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Professor Funmi Olonisakin

Professor ’Funmi Olonisakin  is the 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. The ALC is based in Nairobi, Kenya and at King’s College London. Professor Olonisakin managed the ALC in both sites from 2010 to 2014. She is Professor of Security, Leadership and Development in the School of Global Affairs, King's College London and 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 Dr Olonisakin as a Distinguished Fellow in April 2014. 

Olonisakin 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 on the International Advisory Boards of the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI), Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) and the Training for Peace (TfP) Programme of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 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.


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 Reinner

2007: 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, 2000

1999: Peacekeepers, Politicians and Warlords, Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 1999 (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


2012 BRICS and African International Organisations, Occasional Paper, South African Institute of International Affairs.

2010: Regional Security from Below: The Case of ECOWAS, Occasional Paper for Institute for Strategic and Development Studies (ISDS), Philippines, September

2009: Youth Vulnerability and Exclusion in West Africa: Synthesis Report (co-authored with Olawale Ismail, Robert Picciotto and David Wybrow)

2009: The Future of Security and Justice in Africa, CSDG Policy Studies London (with Eka Ikpe and Paschal Badong)

2009: Lessons Learned from an Assessment of Peacekeeping and Peace Support Operations in West Africa, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Accra

2008: Conflict Dynamics in West Africa: Background Analysis for UK Government’s Africa Conflict Prevention Programme, CSDG Paper, No. 17

2007:   Security and Justice Sector Reform Programming in Africa London: DFID Evaluation Working Paper 23, April (Co-authored with Nicole Ball, Piet Biesheuvel and Tom Hamilton-Bailey)

2005: Global Development and Human Security: Towards a Policy Agenda, Swedish International Development Agency (co-authored with Bob Picciotto and Michael Clarke)

2005: Security Sector Reform in West Africa: Turning Principles into practice, Geneva: Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (with Alan Bryden and Boubacar Ndiaye)


2013: “Deep History and International Security: Social Conditions and Competition, Militancy and Violence in West Africa”, Conflict, Security and Development, Vol. 13, No. 2  (co-authored with James Gow and Ernst Dijxhoorn)

2013: “Reconceptualising Gender, Peace and Security in Africa”, Africa Peace and Conflict Journal, United Nations University for Peace (with Cheryl Hendricks and Awino Okech).

2009: “ECOWAS and Civil Society Movements in West Africa”, in Special Issue on Security and Development in an Unequal World, IDS Bulletin, March 2009

2006: “United Kingdom-Led Security Sector Reform in Sierra Leone”, Civil Wars, Volume 8, No. 2, 2006, pp 109-123 (co-authored with Adrian Horn and Gordon Peake)

2005: “Democratising Security Sector Governance in West Africa: Trends and Challenges”, Conflict, Security & Development, Vol. 5, No. 3 (co-authored with Alan Bryden and Boubacar N’diaye)

2004: “Windows of Opportunity for Conflict Prevention: Responding to Regional Conflict in West Africa”, Conflict, Security and Development, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2004, pp. 181-198 

2000: “Between Economic Fragility and Political Fluidity: Natural Resource Conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa, Journal of International Peacekeeping, Vol. 7, No. 4, Winter (co-authored with Abiodun Alao).

2000: “Peace and Justice in post-Cold War Africa: Post Cold-War Issues”, International Journal, Spring

1999: “Will the Military Stay out of Nigerian Politics”? Africa Insight, Vols. 3 & 4

1999: “Democracy and Security in Africa”, Cambridge International Review, September 1999 (co-authored with Jeremy Levitt)

1999: “Conventional Arms Control in Post-Cold War Sub-Saharan Africa: Problems and Prospects”, Strategic Review for Southern Africa, May, Re-edited and published in Arms Control Bulletin, No. 36, September 1999

1999: “Humanitarian Intervention and Human Rights: The Contradictions in ECOMOG” International Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 3, No. 1 (co-authored with Emmanuel Kwesi Aning).

1998: “Rethinking Regional Security in Africa: An Analysis of ECOWAS and SADC”, Strategic Review for Southern Africa, November

1997: “An International War Crimes Tribunal for Africa: Problems and Prospects”, African Journal of International and Contemporary Law, Vol. 9, No. 4, December, pp.821-835

1997: African “Home-Made” Peacekeeping Initiatives, Armed Forces and Society, Vol. 23, No. 3, Spring pp. 349-372

1997: “Limitations of Regional Peacekeeping: The ECOMOG Operation in Liberia”, Oxford International Review, Vol. VIII, No. 2, Spring, pp. 58-64

