Institute of African Studies - Columbia University

8th Annual African Diplomatic Forum

Event Details

8th Annual African Diplomatic Forum
Build Africa: The Diplomacy of Capacity Building and Our Common Future
October 31, 2014 - 9:00am to 6:00pm
International Affairs Building 15th Floor

Welcome to Columbia University's 8th Annual African Diplomatic Forum (ADF), co-hosted by the SIPA Pan-African Network (SPAN) and the Institute of African Studies (IAS). It will be held on Friday, October 31 at the Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

From modest beginnings, the African Diplomatic Forum has grown to be one of the largest Africa-focused events at SIPA and provides great networking opportunities for students, faculty, alumni and development professionals. This year, our objective is to spotlight the question of how development and progress require peace and strategic collaboration by African nations in order to have a shared perspective of what a common future looks like.

The Forum has in previous years hosted a number of key scholars, policy makers and development practitioners, including the former Prime Minister of Guinea, Dr. Ahmed Tidiane Souaré, HE Ambassador Macharia Kamau, Ambassador of the Republic of Kenya, Dr. Sarah Cliffe, Special Advisor, Civilian Capacities Review, UN, and many other distinguished guests.

We hope you will join us for a great discussion on The Diplomacy of Capacity Building and Our Common Future and look forward to seeing you on the 31st of October.

Register at

2014 Theme: Build Africa: The Diplomacy of Capacity Building and Our Common Future

On behalf of SIPA Pan African Network (SPAN) at Columbia University, we are excited to invite you to the 8th annual Africa Diplomatic Forum. The conference will be held on Columbia’s campus in New York, on October 31st 2014 and will continue the tradition of thought-provoking content and professional networking with inspirational people.

This year’s theme " Build Africa: The Diplomacy of Capacity Building and Our Common Future”. " We hope that this theme will evoke discussions that are not necessarily for African pessimism or African optimism but instead for Africa realism. People need to see Africa as it is. From "Lions on the rise", "the dark continent alights", "Africa on the rise", "the emerging" continent ... the last decade has seen numerous typically Afro-pessimists acknowledge there is a positive "wind of change" on the continent as a whole. The rate of growth in Sub-Saharan African beats any other region of the world. So the promise is there. With their dedication and energy we can truly unleash the beast and let the African lion truly roar! We look forward to partaking in that process of architecting that bright new future for Africa ....

Some key questions that we will discuss include:
Development and progress require peace and collaboration. A Strategic collaboration by African nations, shared perspective of what the common future looks like. Effective diplomacy is key to this. Does Africa have the right framework to support this? Is it through political institutions like AU or is it through regional economic blocs ECOWAS, COMESA, East Africa, SADC etc.?

How do we define capacity? Is it Infrastructure or does it also include supportive institutions and the legal framework to actualize the desired benefits?

Will enough regions in Africa have sustained peace required to nurture the long term planning and infrastructure to effect real economic change that is sustainable and most importantly changes the standard of living for a significant portion of the population?

Featured Keynotes: Iyabo Obasanjo, Distinguished Fellow at the African Presidential Center of Boston University
H.E. Liberata Mulamula, Ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania to the United States
Charles Stith, Ambassador of the United States to the Republic of Tanzania

Featured Panels: Body Security in South Africa: A Dialogue about Violence Against Women
Governance, Security, and Health: How West African Nations Handle Crises
The Diplomacy of Capacity Building: Special Ambassadors Panel