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What kind of doctoral research on, in and with Africa takes place at King’s College London? How do our students critically reflect on the benefits and challenges of research in the continent?

As part of Africa Week 2024, The Africa Research Group hosts an annual PhD forum to answer these questions and more with a showcase of some of the latest PhD work on Africa from across the College.

The event takes place in person and features presentations by King' students from various departments and academic disciplines. They will introduce their PhD research – from the early stages to near completion – with the opportunity for feedback and interaction with the audience.

This event is free and open to all.

Introduction: Dr Kieran Mitton, Africa Research Group
Chair: Dr Flavia Gasbarri, Africa Research Group


· Redefining Motherhood and Sexuality in Armed Conflict; Feminist Questions on Forced Pregnancy in Tigray
– Wendy Okun, Dickson Poon School of Law

· Greening the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement: Legal Levers and Limitations
– Hannah Getachew, The Dickson Poon School of Law.

· Governance of Emerging Technologies in the Global South -Ecocash Mobile Money Platforms in Zimbabwe.
– Brian Tshuma, Department of Digital Humanities.

· Promoting sustainable investments in Africa: The case of the European External Investment Plan
– Panagiotis Kolovos, Department of European and International Studies.

· America’s Inability to Create and Maintain Enduring and Effective Influence In Africa: Between Strategic Racism and Strategic Ignorance
– Kaitlin Essig, War Studies

· Nigerian Tribal Marginality and its Political Ramifications
– Jennifer Dickson, War Studies

About the Speakers

Jennifer Dickson is currently pursuing a PhD in War Studies from King’s College London. Jennifer Dickson was a Wargame Manager at the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. She has been a Strategic Planner at the U.S. Navy HQ IndoPacific Command at Camp Smith in Hawaii, an International Relations Specialist at the 21st Theater Sustainment Command in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and a Strategic Planner at the U.S. Army’s Southern Command in Miami, Florida. Additionally, she has a BA in International Studies from the University of South Alabama, a MA in International Relations, and Joint Warfare Planning from the American Public University.

Kaitlin Essig is a 2nd year student in the Dept of War Studies and new to King’s having grown up and received her undergrad and master’s in the USA. She currently resides in Germany working as a defense contractor for the US Department of Defense building and evaluating intelligence security cooperation plans for European Allies and partners. Prior to that Kaitlin worked for US Africa Command as well as Special Operations Command- Africa again formulating, evaluating, and assessing the efficacy of security cooperation operations against the US AFRICOM campaign plan and national security strategy. Kaitlin is also an officer in the US Army Reserve where she currently focuses on disarmament policy and peace keeping initiatives in the Republic of Korea as an intelligence officer.

Hannah Getachew is a doctoral candidate at The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London. She is under the supervision of Professor Megan Bowman, Director of the King’s Centre for Climate Law & Governance. Hannah's research examines the climate-compatibility of the new African Continental Free Trade Area agreement with a view to transforming it into a tool for green growth. She also serves as a Senior Editor of the King's Student Law Review. Hannah holds an LLM in Transnational Law from Peking University, an LLB from Queen Mary's University, and a BA in International Development and Economics from McGill University. In her professional career, Hannah has worked for the United Nations based Africa Climate Policy Center as a climate law and policy researcher and the Ethiopian government as a climate negotiator.

Wendy Okun is a doctoral researcher at the Dickson Poon School of Law, under the supervision of Dr. Nicola Palmer. Wendy’s research examines the centrality of sexuality and gender in armed conflict and the need to be rewrite and re-theorise women’s movements.
Wendy holds and LL. M from the Dickson Poon School of Law, and the IMO International Maritime Law Institute. Wendy also holds a LL. B from the University of Nairobi and was admitted to the Kenyan Bar in 2018.
Wendy currently works in advisory for the Government Legal Department, and previously she worked at the Registry of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

Panagiotis Kolovos is a part-time PhD student in International Political Economy at King’s College London where he studies the EU’s investment strategy in Africa. He holds a MSc in Applied Economics and International Development from the University of Kent in Canterbury and a MA in International Relations and European Studies from the University of Piraeus in Greece. He currently works as a Senior Investment Adviser in the Department for Business and Trade.

Brian Tshuma is doing PhD research on governance of emerging technologies in sub-Saharan Africa in the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College. Formerly, he served as a Member of Parliament and is still practicing as a lawyer in Zimbabwe, where is certified as such. He has involved in projects at the intersection of technology and society under several short-term fellowship programs. Brian has ten years of public policy experience, regulating and superintending governmental departments and interfacing with NGOs as a parliamentarian. He is interested in global south epistemologies, looking at how global coloniality affects the agency of actors in Africa, and how this impacts the capacity of African peoples to imagine alternate digital futures, beyond the Silicon Valley inspired templates.


At this event

Kieran  Mitton

Reader in Conflict, Security and Development

Flavia Gasbarri

Senior Lecturer in War Studies Education

Event details

Dockrill Room (6th floor)
King's Building
Strand Campus, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS