Ford Foundation Funds China-Africa Peace Fellowship

The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) has received a $429,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to support the China-Africa Peace Fellowship, an initiative of the SSRC’s Understanding Violent Conflict program. This fellowship aims to strengthen the evidentiary basis for Chinese scholarship on the UN and in peace and security studies, foster greater South-South dialogue, and promote knowledge exchange between African and Chinese scholars, as well as integrate African and Chinese perspectives into key policy debates within the UN. Particularly critical to this latter process is the emphasis placed on networking with African civil society, which plays a key role in peace efforts across Africa. A 2016 cohort of the fellowship was supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to the SSRC’s China-Africa Knowledge Project, and was implemented in collaboration with the SSRC’s African Peacebuilding Network, the American Friends Service Committee China Office, and Beijing Foreign Studies University. The China-Africa Peace Fellowship is emblematic of the SSRC’s longstanding commitment to enhance international research collaborations and to produce knowledge for the public good. The Peace Fellowship will open its call for proposals in May 2018.

China’s growing contributions to UN peace efforts and the concentration of UN peace operations in Africa suggest that cooperation between China, the African Union, and the United Nations will be essential to the success of future peace missions. By facilitating cooperation between African and Chinese scholars, this ground-breaking initiative will strengthen scholarship from both regions on questions of peace and security. Rigorous evidence-based scholarship will help policymakers engage more constructively with each other and help ensure that peace operations integrate lessons from the people and countries most affected by their work.

Moreover, through discussions with scholars and practitioners in Africa and the United States as well as with UN officials, the Chinese fellows will receive significant feedback on their work and gain exposure to new perspectives of engagement with the UN in Africa, such as mediation and preventive diplomacy, and human rights monitoring as complements to China’s current contributions to international responses to conflict. By bringing together scholars and experts from China and Africa, the program thus hopes to open up new channels and opportunities for South-South learning, cooperation, and knowledge sharing in order to ensure the sustainability of scholarly dialogue between Chinese and Africans on issues of peace and security for decades to come.