On 16-18 November 2016, the China-Africa Knowledge Project (CAKP) in collaboration with the Social Science Research Council’s African Peacebuilding Network (APN) and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), held the China-Africa Peace and Security Research Cluster Fellowship Capstone Seminar in Addis Ababa. As part of the pilot China-Africa Peace and Security Research Fellowship, the seminar brought together the six Chinese scholar fellows, African counterparts from their host institutions (AFSC Nairobi office, Institute for Peace and Security Studies, the University of Kinshasa and the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association), in addition to over twenty leading Chinese and African scholars and civil society representatives. The seminar sought to discuss the fellows’ field research ahead of the completion of their final research papers and situate their research within the wider policy debates on peace and security within the United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU). The seminar aimed to further integrate the junior Chinese scholars into important networks of peace and security scholars and experts in Africa, strengthen links between their home institutions and African counterparts, and provide African institutions and scholars with the opportunity to expand their networks among Chinese research communities.
The fellows presented findings and preliminary conclusions from their respective field research. Two of the fellows’ research discussed the evolving nature of multilateral peace operations within the contexts of the United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). The remaining fellows’ research focused on the role of private enterprises in conflict settings within the contexts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nairobi and Zimbabwe. Within the framework of the fellows’ research papers, participants engaged in discussions on a number of themes including the future for UN-AU cooperation, examples and best practices in linking research to policy, and broadening perspectives on peacebuilding, with a particular emphasis on gender and civil society. On the final day, participants shared their reflections on the program and identified potential future research needs.