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'Funmi  Olonisakin

Professor 'Funmi Olonisakin

Vice President (International, Engagement & Service)

  • Professor of Security, Leadership & Development
  • Co-chair of the Board, King's Global Health Partnerships

Research interests

  • Conflict
  • Equality
  • International development
  • Policy
  • Security

Biography

Professor ’Funmi Olonisakin is Vice President, International, Engagement and Service (IES) at King’s College London. She is also Professor of Security, Leadership and Development at the African Leadership Centre in the School of Global Affairs at King’s. In her role as Vice President IES, Professor Olonisakin seeks to facilitate the deployment of King’s assets (including knowledge, scholarship and talent in service of society) locally, nationally and internationally, to enable transformative and lasting impact. She is committed to building inter-disciplinary and intersectoral collaboration, and sustaining equitable partnerships to realise positive and lasting impact within and beyond King’s.

Producing knowledge that influences change beyond the academy has been at the heart of Professor Olonisakin’s research work and life as an academic. She has positioned her work to serve as a bridge between academia and the worlds of policy and practice. Her research has been shaped by her interest in deepening understanding of why civil wars relapse, and the drivers of youth vulnerability and exclusion in the developing world. More recently, she has sought to explore the interface between leadership, peace, and security as a basis to unpack and understand the big transnational problems that confront the world today. She has led a number of major research projects including most recently on “future peace, society and the state in Africa”, supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Professor Olonisakin founded the African Leadership Centre (ALC) both at King’s and in Kenya, as a collaboration between King’s and the University of Nairobi in 2010. The ALC aims to develop a new community of leaders generating cutting edge-knowledge for peace, security and development in Africa. Professor Olonisakin has focused on inclusive postgraduate research training at the ALC, combining field-building with community-building while working with inter-generational research teams to translate knowledge generated into multiple forms of collaborative engagement regionally in Africa, and globally.

Previously, Professor Olonisakin worked in the United Nations Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in New York, between 1999 and 2003. From 2003 until 2013, she was Director of the Conflict Security and Development Group at King’s College London.

In January 2015, United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, appointed Professor Olonisakin as one of seven members of the Advisory Group of Experts (AGE) on the Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture; and in 2016, as a member of the Advisory Group of Experts for the United Nations Progress Study on Youth, Peace, and Security. In 2018, she was appointed to the Council of the United Nations University, on which she currently serves as Chair. She was awarded the Fellowship of King’s College in 2020.

University of Pretoria (UP), where she was appointed as an Extra-Ordinary Professor in 2016, conferred the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (honoris causa) on Professor Olonisakin in May 2022 in recognition of her significant contributions to the promotion of peace, security, justice, and international solidarity in Africa, with special reference to women and youth.

Professor Olonisakin was educated at the University of Ife, Nigeria (now Obafemi Awolowo University) and King’s College London, graduating with a BSc. Honours in Political Science (Ife, 1984) and MSc and PhD in War Studies (King’s 1996) respectively. She was a post-doctoral Fellow at the Department of Political Sciences in UP in 1998, and was awarded a McArthur Foundation post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of War Studies from 1998-1999.

Research

  • Future peace through the lens of future people
  • The emerging African paradigm
  • Leadership perspectives in security and development
  • Youth, peace and security in developing societies

'Funmi has positioned her work to serve as a bridge between academia and the worlds of policy and practice. Her most recent research has focused on 'Reframing narratives of peace and state-building in Africa' and on 'Future peace, society and the state in Africa.'

Further details

See Funmi's research profile

    Research

    twisted gun promo
    Conflict, Security & Development Research Group

    CSDRG undertakes a wide range of research, policy, advisory, and teaching activities related to conflict, security and development.

    Gender Studies logo
    Gender Studies at King's

    Bringing together like-minded scholars and students from across King's to examine the influence of gender relations..

    Nepal Desk Review picture
    InterSEC:Action

    The InterSEC:Action team review to understand the nature and scale of sexual exploitation in the aid industry and conduct a pilot study using genealogy

    Project status: Ongoing

    News

    Parent Power wins London Higher Award for local impact

    The project, which was established by King’s and Citizens UK in 2017 to address educational inequality and social justice issues in Lambeth and Southwark, won...

    Parent Power receiving the award

    UK-Africa relationship must be equitable, create structural shift: experts

    Academics, diplomats and policy practitioners recently came together at King’s to debate the future of the UK-Africa relationship.

    Labour Shadow Minister Lyn Brown with HE Manoah Esipisu, High Commissioner of Kenya to the UK.

    Celebrating staff contributions to shaping cultural competency

    King’s Cultural Competency Unit (CCU) expressed its thanks to staff members who volunteered to peer-review the Cultural Competency Programme for Staff, a...

    240515 CCU network lunch

    King's celebrates launch of new academic partnership

    A unique academic partnership between King’s College London and Seoul National University has officially been launched.

