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Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa



Codesria 2014 Democratic Governance Institute – Extension of deadline: 30th June, 2014

Extension of deadline: 30th June, 2014

Theme: Building more resilient societies: human security and risk management in Africa

Date: 04 – 15 August 2014
Venue: Dakar, Senegal

Call for Applications

The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) is pleased to announce the 2014 session of its annual Democratic Governance Institute. It therefore invites researchers to submit their applications for participation in this institute to be held from 4th to 15th August, 2014 in Dakar, Senegal. The Democratic Governance Institute, launched in 1992 by CODESRIA, is an interdisciplinary forum which every year brings together about fifteen researchers from various parts of the continent and the Diaspora, as well as some non-African scholars who are undertaking innovative research on topics related to the general theme of governance.


The activities of all CODESRIA Institutes centre on presentations made by African researchers, resource persons from the continent and the Diaspora, and participants whose applications for admission as laureates have been successful. The sessions are led by a scientific director who, with the support of the selected resource persons, ensures that the laureates are exposed to a wide range of research and policy issues. Each laureate is required to prepare a research paper to be presented during the session. The revised versions of such papers will undergo a peer review for publication by CODESRIA. The CODESRIA Documentation and Information Centre (CODICE) will provide participants with a comprehensive bibliography on the theme of the institute. Access to a number of documentation centers in and around Dakar will also be also facilitated.


The CODESRIA Democratic Governance Institute will be held in French and in English through simultaneous translation.

2014 Governance Institute: Building more resilient societies: human security and risk management in Africa
Human societies are increasingly faced with political, socio-economic, environmental and ecological risks that have brought the issue of human security in acute focus. The question of the extent to which the concept of ‘human security’ helps us make sense of the multiple and complex challenges of ensuring peoples’ wellbeing in the 21st century motivated CODESRIA to choose “Security and Democratic Governance in Africa” as the theme for the 2013 edition of the Governance Institute. The 2013 institute explored the shift from state security to human security while paying attention to the changing nature of threats in Africa. The 2014 edition of the Institute continues this reflection on human security but with increased focus on building more resilient societies.
As a global and local issue, human security is now probably the most complete expression of the interdependence and interrelatedness of human communities but also their vulnerability. The 2010 Stiglitz Report reveals that the financial crisis that hit the West in 2008 and which has spread to other parts of the world is the result of a broader and more fundamental crisis that is at once economic, political, social and environmental. Some scholars have gone further in their analysis to refer to it as a crisis of civilization, emphasizing that capitalism, in its unbridled pursuit of profit, has brought about a systematic looting of the planet’s natural resources and a breakdown of its ecosystem.
The consequences of this crisis are numerous as they continue to impact the most vulnerable societies in the world on account of the dependence on their countries on capital from developed countries that have been hit hard by the financial crisis. Security is not to be understood in its traditional sense as the state’s protection of its territorial integrity, but rather as complex and historically rooted orientations devised by societies over time in specific environments that are at once local and enmeshed in global interactions. It is these orientations that enabled societies to cope with and recover from the multitude of threats to peaceful, sustainable and healthy lives in their environments. These threats could take the form of food crises, environmental disasters, chronic and persistent poverty, inter-group violence, human trafficking, climate change, pandemics, fundamentalism of various types, etc.
The vulnerability of African societies can be understood in terms of their resilience to disasters and threats of various kinds such as the floods in Senegal, inter-ethnic conflict in the CAR, religious crisis in Mali with the upsurge of Islamic fundamentalism, or the crisis that tore asunder the political elite in South Sudan. Evidence shows that societies that have long suffered from various crises, and which take local culture into account in the management of risks, have demonstrated strong resilience capacities during dire situations. To regenerate the fertility of their soils and fight against land degradation resulting from heavy land pressure, the Mossi from the Yatenga region have unearthed and breathed life into the long-forgotten traditional practice of “zai” which consists in digging holes in soil scoured by erosion, filling them with organic matter and then sowing seeds right after the first rains. However, where new systems and modes of living were introduced without due consideration to practices embedded in long histories of societal evolution in specific environments there has been the danger of considerable damage to peoples’ lives and livelihoods.
On account of this it is worthwhile to initiate reflections on how to construct societies that are more resilient to shock or trauma of various types. As a means to identify, evaluate and rank the different risks African societies may face, the concept of “risk management” stands out as a potentially useful tool that may help societies design systems to better prevent and help them recover from threats.
All of this confronts researchers with a series of related issues and questions. Faced with the increasing vulnerability of African societies, how do we go about devising a holistic approach to augmenting their resilience at different levels? How do African populations build their social resilience in order to collectively deal with risk? What are the policies developed by states, drawing on experience at sub-regional, regional or global levels, to help societies develop their resilience? How do we formulate a gender-minded approach to the question of resilience bearing in mind that gender-based inequality significantly worsens vulnerability to disasters? How do we ensure coherent risk management at local, regional and sub-regional levels in order to ensure human security in ways that are grounded in democracy, the rule of law and human rights, peaceful conflict management and good governance?
The overarching objective of the institute is to facilitate a better comprehension of risk-management in African societies through an exploration of their levels of resilience.