1996 “UN Co-operation with Regional Organizations in Peacekeeping: The Experience of ECOMOG and UNOMIL in Liberia”, International Peacekeeping, Vol.3, No.3, Autumn, pp. 33-51

2012: “Democratisation and Security Sector Reform in Nigeria”, in Heiner Haengi and Carolina Hernandez (eds), Democratization and Security Sector Reform, DCAF Yearly Book, Munster: Lit Verlag

2012: “The United Nations Peace Building Commission: Problems and Prospects”, in Devon Curtis, ed., Peace Building in Africa, Ohio University Press, (co-authored with Eka Ikpe)

2011: “New Narratives of Security Governance in Africa”, in Funmi Olonisakin and Awino, Okech eds, Women and Security Governance in Africa (Oxford, Pambazuka Press

2011: “ECOWAS from Economic Integration to Peacebuilding”, in Thomas Jaye, Dauda Garuba and Stella Amadi (eds), ECOWAS and the Dynamic of Conflict and Peace-Buidling in West Africa, Dakar: Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa

2011: US-Nigeria Relations in the Era of the Generals", in Sola Omoregei and Abiodun Alao (Eds.) Nigeria and the United States: Twists and Turns over 50 Years, New York: African Peace Support Publishers

2010: Introduction to Women, Peace and Security, in ‘Funmi Olonisakin, Karen Barnes and Eka Ikpe, Women, Peace and Security: Translating Policy into Practice, London: Routledge (co-authored with Karen Barnes)

2010 “Conceptualising Security Sector Transformation in Africa”, in Alan Bryden and ‘Funmi Olonisakin (eds), Security Sector Transformation in Africa, Lit Verlag, 2010 (co-authored with Alan Bryden)

2009: “UNICEF and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict” in Adekeye Adebajo (ed.) The United Nations and Africa, University of Kwazulu Natal Press

2009: “Children Affected by Armed Conflict: Engaging a New Constituency of Actors”, in David Nosworthy (ed.), Seen but Not Heard: Placing Children and Youth on the Security Governance Agenda, Berlin: Lit Verlag

2008: “The Challenges of Security Sector Governance in Nigeria” (co-authored with J. Kayode Fayemi) in Alan Bryden, Boubacar Ndiaye and Funmi Olonisakin (eds), The Challenges of Security Sector Governance in West Africa, Munster: Lit Verlag

2007 “Pan-African Approaches to Civilian Control and Democratic Governance”, in Victor-Yves Ghebali and Alexander Lambert (eds), Democratic Governance of the Security Sector Beyond the OSCE Region

2006: “United Kingdom-Led Security Sector Reform in Sierra Leone”, in Gordon Peake, Eric Sheye and Alice Hills (eds), London: Routledge (co-authored with Adrian Horn and Gordon Peake)

2006: “A World at War? After September 11 and the Iraq War, What Can We Learn?: An African Perspective” in War and Peace in the 21st Century, CIDOB, Barcelona, (Spanish Translation, 2007)

2006: “Humanitarians as Diplomats: The Liberian Case”, Hazel Smith and Larry Minear (eds) Humanitarian Diplomacy, Tokyo: United Nations University Press.

2006: “Conflict and Conflict Resolution in Africa”, in Pat MacGowan (ed), An International Relations Textbook for Africa Cape Town: Juta Publishers, 2006, 3rd Edition

2005: “The Roots and Scope of Gender-Based Violence”, in Marie Vlachova (ed.), Women in an Insecure World, Geneva, Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces

2005: “Feminist Approaches to Gender Based Violence”, in Marie Vlachova (ed.), Women in an Insecure World, Geneva, Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces

2005: “Explaining Disarmament and Demobilisation in Liberia”, in Anne Fitzgerald (ed.) From Conflict to Community: A Combatant’s Return to Citizenship, Cranfield: Centre for Security Management (co-authored with Abiodun Alao)

2004: “Promoting the Agenda of War-Affected Children in West Africa” in Adekeye Adebajo and Ismail Rashid (eds), The Challenges of Building Peace in West Africa, Lynne Reinner 

2004: “Africa and the Regionalisation of Peace Operations” in Michael Pugh Sidhu and Waheguru Pal Singh Sidhu (eds), The United Nations and Regional Security: Europe and Beyond, Boulder: Lynne Reinner, 2004 (co-authored with Comfort Ero)

2004: “The Psychology of African Peacekeepers”, in Amy Adler and Thomas W. Britt (eds), The Psychology of the Peacekeeper: Soldiers Holding Fire, Westport CT: Greenwood Publishers.

