will largely destroy the organization. It poses a minimal risk to US forces and has the potential to do a lot of good. That said, I think it will still be very difficult to get Joseph Kony, and we shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking that elite American troops will ultimately be able to get him. Kony has a number of tactical advantages and he knows the terrain incredibly well. Satellite surveillance, drones, and the like won't work as he often tends to hang out in areas with triple-canopy tree coverage. It won't be easy, but I don't think this will hurt.
  • Kenya/Somalia. It was bound to happen sooner or later, what with the increasingly intolerable massive security threat just over the border. But Kenya's decision to invade in support of Somalia's TFG was somewhat surprising, to put it mildly. But it makes sense; somebody had to take decisive action in Somalia, and with the boots-on-the-ground support they're getting from Ethiopia and the US/French air support (nobody really knows), it might succeed in wiping out a good bit of al Shabaab. That won't lead to a functioning state in Somalia, but it might open the door to thinking about alternative forms of governance for the territory. Plus, a war might have seemed like a useful way to distract Kenyan voters from the government and opposition's ICC problem. However, if terrorist attacks keep happening in Nairobi, there's no telling how Kenyans will react at the ballot box next year. For now, most are scared and hoping for peace.


this week in atlanta

Morehouse College


A Discussion on Global Development

Dr. Raj Shah, Administrator,

US Agency for International Development

Bank of America Auditorium

The Executive Conference Center

Morehouse College

Friday, October 14, 2011

1:30 p.m.

Open to the public.


a note from APSA

This may be of interest to those of you who are political scientists studying Africa:


Workshop Leaders for the 2012 APSA Africa Workshops

Deadline: 5:00 PM ET, November 11, 2011

The American Political Science Association (APSA) is pleased to announce a call for applications from U.S.based APSA members interested in organizing a team of leaders for a two to threeweek political science workshop scheduled to take place in Africa in the summer of 2012.


Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the 2012 workshop is part of an ongoing multiyear effort to organize annual residential political science workshops in Africa, This is a major component of APSA’s efforts to facilitate the development of applied research networks linking U.S.-based scholars with colleagues overseas and to support political science communities outside the United States, (previous workshops were held in Senegal, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya). More information about the workshops can be found at the project web site, www.apsanet.org/africaworkshops.

Each workshop is led by a team of two U.S.based and two Africabased scholars and is aimed at bringing together up to 20 junior scholars residing in Africa along with 4 U.S.based advanced graduate students.

The goals of the workshops are to: (1) enhance the capacities and resources for theoretical or empirical scholarship by political scientists in Africa; (2) explore a compelling intellectual theme underpinning basic research in political science; (3) provide a forum for connecting participants with recent developments in the field; and (4) support their ongoing research. The working language of the 2012 workshop will be English.

The proposal must explain the scope of the professional ties between the prospective U.S. and Africabased workshop leaders; preference will be given to teams demonstrating substantial previous research collaboration. Workshop leaders will serve as academic directors of the project who will be responsible for all substantive content.

A modest honorarium will be provided and related expenses (meals, transportation, lodging, incidentals) will be covered. Workshop administration and logistics will be led by APSA staff in conjunction with the local partners in Africa that will be determined through close consultation with the selected team of workshop leaders.

For 2012 APSA is not specifying a local partner in advance and will expect applicants to explain and justify where and with which organization they would like to collaborate to implement the workshop. Local partner organizations will be expected to work closely with APSA on all related administrative and logistical tasks and so should be recommended carefully with an eye toward their institutional capacity and ability to support a successful residential workshop. Partners should exhibit close linkages to local institutions of higher education and research communities. Applicants are strongly encouraged to recommend local partner organizations only if they have existing relationships or know them well.

American Political Science Association


Each workshop proposal should be submitted jointly by two U.S.based APSA members who are interested in coleading the summer 2012 workshop. Applications should be in three sections:

I. Workshop Theme Proposal (12 pages)

The workshop theme proposal should provide a coherent intellectual foundation from which the substance of the workshop will flow and bind together the syllabus and readings. Any research or substantive theme in political science is welcome, but topics of broad theoretical and methodological interest that reach beyond a specific national, regional, or policy focus are preferred. The theme proposal should address how the theme and methodological questions to be raised will achieve workshop goals and incorporate new developments in the field and literature.