    NewMA007

    Winners announced at inaugural King's Engaged Research Awards ceremony

    The inaugural King’s Engaged Research Awards ceremony brought together staff, students and community partners to celebrate public and community engagement...

    aerial photo of all winners of king's engaged research awards 2024 looking upwards, some holding awards and certificates

    Carnegie Corporation invests in Africa's future research and impact leaders

    Major grant won by African Leadership Centre for ongoing research

    Africa Research Forum 2023

    Minister's visit to King's marks historic anniversary

    King’s College London welcomed the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Korea, Park Jin, for a roundtable discussion to mark the 140th anniversary...

    Three people sat at table in panel discussion

    King's ranks among top universities for knowledge exchange for third year running

    King’s College London has again ranked among the top English universities in this year’s Knowledge Exchange Framework results.

    Brain Web

    King's officially launches the Afe Babalola Centre for Transnational Education

    King’s College London officially launched the Afe Babalola Centre for Transnational Education and formalised a partnership with the Afe Babalola University...

    Delegation in Nigeria

    Celebrating the King's community driving forward sustainability

    Staff, students and alumni came together at the King’s Climate & Sustainability Awards 2023 to celebrate the efforts of those helping to make King’s a more...

    Group photo taken at the sustainability awards 2023 showing about 100 people holding up SDG boards.

    Events

    20MayUPDATED- MAY Event_NN

    Keynote and Debate: What should the future UK- Africa relationship look like? Priorities, collaboration, and agency

    The African Leadership Centre (ALC) is pleased to invite you to a Keynote and Debate among academics, diplomats, and policy practitioners. This event is a...

    Please note: this event has passed.

    02MayTest Accessibility for compliance with WCAG 2.2 Standards

    Test Accessibility for compliance with WCAG 2.2 Standards

    Test Accessibility for compliance with WCAG 2.2 Standards

    Please note: this event has passed.

    04Marun-npt

    Keynote: Is African Agency for sale, for hire or self-renewal? How can Africa shape the UN Summit of the Future?

    An open debate among academics, diplomats and policy practitioners.

    Please note: this event has passed.

    09NovAfrica

    Shifts in global power relations and implications for Africa

    Keynote lecture on 'Shifts in global power relations and implications for Africa', with Dr John Kayode Fayemi and Professor Funmi Olonisakin.

    Please note: this event has passed.

    27MarAfrica Research Forum 2023

    Africa's Position in a (Dis)Ordered Multipolar World

    The lecture will reflect on the emerging global (dis)order, how Africa should renegotiate its position within this context in flux, and what role, if any,...

    Please note: this event has passed.

    08MarIWD 2023 event listing

    International Women's Day: Dismantling barriers faced by women in STEMM

    Join our International Women's Day online event exploring the barriers for women in science research

    Please note: this event has passed.

    28Novafrica research promo

    Africa's influence on changing peace and security landscapes: reflection for policy, practice and scholarship

    Hear from Dr Comfort Ero, President and CEO of International Crisis Group (ICG).

    Please note: this event has passed.

    10Novaccra-ghana-africa-virgyl-sowah_780x450

    Peter Da Costa Memorial Lecture: Continuities and discontinuities in Africa: governance, development and regional peace and security (hybrid)

    Professor Chidi Anselm Odinkalu joins us for the 2022 Peter Da Costa Memorial Lecture.

    Please note: this event has passed.

    09MarAfrican fabrics and sewing machine

    Africa Week Keynote: Fashion as an interlocuter across disciplines, time and spaces

    A conversation with renowned Fashion Designer, Ituen Basi, about how Fashion and the Arts, more widely, serve as connectors across themes including history,...

    Please note: this event has passed.

    16AprALC Peacebuilding event

    Book launch: Whose Peace Are We Building? Leadership for Peace in Africa

    The African Leadership Centre (ALC) invites you to the launch of the first book of its Leading Practitioners Reflection Series on Peace and Security in Africa

    Please note: this event has passed.

    Features

    AccessibilityTest

    AccessibilityTest

    Test image

    Leadership in a multipolar world: why COVID-19 has demonstrated the need to rethink global and national leadership infrastructure

    Profesor 'Funmi Olonisakin and Linganaden Murday discuss leadership infrastructure as part of the Build Back Better Together essay series.

    G7 Summit Flags

    Spotlight

    Building leadership for peace in Africa

    To help us better understand and break the cyclical nature of conflict, Professor ‘Funmi Olonisakin has been working to help to transform approaches to...

    Tank in Tigray, Ethiopia

      Research

      twisted gun promo
      Conflict, Security & Development Research Group

      CSDRG undertakes a wide range of research, policy, advisory, and teaching activities related to conflict, security and development.

      Gender Studies logo
      Gender Studies at King's

      Bringing together like-minded scholars and students from across King's to examine the influence of gender relations..

      Nepal Desk Review picture
      InterSEC:Action

      The InterSEC:Action team review to understand the nature and scale of sexual exploitation in the aid industry and conduct a pilot study using genealogy

      Project status: Ongoing

      News

      Parent Power wins London Higher Award for local impact

      The project, which was established by King’s and Citizens UK in 2017 to address educational inequality and social justice issues in Lambeth and Southwark, won...

