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GESI/IPSS Inaugural Alumni Conference convenes in Dakar

Dr. Yonas Adaye Adeto, Associate Academic Director at IPSS, acknowledged the significance of alumni networks in shared learning and emphasized, “Being alumni means being connected”.


14 September 2018

From 6-10 September 2018, IPSS and the Global and European Studies Institute (GESI) of the University of Leipzig hosted the first alumni conference for the jointly offered Master and PhD programmes in “Global Studies with a Special Emphasis on Peace and Security in Africa”.


The conference, which took place in Dakar, Senegal and was attended by over 40 participants from 15 countries, had the two-fold aim of informing graduates on the latest progress in peace and security, as well as providing networking opportunities for the next generation of peace and security experts. The conference also launched the establishment of the Alumni Association.


In his opening statement, Andreas Wixler, a representative of the German Embassy in Dakar, welcomed the participants to the city and expressed the timeliness of such a network in Africa. Dr. Yonas Adaye Adeto, Associate Academic Director at IPSS, acknowledged the significance of alumni networks in shared learning and emphasized, “Being alumni means being connected”.  Dr. Matthias Middell, Director of GESI, reflected on the purpose of alumni networks and appealed to the participants to produce knowledge that not only transcends lectures but also calls for practical integration. Ms. Eman Alhal and Mr. Gerald Witherspoon (2015/2016 MA Graduates) each gave a welcome speech on behalf of the alumni.


The agenda, facilitated by the Programmes’ alumni, featured presentations and panel discussions from different experts, including Dr. Lori-Anne-Theroux-Beroni from the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Dakar; Dr. Jean- Herve Jezequel from the International Crisis Group, Dakar; Prof. Ulf Engel from Leipzig University; Ms. Esther Ikubaje from Amnesty International, Nigeria; Dr. Bakary Sambe from the Timbuktu Institute, Senegal; and Prof. Moshood Mahmood Jimba from Kwara State University, Nigeria.


Furthermore, in the pursuit to strengthen the future of the Alumni Association, alumni members expressed interest in maintaining connections and professional linkages through established coordination and communication efforts that include:


  1. An online presence via a community forum.
  2. An elected leadership of the alumni network; the chosen representatives were Ms. Sarah Sinnreich, Ms. Johanna Girma, and Mr. Dawit Yohannes.
  3. An emphasis on implementing recurrent in-person exchanges.


The closing remarks were delivered by representatives from IPSS and GESI. Ms. Michelle Ndiaye, Director of the Africa Peace and Security Programme (APSP) at IPSS and Head of the Tana Forum Secretariat, congratulated the participants for working to ensure the alumni network takes root and also appealed them to be civil servants in the field of peace and security field. She added, “Being part of an alumni network also means giving back to society. You should have the drive to give back to the community.” She also urged the alumni to utilize the existing publication opportunities available at both the IPSS and Leipzig University.


Dr. Middell recognized the conference as a moment signalling the generational change of the existing programmes: “After six years, this meeting is indeed justifiable because of the maturity of the programmes.” Students who learned from the programmes can now “mentor the other students on the challenges they were faced with.” He closed by thanking all the presenters, participants and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for financing the conference.


Click here to view photos from the Alumni Conference.



About GESI/IPSS Master and PhD Programmes


The aim of these study programmes is the interdisciplinary and transnational training of experts in peace and conflict issues, especially on the African continent with an emphasis on the global configurations in which these conflicts take place and often are resolved. As part of the project line “Transnational Education—Study Programs of German Universities Abroad”, both programmes are supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). For more information, click here.