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From July 24-27, 2023, the African Peacebuilding Network (APN)-Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa (Next Gen) Program hosted its Research Methods Workshop for the 2023-24 cohort of APN Individual Research fellows and the Next Gen Doctoral Dissertation Proposal, Research, and Completion fellows. The workshop was hosted in collaboration with the University of Botswana at the Grand Palm Hotel and Convention Center in Gaborone, Botswana.

On Monday, July 24th, the workshop began with opening remarks from the APN-Next Gen Program Director, Dr. Cyril Obi, and Prof. Gabriel Faimau, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Botswana and the head of the University of Botswana’s local organizing committee. This was followed by remarks from the guests of honor: the deputy vice chancellor for research and enterprise at the University of Botswana Prof. Doreen Ramogola-Masire and Prof. Emmanuel Botlhale, professor in public administration in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies at the University of Botswana.

Following the opening of the workshop, Dr. Jacinta Mwende Maweu of the University of Nairobi (APN IRG 2015; APN CWG 2022-24) gave a keynote lecture titled “Challenges Facing African Women Engaged in Research: Reflections on Managing the Work-Life Balance.” The first day concluded with fellows and mentors engaging in their working groups. APN IRF fellows met with their mentors and Next Gen fellows met within their Thematic Working Groups to discuss current and emerging debates in the literature on themes related to their respective doctoral research projects.

Tuesday began with a keynote lecture titled “Critical Research Methods for Making Sense of Climate Change-Related Conflict and Peace in Africa” by Prof. Joram Tarusarira of the University of Groningen. The rest of the morning was dedicated to working groups, and Next Gen fellows switched groups to work with members of their specific fellowship cohorts.

On Tuesday afternoon, participants took a break from their working groups for an excursion into Gaborone. First, participants visited the Three Dikgosi Monument (Three Chiefs Monument) to learn about the history of Botswana, particularly the role of the founding fathers. Following this, participants visited the Botswana National Museum and Art Gallery and the “Main Mall” market area in downtown Gaborone. The day concluded with a driving tour of the University of Botswana’s beautiful campus, a game drive at the Mokolodi Nature Reserve, cultural dances, and a lively group dinner.

On Wednesday, fellows and mentors worked throughout the day in group sessions and one-on-one sessions. Thursday morning saw the conclusion of one-on-one sessions and a final round of group sessions to enable mentors and fellows to reflect on their discussions and set research, writing, and personal goals for the period of the fellowship and beyond.

The workshop concluded on Thursday afternoon with a panel that brought together APN and Next Gen fellows and mentors to discuss the topic, “Developing and Applying Research Methods and Analytical Lens Across Disciplines: Challenges and Opportunities.” Following the panel, closing remarks were made by Dr. Obi and Prof. Faimau and gifts were given to the APN-Next Gen board members in attendance.

The APN-Next Gen would like to thank all of the fellows, mentors, keynote lecturers, guests of honor, and the members of the local organizing committee from the University of Botswana for their participation, enthusiasm, support, and commitment to the program.