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Professor 'Funmi Olonisakin

Professor ’Funmi Olonisakin is Professor of Security, Leadership & Development at King’s College London. She is also founding Director of the African Leadership Centre (ALC), which aims to build the next generation of African scholars and analysts generating cutting edge knowledge for conflict, security and development in Africa. She is currently Programme Director of the ALC King’s College London MSc programmes on Security, Leadership and Society and MSc Leadership and Development as well as the Postgraduate Research Programme on Leadership Studies with Reference to Security and Development. 

Olonisakin is a Research Associate with the Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa, where she was appointed in 2013 as a Mellon Foundation Distinguished Scholar on Peace and Conflict. The Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) also appointed her as a Distinguished Fellow in April 2014. She served as Director of the Conflict, Security and Development Group at King’s College London from 2003 until 2013. Prior to this, she worked in the Office of the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict overseeing the Africa work of that Office. In this role, she facilitated the establishment of the National Commission for War Affected Children in Sierra Leone and the Child Protection Unit in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). She previously held research positions in the Centre for Defence Studies, King’s College London, where she co-directed the African Security Unit; and at the Institute for Strategic Studies in the University of Pretoria, South Africa and the Department of Political Science, University of Lagos Nigeria.

Trained in Political Science (Bsc. Ife, Nigeria) and War Studies (PhD, King’s College London), Olonisakin has positioned her work to serve as a bridge between academia and the world of policy and practice. Her academic research and writing has contributed to strategic thinking in post-conflict contexts and in the work of regional organizations such as ECOWAS and the African Union. 

Funmi Olonisakin is a founding member of the African Security Sector Network (ASSN) and served as its West African Regional Coordinator from 2008 until 2012. From 2008-2010, she served on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Fragile States. She currently serves as the Chair of the International Advisory Board of the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI), and is on the Advisory Board of the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF). She is a member of the Board of the Tana High Level Forum on Security in Africa and the Boards of Trustees of International Alert and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. 

In January 2015, Professor Olonisakin was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, as one of seven members of the Advisory Group of Experts (AGE) on the Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture. 


Research Interests

‘Funmi Olonisakin is currently pursuing research in the following areas:

• Bringing in discourses on the “edge” into the global security and development agenda

• The leadership role of regional organizations and the United Nations in the consolidation of peace in post-conflict societies

• Reframing narratives of peace and state building in Africa: the role of political settlements




(a) Authored

2008: Peacekeeping in Sierra Leone: The Story of UNAMSIL, Boulder and London: Lynne Reinner2007: Global Development and Human Security, New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers,

2007 (co-authored with Robert Picciotto and Michael Clarke)2004: A Handbook of Security Sector Governance in Africa, London: Centre for Democracy and Development,

2004 (co-authored with Nicole Ball, Kayode Fayemi and Rocklyn Williams)

2000: Reinventing Peacekeeping in Africa: Conceptual and Legal Issues in the ECOMOG Operations, The Hague: Kluwer Law International,

1999: Peacekeepers, Politicians and Warlords, Tokyo: United Nations University Press, (co-authored with Abiodun Alao and John Mackinlay)


(b) Edited Books

2013: Militancy and Violence in West Africa: Religion, Politics and Radicalisation, London: Routledge, (co-editor with James Gow and Ernst Dijxhoorn)

2011: Women and Security Governance in Africa, Oxford: Pambazuka Press,

2011, (co-editor with Awino Okech)2011: Women, Peace and Security: Translating Policy into Practice, London: Routledge (Co-editor with Karen Barnes and Eka Ikpe)2010: Security Sector Transformation in Africa, Munster: Lit Verlag (Co-editor with Alan Bryden)

2008: The Challenges of Security Sector Governance in West Africa, Munster: Lit Verlag (Co-editor with Alan Bryden and Boubacar Ndiaye)2000: Engaging Sierra Leone, London: Centre for Democracy and Development 

(c) Editorship of Special Issues of Journals
2013: Gender and Security in Africa, SPECIAL ISSUE: Africa Peace and Conflict Journal, co-editor with Awino Okech and Cheryl Hendricks 

2013: Militancy and Violence in West Africa, SPECIAL ISSUE: Conflict, Security and Development, Co-editor with James Gow and Ismail Rashid

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