The Director

CODESRIA will select a senior scholar or researcher who has been conducting research for many years on issues of human security and resilient societies in Africa to direct the 2014 Democratic Governance Institute. The director of the Institute will carry out the following tasks:

• Participate in the selection of laureates;
• Assist with the identification of appropriate resource persons;
• Interact with resource persons and laureates towards adequate preparation for the Institute;
• Design the courses for the session, including the specification of sub-themes;
• Deliver a set of lectures and conduct a critical analysis of the papers presented by resource persons and laureates;
• Submit a written scientific report on the session;

The director will (co-) edit the revised versions of the papers presented by the resource persons with a view to submitting them for publication in one of CODESRIA’s collections. He or she will also assist CODESRIA in assessing the papers presented by laureates during the Institute for publication.

Resource Persons

Lectures to be delivered during the session are intended to offer laureates an opportunity to advance their reflections on the theme of the Institute. Resource persons should therefore be senior scholars or researchers who have published extensively on the theme, and who have significant contributions to make to the debates on it. They will be expected to produce lecture materials which would stimulate laureates to engage in discussion and debate around their respective lectures and the general body of literature available on the theme.
Once selected, resource persons must:

- Interact with the director of the institute and laureates to help the latter readjust their research questions and their methodological approaches;
- Submit a copy of their course materials for reproduction and distribution to participants no later than one week before they deliver their lectures;
- Deliver their lectures, participate in debates and comment on the research proposals and the papers of the laureates;
- Review and submit the revised version of their lecture notes or research papers for publication by CODESRIA not later than two months following their presentation at the Institute.


Applicants should be PhD candidates or scholars in their early career with a proven capacity to conduct research on the theme of the institute. Intellectuals active in the policy process and/or social movements and civil society organizations are also encouraged to apply. The number of places offered by CODESRIA at each session is limited to fifteen (15). Non-African scholars who are able to raise funds for their participation may also apply for a limited number of places.

Application Procedures

Applications for the position of resource person should include:
1. An application letter;
2. A curriculum vitae;
3. Two (2) published papers
4. A proposal of not more than five (5) pages in length, outlining the issues to be covered in their three (3) proposed lectures, including one on methodological issues;

Applications for laureates should include:

1. One duly completed application form;
2. An application letter;
3. A letter indicating institutional or organizational affiliation;
4. A curriculum vitae;
5. A research proposal not more than ten (10) pages including a descriptive analysis of the work the applicant intends to undertake, an outline of the theoretical interest of the topic chosen by the applicant, the relationship of the topic to the problematic and concerns of the theme of the 2014 Institute ;
6. Two (2) reference letters from scholars or researchers known for their competence and expertise in the candidate’s research area (geographic and disciplinary), including their names, addresses, telephone and/or fax numbers and email addresses.
7. A copy of the passport.

NB: The uncompleted applications will not be examined by the selection committee.

Application Deadline

The deadline for the submission of applications is 30th June, 2014.

Submission of Applications

All applications or requests for additional information should be sent to:

Democratic Governance Institute
Avenue Cheikh Anta Diop x Canal IV
BP 3304, CP 18524, Dakar, Senegal
Tel.: (221) 33 825 98 21/22/23
Fax: (221) 33 824 12 89
E-mail: governance.institute@codesria.sn
For more information, please visit: https://codesria.org/
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