November 2011 marks a month filled with stimulating forums and conferences within the African community. On November 18th the School of International & Public Affairs at Columbia University will hold the Africa Diplomatic Forum (ADF) 2011. ADF gathers African diplomats, academics, students, and activists to discuss the continent’s interests and role in international affairs. The theme of this year’s forum “The Blueprint,” will examine the challenges of identifying the necessary foundations, developing the right tools, and drawing an effective plan for building the continent of Africa in respect to its current strengths. The forum will include 6 in-depth panels discussing essential topics from Democracy in conflict to Institution building in fragile states. Keynote speaker of ADF 2011, former Prime Minister of Republic of Guinea and head of the cabinet of the Ministry of Economy and Finance- Mr. Ahmed Tidiane Souaré will address and take questions during the event.
Democracy in Conflict
This panel will discuss the state of democracy and the process of democratization in Africa, in the context of the violent conflict that so often surrounds it. Essential questions include: What is democracy and what does it mean to Africans across the continent? What are the key challenges, the critical objectives, and successful cases to draw from of democratization in nations transitioning from conflict to peace? How can democratic principles be effectively upheld in times of conflict? With conflict arising on both sides of democracy - either as a means to achieve it or as a result when it is taken hostage by the very leaders elected by it - what does this reality tell us, from a comparative historical perspective, about the state of, and prospects for, democracy in Africa? And what are the implications of the Arab Spring for the development of democracy on the continent at large?
ICT, Digital Governance, and Citizen Participation in Africa
How is Information Communication Technology (ICT) changing the landscape of media and policy in Africa? From mobile phones, to crisis mapping platforms like Ushahidi, to the recent open data initiative launched by the government of Kenya, the digital age purports to change the way information is disseminated in—and about Africa. This panel will explore the role of ICTs in encouraging transparency, strengthening media, citizen participation, and democracy in Africa.
Role of Women in Political development
This panel will discuss the roles of women in the politics of the continent, from national leadership to grass-root movements. How can women help ensure stability and growth? What are women’s roles in diplomacy? Can women help with creating stable elections? This panel will showcase successful female political leaders and action figures. Panel discussion will seek to highlight the benefits of the female perspective in African politics. The panel will also give insight to generational issues and discuss how younger political leaders are tackling African economic, political and social issues in the 21st century.
BRICS: The New Roles and Relationships for African Development
This panel will focus on the BRICS nations and assess the relevance of these economies on Africa’s growth and development. What is the viability of South Africa as a major player on the continent and around the world? What are the routes that BRICS nations have taken towards success? What were some of their challenges? What are the lessons to be gained for sustainable development in Africa, in such areas as the economy, security, politics and social welfare?
Leadership in Africa – Past, Present and Future
Bad leadership in Africa has shaped many of the continent’s current struggles. Africa can only fulfill its potential, and take its rightful place at the center of the global stage, with good leaders at the helm. But how do we tackle the burden and legacies of bad leadership? What institutional frameworks are required to hold those in power accountable? What makes good leaders, and how can they be nurtured domestically? This panel will showcase good leaders, highlight their distinctive merits, and outline the benefits of effective leadership to economic growth. It will identify key diplomatic relationships on the continent and around the world for fostering good leadership. It will highlight effective strategies for empowering and developing tomorrow’s leaders, recognizing the critical role of investing in human capital. And it will examine which resources are lacking and which are currently working to bridge the gap between youth leadership and those who hold political power.
Institution Building in fragile states
Many African states are either post-conflict or in fragile situations because of decades of poor leadership, conflict, and authoritarian rule. As a result institution building has to be implemented with a balance approach to state-building. Many problems in Africa stem from poor institutions. Governments are ineffective because institutions do not function properly. This panel will highlight the merits of institution building on African political stability. It will address specific institution weaknesses and offer recommendations for tackling problems.
Schedule - Friday 18 November 2011
The Kellogg Center 3, and 5
Room 1501: Panels 1, Room 1512: Panels 2, 4, and 6
09:00AM - 09:15AM Introduction & Welcome Note
09:15AM - 10:00AM Opening Keynote Address & Questions
10:10AM - 12:10PM Panel 1: Leadership in Africa – Past, Present and Future
Panel 2: Media and ICT
12:10PM - 01:10PM Lunch
01:20PM - 03:20PM Panel 3: Role of Women in Political Development
Panel 4: Institution Building in fragile states
03:30PM - 05:30PM Panel 5: BRICS: The New Roles and Relationships for African Development
Panel 6: Democracy in Conflict
05:40PM - 06:20PM Closing Keynote Address & Questions
06:20PM - 06:30PM Closing Remarks
Beauty Of The Dark Continent.
Just like every single one of the four million people who were forced to leave their families, cattle, and burning villages behind, she walked for hundreds of miles into the great unknown after the outbreak of civil war in Sudan in 1985, not aware if she would ever return to the place she had always called home, Read More...
DR. OLAJIDE WILLIAMS 'THE HIP HOP DOC’
“Switch it up/Put some water in the cup,” the man standing onstage alongside old-school hip-hop legends Doug E. Fresh and Artie Green raps with the swagger of a new school artist. With his tie loosely draped across his chest, his top button undone, and Ray Ban-like glasses reminiscent of B.O.B’s, Read More...