Inaugural Lecture: Professor 'Funmi Olonisakin
Leadership and “Conversation” in Dialogue: Securing Peace in the Unromantic Context
by Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy (SSPP), King's College London
Stable peace continues to elude societies grappling with cycles of violent conflict and general insecurity. About half of the situations where the United Nations has intervened to bring about peace have experienced violent relapse. Liberal peace building has only delivered mixed results. Yet a suitable alternative is yet to emerge. This lecture will argue for new thinking and approach to building peace that places “Leadership” and “Conversation” at its core. These seemingly simple, every day buzzwords mean something profound and transforming in the hardheaded context of recurring violence. Conversation becomes the compass for leadership and the barometer for peace. This compels a shift in emphasis away from an idealized approach to the harsh realities of conflict-torn societies.
About Professor 'Funmi Olonisakin
’Funmi Olonisakin is Vice-President/ Vice-Principal (International) and Professor of Security, Leadership & Development at the African Leadership Centre (ALC) in the School of Global Affairs at King’s College London. She established and acted as the founding director of the ALC, which aims to build the next generation of African scholars and analysts generating cutting edge knowledge for conflict, security and development in Africa.
For over twenty years, Professor Olonisakin has researched issues at the intersection of security and development, positioning her work to serve as a bridge between academia, policy and practice. She has contributed to efforts to tackle the structural roots of armed conflict in developing countries, particularly in Africa. In the last decade, she has led multi-country research projects on Reframing narratives of peace and state building in Africa and on Leadership and Peace building in Africa. Her current research is on Future Peace and the role of the State in Africa. She serves on the Editorial Board of five Journals including Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organisations and Stability Journal.
The University of Pretoria, South Africa, appointed Professor Olonisakin as an Extra-Ordinary Professor in 2016, following an earlier award as a Mellon Foundation Distinguished Scholar on Peace and Conflict in 2013. The Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) also appointed her as a Distinguished Fellow in April 2014. She was Director of the Conflict, Security and Development Group at King’s College London from 2003 until 2013. Prior to this, she worked in the Office of the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, overseeing the Africa programme. In this role, she facilitated the establishment of the National Commission for War Affected Children in Sierra Leone and the Child Protection Unit in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
'Funmi Olonisakin is a founding member of the African Security Sector Network (ASSN) and served as its West African Regional Coordinator from 2008 until 2012. She was a member of the Founding Board of the Tana High Level Forum on Security in Africa from 2012 until 2016 and currently Chairs the International Advisory Board of the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI).
In January 2015, Professor Olonisakin was appointed by the then United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, as one of seven members of the Advisory Group of Experts (AGE) on the Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture. She is currently a member of the UN Group of Experts for the Global Study of Youth, Peace and Security.
The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception for all guests from 19.40 - 21.00.