Call for Papers: Academic Conference on Africa – “Redefining African Futures: The State, Resilience, and Pathways to Progress”

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Call for Papers: Academic Conference on Africa – “Redefining African Futures: The State, Resilience, and Pathways to Progress”

The Association of African Universities invites its member universities to respond to this call and to actively participate in this important upcoming conference.  Read more via the conference website –

To strengthen African representation in global development scholarship and ensure African scholars’ voices contribute to key exchanges shaping the continent’s future, the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA), in collaboration with the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), is launching the Academic Conference on Africa to present research and analysis on issues related to development, peace, humanitarian action, and human rights in Africa.

The event to be held in-person from 5 to 7 December 2023 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York with additional participation via Zoom – is open for the submission of original research papers, case studies and policy analyses that align with the conference themes while providing innovative insights, fresh perspectives, and actionable recommendations.

Multidisciplinary papers are welcome and the conference organizers will provide funding to support the travel and accommodations of authors selected to present their submissions at the conference. Following the conference, authors will expand their short papers into full-length articles for publication and accepted manuscripts will be eligible for publication in a forthcoming academic publication to be launched in 2024.

The focus of the event will be on the following themes:

Theme 1: African Governance: Assessing the State of the State

At the heart of Africa’s evolving narrative lies the concept of “The State” — its successes, its shortcomings, and its profound impact on the lives of millions.  Academics, policymakers, and thought leaders are invited to critically examine the state’s role in Africa’s development, peace and security landscape.

Possible areas of discussion include, but are not limited to:

  • Historical Context: Explore Africa’s historical journey and its influence on contemporary statehood.
  • Democracy’s Delivery: In-depth consideration of whether and to what extent prevalent modes of democracy have delivered upon their promises in Africa.
  • Prioritizing African Governance: Concrete discussions about what African governments should prioritize and what support for governance should look like from the multilateral system and development partners.

Theme 2: Complexities of Resilience in Africa: Expanding the Perspective

Resilience is a common thread across development, peace and security, human rights, and humanitarian action, and thus is increasingly emphasized in global discourse related to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  While multilateral discussions around resilience have largely centred around government-led mechanisms, there are many other facets of resilience embedded in the cultural fabric of Africa.  Academics, policymakers and thought leaders are invited to explore Africa’s unique strengths in resilience, which are often overlooked in these discussions, while also analyzing how resilience on the continent can be strengthened to address the challenges on the horizon.

Possible areas of discussion include, but are not limited to:

  • Beyond Western Perspectives: Looking beyond the Western-centric approach to acknowledge Africa’s strengths in resilience, including, for example, in social protection.
  • Cultural Resilience: Discuss the profound role of history, culture and other areas of humanities in understanding, building and sustaining resilience.
  • Redefining African Futures: Explore how resilience can be harnessed as a force for positive change, turning crises into opportunities for growth.

If interested, please submit a proposal abstract in English, French or Portuguese via email to, including the following information:

  • The author’s name, nationality, affiliation and contact details, including email address and phone number
  • A 500- to 1,000-word proposal in a Word or PDF document (no other file format will be accepted)
  • The author’s CV, including a list of relevant publications in a Word or PDF document (no other file format will be accepted)

A complete proposal must be sent by 18 October 2023.

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