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Training Diplomats of Postcolonial African States 1957-1997

This project analyses the spatial dynamics of transnational diplomatic training to provide new understandings of postcolonial state-building in Francophone and Anglophone Africa.

Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the project examines a 40-year period (1957-1997) in which diplomatic training became an increasingly internationalised, professionalised endeavour. This was a consequence both of the independence and accession to the United Nations of a large group of newly independent African states for which new diplomats were required, and the growing activities of international organisations and universities in diplomatic training.

Sitting at the crossroads of political geography, diplomacy studies, education studies and postcolonial and African history, the findings of this project will have a wide range of applications and impacts.

Co-Investigator: Dr Fiona McConnell (Oxford University)


  1. To examine diplomatic training as a site of knowledge production and diplomatic socialisation, considering how gender, race and class interact with the performance of solidarity and tutelage in the context of diplomatic training.
  2. To investigate the geography of diplomatic training, focusing on the locations and micro-spaces of training, and the transnational networks of funding, people, and knowledge which underpinned it.
  3. To understand the impact of training on the emergence of the African postcolonial diplomatic sphere, including how trainers and students reproduced or reshaped western and colonial diplomatic norms.
  4. To broaden empirical and theoretical understandings of the geopolitics of decolonisation and postcolonial state-building in Africa through a focus on everyday training spaces.


  • Archival research
  • Oral histories

Our Partners

University of Oxford

University of Oxford

Project status: Ongoing

Principal Investigator


Funding Body: Leverhulme Trust

Amount: £234,667

Period: September 2021 - February 2024