      Parent Power receiving the award

      UK-Africa relationship must be equitable, create structural shift: experts

      Academics, diplomats and policy practitioners recently came together at King’s to debate the future of the UK-Africa relationship.

      Labour Shadow Minister Lyn Brown with HE Manoah Esipisu, High Commissioner of Kenya to the UK.

      Celebrating staff contributions to shaping cultural competency

      King’s Cultural Competency Unit (CCU) expressed its thanks to staff members who volunteered to peer-review the Cultural Competency Programme for Staff, a...

      240515 CCU network lunch

      King's celebrates launch of new academic partnership

      A unique academic partnership between King’s College London and Seoul National University has officially been launched.

      NewMA007

      Winners announced at inaugural King's Engaged Research Awards ceremony

      The inaugural King’s Engaged Research Awards ceremony brought together staff, students and community partners to celebrate public and community engagement...

      aerial photo of all winners of king's engaged research awards 2024 looking upwards, some holding awards and certificates

      Carnegie Corporation invests in Africa's future research and impact leaders

      Major grant won by African Leadership Centre for ongoing research

      Africa Research Forum 2023

      Minister's visit to King's marks historic anniversary

      King’s College London welcomed the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Korea, Park Jin, for a roundtable discussion to mark the 140th anniversary...

      Three people sat at table in panel discussion

      King's ranks among top universities for knowledge exchange for third year running

      King’s College London has again ranked among the top English universities in this year’s Knowledge Exchange Framework results.

      Brain Web

      King's officially launches the Afe Babalola Centre for Transnational Education

      King’s College London officially launched the Afe Babalola Centre for Transnational Education and formalised a partnership with the Afe Babalola University...

      Delegation in Nigeria

      Celebrating the King's community driving forward sustainability

      Staff, students and alumni came together at the King’s Climate & Sustainability Awards 2023 to celebrate the efforts of those helping to make King’s a more...

      Group photo taken at the sustainability awards 2023 showing about 100 people holding up SDG boards.

      Events

      20MayUPDATED- MAY Event_NN

      Keynote and Debate: What should the future UK- Africa relationship look like? Priorities, collaboration, and agency

      The African Leadership Centre (ALC) is pleased to invite you to a Keynote and Debate among academics, diplomats, and policy practitioners. This event is a...

      Please note: this event has passed.

      02MayTest Accessibility for compliance with WCAG 2.2 Standards

      Test Accessibility for compliance with WCAG 2.2 Standards

      Test Accessibility for compliance with WCAG 2.2 Standards

      Please note: this event has passed.

      04Marun-npt

      Keynote: Is African Agency for sale, for hire or self-renewal? How can Africa shape the UN Summit of the Future?

      An open debate among academics, diplomats and policy practitioners.

      Please note: this event has passed.

      09NovAfrica

      Shifts in global power relations and implications for Africa

      Keynote lecture on 'Shifts in global power relations and implications for Africa', with Dr John Kayode Fayemi and Professor Funmi Olonisakin.

      Please note: this event has passed.

      27MarAfrica Research Forum 2023

      Africa's Position in a (Dis)Ordered Multipolar World

      The lecture will reflect on the emerging global (dis)order, how Africa should renegotiate its position within this context in flux, and what role, if any,...

      Please note: this event has passed.

      08MarIWD 2023 event listing

      International Women's Day: Dismantling barriers faced by women in STEMM

      Join our International Women's Day online event exploring the barriers for women in science research

      Please note: this event has passed.

      28Novafrica research promo

      Africa's influence on changing peace and security landscapes: reflection for policy, practice and scholarship

      Hear from Dr Comfort Ero, President and CEO of International Crisis Group (ICG).

      Please note: this event has passed.

      10Novaccra-ghana-africa-virgyl-sowah_780x450

      Peter Da Costa Memorial Lecture: Continuities and discontinuities in Africa: governance, development and regional peace and security (hybrid)

      Professor Chidi Anselm Odinkalu joins us for the 2022 Peter Da Costa Memorial Lecture.

      Please note: this event has passed.

      09MarAfrican fabrics and sewing machine

      Africa Week Keynote: Fashion as an interlocuter across disciplines, time and spaces

      A conversation with renowned Fashion Designer, Ituen Basi, about how Fashion and the Arts, more widely, serve as connectors across themes including history,...

      Please note: this event has passed.

      16AprALC Peacebuilding event

      Book launch: Whose Peace Are We Building? Leadership for Peace in Africa

      The African Leadership Centre (ALC) invites you to the launch of the first book of its Leading Practitioners Reflection Series on Peace and Security in Africa

      Please note: this event has passed.

      Features

      AccessibilityTest

      AccessibilityTest

      Test image

      Leadership in a multipolar world: why COVID-19 has demonstrated the need to rethink global and national leadership infrastructure

      Profesor 'Funmi Olonisakin and Linganaden Murday discuss leadership infrastructure as part of the Build Back Better Together essay series.

      G7 Summit Flags

      Spotlight

      Building leadership for peace in Africa

      To help us better understand and break the cyclical nature of conflict, Professor ‘Funmi Olonisakin has been working to help to transform approaches to...

      Tank in Tigray, Ethiopia