ESA-SSA and the University of Pretoria’s very own Dickson Ajisafe has returned to South Africa after successfully completing a postgraduate research exchange year at the University of Konstanz in Germany. Dickson left his mark on Europe, swiftly achieving a number of firsts, including as first Nigerian scholar to be awarded an Erasmus+ international scholarship to study in Europe, as well as the first African to be a member of several working groups attached to the Erasmus+ Student and Alumni Association (ESAA). Such has been his contribution to Erasmus+, that the ESAA magazine has dedicated its feature article to Dickson’s story. Bravo Mr Ajisafe!
Please follow this link to the story: http://www.esaa-eu.org/about/esaa-magazine/
GovInn’s Research Fellow Leon Mwamba discussed a paper titled: «Multinational Non-Governmental Organizations (MNGOs) and Bargaining Power. Translating the HC-MNE Model into an HC-MNGO One” by Mr Manfredi Valeriani from the University of Hamburg. Mr Leon Mwamba underscores that there is a growing importance of civil society potential in international dynamics despite a traditional emphasis on government elites and lobbyists as major actors. He believes that engagement of MNGOs in bargaining processes, in the case of an inclusive governance, is a transformative avenue that allows ordinary citizens not only to (re)shape or influence international political economic order, but to be also main actors of their own change driven by themselves outside of the mainstream. On that note, Mr Leon Mwamba discussed that it is also crucial to scrutinise strategies and nature of MNGOs that claim to be new terrains of participation for citizens in the bargaining process as some of them are simply manipulators or state’s wheeler-dealer organizations at the expensive of epistemic communities. Mr. Leon Mwamba suggested that the feasibility of this alternative HC-MNGOs bargaining model, in the African context, for example, will depend on the core pressing issues that the alternative model needs to address by taking into account different constraints faced by every structured or unstructured and reformist or transformer civil society organization at local and global levels. Eurocentrism should not be benchmarked by the HC-MNGO bargaining model and a case study is needed to test this alternative model.
GovInn’s Research Fellow Koen Dekeyser got included into the St Gallen Leaders of Tomorrow community at the yearly St Gallen Symposium, Switzerland. Koen was selected through the Wings of Excellence Award, one of the most prestigious student essay competitions in the world, by his essay ‘Cultivating disruption: Redefining our food system through food sovereignty’. Other participants included Timothy Garton Ash, J. Erik Fyrwald, Griffiths of Fforestfach, and Alec Ross.
Koen joined the Leader of Tomorrow community in 2016 as well.
GovInn’s Research Fellow Ruth Murambadoro presented at the HagueTalks on peace and justice.
HagueTalks is a platform that encourages critical debates about peace and justice. It is a breeding ground where creative minds, peace innovators and game changers gather to share ideas on how to advance peace and justice in various communities. On the 13th of June 2017 our Emerging Scholar Ms Ruth Murambadoro graced the stage at HagueTalks and shared her views on the topic of the day, How to get inclusive justice?. Ms Murambadoro believes that inclusive justice begins when we are able to understand that a human being is a spirit being that exists in a cosmological society comprising of the ‘living-living’, the ‘living-dead’ and the ‘living unborn’. She shared that when an injustice occurs it does not only hurt the physical body because the pain goes deep inside and destroys the spirit being. If one wants to make amends or retain the balance where there has been an imbalance, there is need to ensure that they do not only attend to the physical wounds but address the spirit because a human being is a living spirit. Therefore as a living spirit, justice is an all-encompassing process where you make sure you attend to the psychosocial and the spiritual needs of the spirit being. Justice is not a one-size-fits-all, it has to be tailor made to ensure that it meets the needs of the people that are affected by conflict. Ms Murambadoro argued that we do not have to do justice for the state or international bodies because it is the individual that is affected. Hence, before we impose our solutions to a conflict situation, we ought to give more time to understanding the depth of the wound carried by the affected parties in order to provide justice that is deep enough to unpluck the root of the wound.
Junior Research Fellow
Ikageng Maluleke was appointed as Research assistance for the Land Matrix, a global and independent land monitoring initiative, in 2015.
From 2013-2014, she worked as a teaching assistant at the department of Agricultural Economics and Rural development at the University of Pretoria. Having trained in Agricultural Economics and Business Management (UP) in undergraduate; she proceeded to do her masters in the same field, focusing on Agribusiness (UP). During her MSc, she had the opportunity to go on an exchange program at the University of Gent, where she did a few courses in development, Agriculture and rural policy, marketing, and project management in a dynamic setting. In her spare time she enjoys travelling and doing community service.
- Large-scale land acquisitions and investments
- Land conflicts
- Transparency in land governance
- Rural development, food security and nutrition
- Agribusiness and trade policy
- Governance of the Commons
Master Research project
Title: Grain Planting Progress Report: The potential benefits for the South African grain industry
Between 11 – 13th of May, junior researcher Koen Dekeyser was invited to debate the alternatives to economic growth at the 46th St Gallen Symposium in Switzerland. The St Gallen Symposium is a yearly meeting of young academics, entrepreneurs, market and political leaders. Around 100 young academics were selected on about 900 essays, in which Koen got invited with his writing titled ‘Cooperation outcompetes competition’. During the three days, the current social and ecological impacts of growth, both the good and the bad, were debated together with the future direction of economic growth/degrowth. Speakers included Dambisa Moyo and Tim Jackson, amongst others.
GovInn is proud to announce the election of junior researcher Ruth Murambadoro to the prestigious Africa Studies Association (ASA) Board of Directors. Founded in 1957 the ASA is the leading organisation of African Studies in North America with its headquarters at Rutgers University, New Jersey. Ruth will serve as the Emerging Scholar Representative-elect commencing at the Fall-semester meeting of the Board.
Ruth’s work has previously been recognised by the ASA as well as African Studies Centre, Leiden. She was also a recipient of the ASA’s Presidential Fellowship in 2015 and was shortlisted for the Africa Thesis Award in the same year. As the ASA Presidential fellow she presented lectures at the University of Louisville, Kentucky and a conference paper at the 58th ASA Conference in San Diego, California. She is also a recipient of the African Pathways NIHSS-CODESRIA doctoral fellowship (2015/16) and the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa fellowship (2015).
For the full announcement follow the link here.
The results of the study, “Analysis of the perception of the EU and of the EU’s policies abroad” have been published. The study was conducted by the PPMI (Public Policy Management Institute), NRCE (National Research Centre for Europe) and NFG-Asian Perception of the EU in partnership with TNS Global. The report aims to provide a better understanding of the perception of the EU and EU’s policies primarily in ten EU strategic partner countries. GovInn junior researcher Kirsty Agnew and GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti were invited to participate in the project.
In developing a baseline on the perception of the EU, the study also aims to improve the ability to assess the results of our future actions in the field of Public Diplomacy and beyond. Through its findings and recommendations, this study also aims at contributing to HRVP’s (High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission) efforts that will lead to the new EU Global Strategy.
This study is particularly relevant for staff in the delegations in the 10 strategic partner countries and EEAS (European External Action Service) desks covering those countries and for those involved in communication and public diplomacy activities in third countries
To access the report follow the link here