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Politics and International Relations (PIR): Events


Public speaker series: 'Britain and Africa after 50

The BISA-Africa working group is running a series of high profile public events in 2014 entitled 'Britain and Africa after 50' to reflect upon the past, present and future of British-African relations. 


6 February 2014: Cardiff
Britain and Africa after 50: Social justice and development 
Provisional speakers include: Richard Dowden (RAS), Edwin Egede (Cardiff University), Khadija Sharife (journalist) Hosted by the Welsh Centre for International Affairs, Temple of Peace, Cardiff. Book here
Contact: Carl Death ( or Susie Ventris-Field (

27 February 2014: Edinburgh
Britain and Africa after 50: Trade and natural resource extraction 
Provisional speakers include: Humza Yousaf (Scottish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Development), Martin Plaut (former BBC Africa Editor), Claude Kabemba (Southern Africa Resource Watch) Hosted by MSP Sarah Boyack at the Scottish Parliament, sponsored by the University of Edinburgh and Research Centre Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood, FU Berlin. 
Contact: Sara Dorman ( or Jana Hoenke (

DATE TBC: London
Britain and Africa after 50: Politics and security
Provisional speakers include: Thabo Mbeki (former SA President), Mark Simmonds MP (UK Minister for Africa), Alex Vines (Chatham House) Hosted by Chatham House 
Contact: Carl Death (

DATE TBC: Birmingham
Britain and Africa after 50: Roundtable discussion
Contact: Carl Death ( or Danielle Beswick (

Series rationale:
On 12 December 2013 Kenya celebrated 50 years of independence. By the end of 1964 most of British Africa (with the exceptions of the Gambia, Bechuanaland, Basutoland, Rhodesia and Swaziland) was independent. Fifty years later, the relationship between Britain and Africa remains contested and enthralling. Africa occupies a 'special place' in the British national psyche – as well as in the development architecture and the academy. From the Anglophone African perspective, it is fair to say that Britain often occupies a unique place, with both positive and negative dimensions.

The relationship between Britain and Africa has changed considerably over the past fifty years, but some issues have remained central to that relationship: development and aid, conflict and peacekeeping, commerce and corruption. Other new issues have arisen: new communication technologies, climate change, the African Union, a changing global balance of power and the 'turn to the East' in Africa. 2014 is thus an appropriate moment to reflect upon the past, present and future of British-African relations. Through this series the intention is to contribute to public and political debate, and raise the profile of the research done by members of the working group and BISA.

Please check back for event information.

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