African peacemaking seen from below: experiments, experiences and alternatives

26-28 January 2017, Centre pour la gouvernance démocratique (CGD), Ouagadougou

Prof. Augustin Loada, Université de Ouagadougou 2
Prof. Ulf Engel, Universität Leipzig
Dr. Antonia Witt, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

African regional organizations like the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are increasingly involved in interventions within their member states. They mediate after contested elections, coups d’état and constitutional crises and they regularly observe and validate elections. In this workshop we scrutinize how such interventions are actually conducted and perceived by those either doing, cooperating with or resisting them. With case studies from Mali, Madagascar, Guinea-Bissau, the Central African Republic, and Burkina Faso we want to shed more light on the actual practices and contested, every-day politics of African peacemaking, by looking at the interactions between mediators, diplomats, political elites, and civil society actors during such interventions. We thereby seek to trace experiences and practices of African peacemaking, but at the same time critically interrogate what alternative forms of ordering would also have been possible.
The participants of this workshop are African and European scholars from various disciplinary backgrounds – anthropology, political science, peace and conflict studies, and law – as well as a few practitioners from regional and non-governmental organizations. The workshop also includes sessions with various Burkinabe political actors, civil society representatives, and youth activists, with whom we will exchange on their own experience with an African intervention in the aftermath of President Blaise Compaoré’s fall in 2014. We will also use this opportunity to reflect upon academia’s potential role for re-imagining social and political order in such crucial points in time.