Research at the ALC is grounded in the understanding that leadership is fundamental to security and development in Africa. Its overall purpose is to establish a base of knowledge that shapes how African societies and their leaders respond to the challenges that can hamper peace, stability, security and development in Africa. To this end, the ALC’s research agenda undertakes a wholesale examination of leadership at both conceptual and operational levels. It seeks to distinguish between the dimensions of leadership highlighted in the literature and the ways in which leadership is defined and contextualized in the examination of the security and development situations in Africa. This research agenda also engages leadership processes within various strata of society in situations where issues of insecurity pose challenges to peace and development in Africa. By examining leadership decisions and processes that promote or hinder security in these contexts, we aim to develop a knowledge base for evidence-based leadership that facilitates security and development in African societies.
Research at the ALC in the last few years has been undertaken by Fellows as part of their attachment experience, and by ALC staff – through individual and joint research projects. The ALC aims to connect Fellows, staff and select Mentors and Alumni through joint research projects, the most recent one being on peace and state building in Africa (funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre, IDRC).
In addition, the Working Group methodological approach naturally brings together and connects researchers with valuable end user communities, not least policy practitioners, while contributing to the validation of research findings. A similar approach underpins the research partnership between the ALC and the African Peacebuilding Network of the Social Science Research Council.
ALC/APN Research Partnership
The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) is a core institutional partner of the African Leadership Centre (ALC) through its African Peacebuilding Network (APN). The objective of the APN is to support independent African research in conflict affected countries and regions of the continent. The APN promotes the visibility of African peacebuilding knowledge in global and regional centres of scholarly analysis and practical action. It aims to make this knowledge accessible to key policymakers at the United Nations and other multilateral, regional, and national policymaking institutions. It seeks to do this by improving the quality and enlarging the scale of African research, consolidating the contributions of African researchers and analysts, and connecting African researchers, policy analysts, practitioners, and networks with each other and with policymaking communities around the world. The African Peacebuilding Network Hub (APN-Hub) is the joint programme of these two institutions. The APN provides support for the APN-Hub which is located in, and administered by, the ALC. The APN-Hub commitment is to advance African debates on peacebuilding and promote African perspectives through various activities organized in Africa, in cooperation with African research organizations and networks. In order to advance African perspectives on peacebuilding the APN-Hub networks African researchers working in this area by building their methodological capacities and dissemination of their research products. In addition, the APN-Hub runs ALC’s research programme on Leadership and Peacebuilding in Africa whose aim is to strengthen national and regional centres working on peacebuilding issues by providing them with academically rigorous, evidence-based and policy-relevant research to support their initiatives. In order to accomplish this, the APN-Hub, through the ALC, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the East African Community (EAC). This partnership is based on a successful collaboration between members of East African Legislative Assembly’s (EALA) Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution Committee and the ALC’s Research Working Group on Leadership and Peacebuilding in Africa. The MoU is managed by the EALA on behalf of the EAC and it seeks as its primary objectives the co-convening of forums, dialogues and debates on regional security in East Africa, the provision of better access to knowledge and expertise relevant to the regional and pan-African peace and security agenda and the injection of skills within the EALA and related institutions and organs.
The ALC research agenda is comprised of the following research themes (working groups):
- Youth, Peace and Security
- New Narratives of Peace and Statebuilding
- Outliers in Peacebuilding
- Peacebuilding operational and policy spaces in Africa
- The Political Economy of Peacebuilding in Africa
- Leadership and Society
- Resilience Innovation
- Gender, Peace and Security
- Leadership and Higher Education in Africa
- Governance, Security and Justice
- Mapping Study 2010