Monday, 22 January 2018

Makala - Congo film screening at the Curzon, Bloomsbury

On 1 February, Makala, a film about a young man in eastern Congo and his struggle for a better future, is showing at the Curzon Bloomsbury's main Renoir screen. It will be followed by a panel discussion with Director Emmanuel Gras, Franc Kunda, who is currently studying VCD, and me.

Full details on the facebook event here: 

Friday, 12 January 2018

'Cry, Blueberry' written and performed by Richard Canal at the Cockpit theatre next week

So, our very own Richard Canal, currently studying for his MSc VCD is performing a one-man show about reconciliation at the Cockpit Theatre next week. The VCD crowd will be going on Wednesday :)

All info here:
And, there is a trailer here:

Monday, 18 December 2017

Violence, Conflict and Development Workshop

We are just finishing up for the term, but looking forward to 2018 :) A highlight that is already on the horizon is our Violence, Conflict and Development Workshop, which will be held on 16 January.

The workshop has been expertly put together by Joshua Rogers and Bilge Sahin, and a full programme is here:

Panel I: Violence, Intervention, and State Formation
Respondent: Dr. Dann Nasemullah, Kings College
Ponsiano Bimeny, SOAS
Constructions of the State, Violence, and the Political Settlement in South Sudan
Joshua Rogers, SOAS
Tribes, Local Militias, and Dynamics of State Formation
Neil Loughlin, SOAS
Land Grabbing and Cambodia’s Winning Coalition
Panel II: Micro-Level Approaches to Peace and Violence
Respondent: Dr. Helena Perez Nino, SOAS
Nicholas Pope, SOAS.
Militias, Bargaining, and Relationships: On the Form and Function of Urban Violence
Dr. Yusuf Sheikh Omar, SOAS.
Somali Diaspora: Knowledge, and skills transfer as peace building in the war-torn state of Somalia
Xandra Miguel-Lorenzo, LSE.
Gender-based violence and Development in the Solomon Islands: A Religious-based Response

Panel III: Gender Perspectives on Law and Violence
Respondent: Dr Samantha Ashenden, Birkbeck
Noemi De Los Angeles Perez Vas, SOAS
Women and Prosecutions of International Crimes in Timor-Leste
Bilge Sahin, SOAS
Justice vs. Violence: the Justice Initiatives on Challenging Sexual Violence Crimes in Armed Conflict in DR Congo
Ebru Demir, Sussex
Women's sexual and reproductive rights in post-conflict situations through a 'transformative justice approach’

Meanwhile, here's the SOAS Christmas tree :)

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Film screening 7 December 7-9pm

In collaboration with one of our VCD students from last year, we will be screening the film, Home in Foreign Land: violence and migration in Central America, on 7 December 7-9pm in DLT. We're really pleased that the film's director, Carlos Sandoval, will be at the screening and there will be a chance to discuss the issues of violence and migration that are part of the film. There is a facebook event page here:

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Partnerships, networks, contradictions

One of the fun things about being in London is the network of people that we interact with. Last night some of us from the VCD course went down the road to the LSE to catch the launch of Oxfam and International Alert's report on 'Partnerships in Conflict.' The event was really well attended with many people from NGOs and civil society organisations sharing interests, concerns and best practice about how to operate in areas of conflict.

While many of the issues raised, including security, independence and accountability, are familiar to those working in this area, it is intriguing to see how they are played out across different contexts and at different moments. Providing aid in situations of conflict is always dangerous and full of contradictions, and it was heartening to see practitioners accepting these difficulties and working together and with donors to find more effective ways of working in the future.

I was happy to get a snap with Oxfam's Yoma Winder, whom I met in Goma in 2002, on stage and - in the foreground - the heads of some of our current VCD cohort :)

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Here we have been - and here we go!

The Department of Development Studies celebrated its 25 year anniversary yesterday. With speeches from our School Director, Baroness Valerie Amos and luminaries past and present, we reflected on the formation of the department and the path it has taken since it was established.
Getting together to mark this milestone was a great way to reconnect with colleagues after the summer, catch up with some PhD students, and look forward to the start of term.
For everyone who is joining us next week - a very warm welcome and here we go!

Baroness Valerie Amos and Prof Alfredo Saad Filho

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The view from Myanmar - towards the start of a new academic year

I am returning to the convenorship of the VCD programme in September. I am currently in Myanmar, and enjoying the view from an area of the world that I have never visited before. Along with a couple of colleagues from other universities, I am leading a training workshop on conflict and peace studies, which is a wonderful exchange of knowledge and experience. I had the pleasure of meeting a former VCD student at a panel discussion earlier this week, and it was great to hear about the work he's gone on to do after completing his MSc.

There has been some time for sightseeing too!

In other news, I am pleased to announce that Kim Wale, who wrote her PhD with us a few years back, has just published her work as a book, and it is available from Routledge.

So it's about change and continuity. It is always fantastic to hear from former students and to know that they are building on their experiences at SOAS. It's getting to that time of the year again when we look forward to welcoming a new cohort and starting on a new round of conversations!