2002: “Conflict and Conflict Resolution in Africa” in Pat MacGowan and Philip Nell (eds), An International Relations Textbook for Africa (Cape Town: Juta Publishers, 2002)

2001: “Economic Fragility and Political Fluidity: Explaining Natural Resources and Conflicts” in Adekeye Adebajo and Chandra Sriram (eds.), Managing Armed Conflicts in the 21st Century, London: Frank Cass, 2001 (co-authored with Abiodun Alao) 

2000: “Conflict Management in Africa: The Role of the OAU and African sub-Regional Organizations”, in ISS Monograph 46: Building Stability in Africa: Challenges for the New Millennium, February

1999: “Arresting the Tide of Mercenaries in Africa: Prospects for Regional Control”, in J.K. Fayemi and Abdel-Fatau Musah (eds.), Mercenaries and African Conflicts, Pluto Press

1998: “Human Rights in Africa: Changing Perspectives in the Post-Cold War Period”, in Amadu Sesay and Olusola Akinrinade (eds.), Africa in the New International System, London: Cassell

1998: “State Rebuilding after State Collapse: Rethinking Security in Liberia’ in State Rebuilding, Democracy and Security in Liberia, London: CDD, 1998 (co-authored with Thomas Jaye)

1998: “Ethnicity, Ethnic Conflicts and Security in Post-Cold War Africa”, in Adebayo Oyebade and Abiodun Alao (eds.), The changing Perspective on Security in Africa, Africa World Press (co-authored with Abiodun Alao)

1995: “Liberia”, (collection of interviews), in Olivia Bennett and Jo Bexley (eds), Arms to Fight, Arms to Protect: Women Speak Out about Conflict, London: Panos.


• Dinner between Adversaries: When Government Negotiates with Rebels (with Abiodun Alao)
• Outliers in Peacebuilding: Neglected issues at the foundation of peace (edited work)

Select Reports, Policy Papers and Articles targeting policy audiences

2012: “Can Nigeria’s Contradictions be Mediated?” Paper for the Oslo Forum (of Mediators and Special Envoys), June

2011: Report of the Review of DFID’s Justice for All (J4A) Programme in Nigeria, September

2010: “Ten Years Since United Nations Resolution 1325: Envisioning its impact on African Women in 2020, Background Paper for the International High Level Seminar on 1325 in 2020, October

2010:   Plan of Action for the Security Governance Component of ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework, ECPF (with Eboe Hutchful)

2010: Plan of Action for the Women, Peace and Security Component of ECOWAS Conflict Prevention Framework (with Eka Ikpe)

2009: “Africa’s continental peace and security architecture and Regional Economic Communities”, Paper prepared for the African Development Bank (ADB), August

2008: “Background Paper for the Retreat between the African Union and Regional Economic Communities on Issues Relating to Peace and Security in Africa”, Paper prepared for the Retreat of African Union and the RECs, January

2007: Child Protection Study: A review of the Impact of UN Child Protection Advisers, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Best Practices Section, New York, 2007

2006: “Security and Justice Sector Reform Programming in Africa” Evaluation report to DFID

2004: Peacekeeping in Africa: An Assessment of Africa’s Evolving Peace and Security Architecture, United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations Best Practices Section, New York, 2004

2001:     “Security Sector Reform and the Demand for Small Arms and Light Weapons, Project Ploughshares Briefing Paper, April 2001 (with Dominick Donald)

2000: ‘African Women and the Reconstruction of Conflict Politics”, Position Paper for Akina Mama wa Afrika

1999: “Rethinking Collective Regional Security in West Africa”, Concept Paper for the Centre for Democracy and Development, Ghana, 1999

1999: “Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding in Africa”, United Nations University (UNU) Training Seminars, 1999

1999: “Squaring up to Democracy in Nigeria”, Jane’s Intelligence Review, June 1999

1998: “Engendering the Reconstruction and Peacebuilding Process in Liberia” Report for Vrouwenberaad, 1998 

1998: “Nigerian Foreign Policy: Past Blunders and Present Realities”, Institute for Strategic Studies University of Pretoria ISSUP Bulletin, 5/98

1998: “Nigeria’s Role in ECOWAS Peace Support Operations: Some Lessons for South Africa”, ISSUP Bulletin, 6/98

1998: “Beyond Sierra-Leone: Nigeria and Regional Security in West Africa”, Jane’s Intelligence Review, June 1998

1998: “Mercenaries Fill the Vacuum” The World Today, June 1998. 

1998: “ECOMOG Operations & Human Rights Violation in Liberia”, Africa World Review, 1998 (co-authored with Emmanuel Kwesi Aning)

1998: “A Permanent International Tribunal: African Perspectives”, Relief and Rehabilitation Network (RRN) Newsletter, No. 11, May 1998

1995: “War Crimes Trial: Can it Work in Africa?” International Security Digest, December 1995.

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