The meaning of post-conflict societies in Africa is contentious and widely contested, especially today when Africa’s post-conflict contexts and conflict dynamics have invariably garnered potentials to escalate and de-escalate.

Moreover, the interstitial organs of post-conflict societies are not limited to human costs and sufferings from intrastate conflicts alone but implicate the neighboring countries, regions and the world. Many factors play into the contentions and contestations of post-conflict societies including post-colonial legacy, post-cold war intrastate conflicts, wars of the revolution that established tenuous regimes, the failing, dishonest and poorly implementable peace agreements, election-related and post-election violence, climatic change, terrorism, and national and transnational organised crimes, to mention but a few.

Relapses in violence and crimes in Africa

Emergence and spread of civil war and conflict in a Post-Cold War period in Africa

Pervasiveness of tense situations, unstable period of peace in Africa

In light of these factors, there is a strong need for a holistic and transformative post-conflict framing and post-conflict social structures, systems, policies, and development at different levels.

IPSS understands Post-conflict societies from the holistic and conflict transformation lenses, where processes of societal change take place over time, and on a case-by-case basis. Working for post-conflict societies includes a lot of interrelated processes  such as deepening the peace course through political reforms and reconciliations, peace education,  peace support operations,  humanitarian engagements, and economic development that create employment opportunities. These ultimately lead into a sustainable transformation of the political economy of violence in a country.


The Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) at Addis Ababa University (AAU) was established in 2007 with the vision of becoming a premier African institute for knowledge production and dissemination in the field of peace and security. The institute has excelled in this area, ranking among the top 50 think tank in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 the University of Pennsylvania Global Go To Think Tank Index Reports.

IPSS was selected by the ARUA Secretariat to host the Centre of Excellence (CoE) in 2017. The CoE is hosted by IPSS at AAU with the main objective to facilitate and advance education and training, and African-led research knowledge generation and dissemination in conflict prevention, management, and post-conflict reconstruction and development by providing a platform for learners and educators at national, regional, continental and global levels.


Provide Education and professional training

Undertake research on pertinent issues of post-conflict societies in Africa

Publication and dissemination of research outcomes on post-conflict reconstruction and development in post-conflict societies in Africa

Foster experience sharing between African scholars, professionals, practitioners, and decision-makers on issues of post-conflict societies

Serve as a think-tank for Pan-African institutions (such as Pan African Union Commission and Regional Economic Communities/mechanisms), and member states in post-conflict societies


The objectives of the CoE will be accompanied by these outputs:

  • Publication of a peer-reviewed journal focused on post-conflict societies
  • Organisation of continental-wide conferences in the thematic areas of post-conflict societies every year
  • Annual production of a report on the state of peace and security in Africa
  • Production of handbooks on post-conflict reconstruction in post-conflict societies
  • Setting-up of a database/knowledge sharing center (online resources, e-book)
  • Host Ph.D. and post-doc research  positions  from the ARUA every year


While IPSS hosts the Post-conflict Societies Centre of Excellence, the Centre partners with Makerere University (Uganda), the University of Ibadan (Nigeria), the University of Nairobi (Kenya), and the Political Science and International Relations Department of Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia). The center further benefits from a pool of existing IPSS partners who will offer technical and financial support to the realization of its goals. Some of IPSS’s existing partners include the European Centre for Development Policy Management, the Woodrow Wilson Centre, UN University of Peace, the United States Institute for Peace, the Institute for Security Studies, University of Leipzig, several Ethiopian universities, and international organisations such as the African Union, and United Nations Liaison Office to the African Union.

AAU’s IPSS gets GCRF-ARUA funding on ‘Migration, Urbanisation and Conflict in Africa (MUCA)’

MUCA promotes peaceful urban development in African countries experiencing rapid urban growth and extensive urban in-migration. It focuses on post-conflict country cases whose violent past is shaping their present to varying extents and all faced with a high risk of intense conflicts linked to migration and urban growth; namely, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Uganda. MUCA will meet its objectives through research impacting the production and access to knowledge on three central themes: inequality, labour migration, and identity dynamics in three cities per case country—Addis Ababa, Hawassa and Jigjiga (Ethiopia); Lagos, Lokoja and Jos (Nigeria); and Kampala, Jinja and Gulu (Uganda). The three-year research project will be implemented in collaboration with partner researchers at the Universities of Lagos, Makerere and Sheffield.

This project is one of four research projects supported by the GCRF in partnership with ARUA.

Capacity building for the CoE on Post-conflict societies

The project aims to build research capacities of  Seven partner universities including, the Addis Ababa University,  the  University of Hargeisa from Somaliland/ Somalia, Haramaya University from Ethiopia, Africa University from Zimbabwe, The Protestant University of Central Africa from Cameroon, Obafemi Awolowo University from Nigeria and the University of Manchester from the UK using a Hub and spoke model.   The research component of the project focuses on understanding the dynamics of the blockage of peacebuilding with a primary emphasis on factors, actors, internal and external dynamics, which have undermined the implementation of peace deals as suggested by the UN’s Sustaining Peace Agenda. It unravels why effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions have not been built in the conflict-affected or post-conflict societies. Case studies will be considered in the countries where the universities in the network are located. Research outputs will be disseminated through journal articles and policy briefs.

This project is one of thirteen capacity building projects supported by the GCRF in partnership with ARUA.


Mercy Fekadu, PhD
Director of the CoE
T: +251 (1) 11 245 660
P. O. Box: 1176
Addis Ababa