II. Substantive Leadership of the Workshop (35 pages)

In this section, applicants must provide detailed information on the following:

• Naming the two Africabased workshop leaders.

• A specific division of labor among the workshop leaders. For example, if different workshop leaders are to assume responsibility for a particular sections, why? How does that arrangement fit with the overall workshop progression and theme?

• Expectations of participant workloads—including anticipated amounts of reading and other work.

• A commitment to the collective intellectual leadership of the workshop—including devoting sufficient time for:

o comprehensively reviewing all participant applications

o attending weeks of the workshop in residence

o consulting regularly with APSA staff from selection through the end of the workshop

o communicating with applicants in the runup to the workshop as needed

o mentoring of participants after the workshop

• Specification of, and justification for, a workshop location and local partner organization

o Rationale for workshop location

o Overview of recommended local partner organization and relevant background

o Specification of institutional capacity of recommended local partner organization to host, support, and organize residential workshop for 30 participants—including facilities, staff, and technology

o Explanation of existing ties to and knowledge of local partner organization

III. Supplementary Information (no page limit)

This section of the application should provide:

• Recent CVs for all proposed workshop leaders.

• A discussion of any relevant experience in organizing workshops.

Application Timeline and Information

Applications should be submitted electronically to APSA in Word format, 12point font, double spaced (except for Section III, Supplementary Information, which can be single spaced) and with 1inch margins. Send applications to africaworkshops@apsanet.org by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on November 11, 2011. Selections will be announced in December 2011.

Contact Us: Send an email at africaworkshops@apsanet.org, or call Helena Saele at (202) 4832512 x112, if you have questions or would like more information about the workshops or application process.



I'm live-tweeting from the Great Lakes Policy Forum this morning. You can follow here.


This week

I'm in Washington this week for the Great Lakes Policy Forum's Stakeholders Conference on Advocacy in the Democratic Republic of Congo. You can register to attend here. The event is not for attribution, so while there will be a summary posted later, the only way to catch everything is to attend. Here's the updated list of speakers:

How the Story of Congo Gets Told
October 5th at 9:30 AM
Rome Building at SAIS

Opening Statement: Peter Lewis, Johns Hopkins, SAIS

Laura Seay, Morehouse College and Texas in Africa
Mvemba Dizolele, Stanford University
Kambale Musavuli, Friends of Congo

Advocacy and the Way Forward
October 6 at 9:30am
Kinney Auditorium, Nitze Building at SAIS

Opening Statement: Hamuli Kabarhuza Baudouin, National Coordinator, International Conference of the Great Lakes Region


Adotei Akwei, Amnesty International
Rick Goss, Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC)
Eric Kajemba, Observatoire Gouvernance et Paix (OGP)
John Prendergast, The Enough Project
Claudine Tsongo, Dynamique de Femmes Juristes


research job opportunity

Candidate Search for Research Fellows

The Makerere Institute of Social Research in Kampala, Uganda, invites applications for four Research Fellow positions in the fields of Political Studies, Cultural Studies (including literature and anthropology), Political Economy, and History. All levels of experience and all areas of specialization will be considered. Applicants must have a well-defined research agenda and a strong commitment to teaching in a graduate programme. Research Fellows will be expected to pursue original research, publish consistently in international forums, teach two graduate seminars a year, and contribute to the institutional development of MISR as a premiere research institution in Africa. Applicants should have their Ph.D. by June, 2012 in an appropriate field.

Research Fellows will be appointed for a three-year term, with the possibility of renewal. The appointments will begin in 2012 contingent upon final budgetary approval. Salary is competitive. Interviews of selected candidates will be held at the African Studies Association conference in Washington, D.C., in November, 2011. Applications will begin to be considered October 31, 2011. The search will remain open until the positions are filled. Applicants should send a letter of application, C.V., writing sample or published work, and three letters of recommendation to the MISR Director, Mahmood Mamdani, at director@misr.mak.ac.ug and mm1124@columbia.edu. Please send application materials to both addresses.

Alternatively, applications can be mailed to:

Before December 1:
Mahmood Mamdani
606 West 122nd St
New York, NY 10027

After December 1:
Makerere Institute of Social Research
Plot 1, Makerere Hill Road
P. O. Box 16022
Wandegeya, Kampala

For more information about the Makerere Institute of Social Research, please visit the website.