Project Leaders: Suzanne Cherry

The Africa Initiative (AI) is a multi-year, donor-supported project undertaken by CIGI in cooperation with the South African Institute of International Affairs. Launched in 2008, it creates knowledge-sharing opportunities, building capacity in Africa with a focus on five thematic areas: conflict resolution, energy, food security, health and migration, with special attention paid to the crosscutting issue of climate change.

The AI has three main components:

The research program supports innovative field-based research in the social and physical sciences. It aims to inform and influence African policy making and contribute to the body of research on topics of importance to the continent.

The exchange program supports short-term academic placements for African- and Canadian-based scholars undertaking research on Africa. Each year, the program offers highly motivated graduate students an opportunity to carry out research in a cross-cultural experience.

The Africa Portal is an online knowledge resource for policy-related issues on Africa. It equips users with research and information and provides a platform to publish work on areas of concern to policy makers and the public.

CIGI and AI release new research through a Policy Brief Series and Discussion Paper Series. The Policy Brief Series presents analysis and commentary emerging from field-based research on issues critical to the continent. Findings and recommendations in this peer-reviewed series aim to inform policy making and to contribute to the overall African research enterprise. The Discussion Paper Series presents policy-relevant, peer-reviewed, field-based research that promotes discussion and advances knowledge on issues relevant to policy makers and opinion leaders in Africa. Papers in this series are written by experienced African and Canadian researchers, and have gone through the grant review process. In select cases, papers are commissioned studies supported by the research program.

As of December 2013, the Exchange Program and Research Program have concluded; no further calls for applications will be issued.  The Africa Initiative looks forward to announcing new directions for its 2014-2018 programming, in the coming months.

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Schooling builds peace, right? The complicated answer from Rwanda

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
The Washington Post
"My book, “From Classrooms to Conflict in Rwanda,” argues that formal schooling – which we very dominantly tend to think about, not only in Rwanda, but globally, as a tool for building peace – often actually underlies conflict," writes Elisabeth King.

Seeds of genocide were planted in Rwanda's schools

Thursday, April 10, 2014
The Globe and Mail
"In the decades leading up to the Rwandan genocide, classroom teaching contributed to Hutu and Tutsi thinking about themselves as meaningfully different, unequal, and diametrically opposed groups," says Elisabeth King, Africa Initiative Consultant.

The Local Livelihood Implications of Biofuel Development and Land Acquisitions in Zimbabwe

March 31, 2014
Africa Initiative Discussion Paper No. 11
Gladman Thondhlana
Proponents of “green and clean” fuel have argued that a transition to biofuel could result in significant economic and environmental benefits, including local job creation, and less reliance on fossil fuel and energy imports, and come with minimal negative impacts on the environment.

Spotlight on Africa’s ‘quiet revolution’ at next CIGI lecture

Thursday, March 20, 2014
Media Advisory
Margaret S. McMillan, associate professor of economics at Tufts University, will discuss Africa’s recent modernization, at the next Signature Lecture at CIGI.

From Classrooms to Conflict in Rwanda

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
This April will mark the twentieth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide — a tragic experience in modern history when the international community failed to take moral and political action. To reflect on the anniversary, we speak to Elisabeth King, a consultant with CIGI’s Africa Initiative and author of the new book From Classrooms to Conflict in Rwanda.
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