Kujenga Amani (Swahili for “building peace”) is produced by the African Peacebuilding Network (APN) of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) to provide listeners with informative commentary by scholars, practitioners, and policymakers working in the field of African peacebuiling.
Recorded at various workshops, conferences, and meetings organized by the APN, these podcasts are disseminated with the intention of mapping emerging challenges and responding to knowledge and policy gaps, while simultaneously connecting peacebuilding conversations within Africa to those in other parts of the world in an open and constructive manner.
Be sure to also check out Kujenga Amani, the APN’s online peacebuilding forum.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by guests on the Kujenga Amani podcast do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the African Peacebuilding Network or the Social Science Research Council, unless directly stated otherwise.
Episode 1: An Interview with Ambassador Macharia Kamau
Ambassador Macharia Kamau is Kenya’s Principal Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and immediate former Ambassador of Kenya to the United Nations.
He has also served as Chairperson of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, UNICEF Executive Board President, Co-Chair of the General Assembly Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and as co-facilitator of the post-2015 Development Agenda.
We spoke to Ambassador Kamau in New York about the changing dynamics of multilateral diplomacy, his time on the UN Peacebuilding Commission, and recent political developments in Kenya.
Episode 2: An Interview with Séverine Autesserre
International peacebuilding efforts in conflict-affected countries, including the DRC, typically prioritize top-down approaches. According to Séverine Autesserre—an expert on peacebuilding, humanitarian aid, and African politics—international peace organizations rarely tap into local knowledge and expertise or consider the voices of local communities.
For episode 2 of the APN (SSRC) Kujenga Amani podcast, we spoke with Séverine Autesserre, a professor of Political Science at Barnard College, about the overall impact of international peacebuilding efforts in the DRC, the difficulty of building peace from the top down and without input from the intended beneficiaries, and the potential for local peacebuilding efforts to transform conflict situations in the DRC and beyond.
Episode 3: An Interview with Paul D. Williams
Since the founding of the African Union (AU) in 2002, its role in promoting peace and security on the continent has evolved considerably. Compared with its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity, the AU has played a more active role in peacekeeping and peace support operations.
For the third episode of the APN’s Kujenga Amani podcast, we sat down with Paul D. Williams, a professor of Security Policy Studies at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs. He is an expert in the politics and effectiveness of peace operations, the dynamics of war and peace in Africa, emerging threats in international security, and has published extensively on the peace and security architecture of the African Union.
Professor Williams spoke with us about the history of the African Union’s peace and security institutions, the factors shaping the future of African peace operations, and his personal experiences researching and writing about the African Union.
Episode 4: An Interview with Lena Slachmuijlder
For this episode of the African Peacebuilding Network’s Kujenga Amani podcast, we sat down with Search for Common Ground’s vice president of programs, Lena Slachmuijlder, an accomplished journalist, editor, human rights defender, director, producer, performing artist, cultural facilitator, trainer, and project manager with over twenty-five years of experience in peacebuilding.
Lena joined us to discuss how Search for Common Ground measures the impact of its work; the organization’s unique approach to peacebuilding that emphasizes practical, hands-on, grassroots-focused methods; and how to build synergies between researchers, practitioners, and other stakeholders.
Episode 5: An Interview with Monde Muyangwa
Dr. Monde Muyangwa joined us for a wide-ranging conversation about her current projects and the field of African peacebuilding in general, including the changing nature of insecurity in Africa “both in scale and nuance,” the need for comprehensive peacebuilding frameworks on the continent as opposed to focusing primarily on conflict management, developing peacebuilding partnerships that are African-driven in terms of resources and agenda-setting, the gap between academic knowledge and policymaking, and the role of leadership and good governance in development.
Dr. Muyangwa is an expert on conflict resolution and peacebuilding in Africa, democracy and governance, gender, US foreign policy, and the African Union. She currently serves as the director of the Africa Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center where she leads programs designed to analyze and offer effective, practical solutions to Africa’s most pressing current and future issues.