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Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence Annual Lecture

Date and time
Wednesday 29 March 2023, 14:00 BST to 16:00 BST
Attendance and participation
This is an in-person event.
A globe which is focused on the continent of Africa

About this in-person event

On 25 May 1963, Africa united to create in Addis Ababa the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Fifty years later, in 2013, its successor, the African Union (AU) presented Vision 2063, intended to lead the way towards an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.

The year 2023: 60 years on, 40 years to go. All over the world, also at the University of Bradford, the next generation of African leaders is preparing itself to guide the continent on its long march to attain the objectives laid down in Vision 2063. This new generation of African leaders will need to take a critical look at what has been achieved over the past six decades and which priorities will need to be set over the next four decades.

This First Annual Lecture opens with a review of Sub Sahara Africa’s current main challenges in the political, social, economic and security fields. It will be argued that over the past 60 years, nation building, economic and social development, Africa’s place in the global system and in international economic relations and, increasingly, security considerations have dominated Sub Sahara’s political agenda at the national, regional and continental levels. The presentation will provide an overview of what has been achieved in these 60 years and then assess where there is a need for enhanced and united action, both in Sub Sahara Africa and globally, including addressing rapidly accelerating urbanisation, climate change and the effects of deepening conflicts both on the continent and globally. The economic effects of COVID and the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine, which has the potential to negatively affect international cooperation and global progress, will be addressed as part of the discussion.

Finally, it will be underlined that African leaders both present and future - will need to build the capacity to continuously monitor, evaluate and adapt national, regional and continental policies - and their implementation - in order to achieve the best possible progress under ever changing circumstances: Africa is on the march, let us discuss how to maintain direction and to increase velocity!

Speaker bio:

Roeland van de Geer is a former staff member of the Free University of Amsterdam, the Dutch Foreign Ministry, and the European Union. He is attached to a range of African and European organisations - think tanks, universities, non-governmental organisations - working in four related fields: governance, mediation, investment in sustainable development and conservation and community development.

He studied political sciences and public administration at the Free University of Amsterdam (FUA), was seconded by FUA to the National University of Lesotho (1978-1982) working on local administration and government, training of civil servants and capacity development in both rural and urban government, entered the Africa Directorate of the Dutch Foreign Ministry in 1982 and returned to FUA to work on public administration and natural resources management in Southern Africa.

In the period 1990-2007, he was head of the Southern Africa Department (Developmental) in the Dutch Foreign Ministry, Dutch Ambassador to Mozambique, Western Hemisphere Director, Africa Director and Dutch Ambassador to Afghanistan.

In 2007-2019, he served as the European Union’s (EU) Special Representative to the African Great Lakes Region and subsequently as EU Ambassador to South Africa, EU Ambassador to the East African Community and Tanzania, and as the EU’s African Great Lakes Region Coordinator.

With Prof. Jean-Marc Trouille of Bradford University he works on strengthening of cooperation between African and European universities and think tanks.