Cyril Obi Candidate Statement

Cyril Obi
Social Science Research Council

I accept my nomination to stand for elections into the Board of Directors of the African Studies Association (2016-2019) with a sense of humility. I realize fully well the responsibilities and importance of this position, and cherish the opportunity to serve.

With unique qualities drawn from straddling the scholarly and policy worlds, I am well placed to serve in strengthening and deepening the connections between the ASA, policy institutions, funders as well as centers of excellence in the United States and Africa. My research, training and grant management experience in Nigeria, the UK, Netherlands, Sweden and the United States are skills which would contribute significantly to the Association’s capacity for building partnerships and networks across diverse constituencies, and undertake strategic outreach and capacity-building activities across the US, Europe, Asia and Africa.
 
As the founding program director of the African Peacebuilding Network (APN) program at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) since 2012, I have played key roles in supporting collaborative activities involving US-based organizations and African universities such as policy dialogues, research and publication activities. Leading the APN has contributed significantly towards the quality and visibility of knowledge production and policy uptake. Equally relevant is my engagement in fundraising, networking, resource mobilization and grants administration, providing me with vital expertise that can serve the ASA well as it strives to consolidate its status as a strategic global organization. I can contribute towards strengthening its capacity-building, grant-proposal and funding activities, all of which will raise its profile and relevance to scholars of Africa and the global and African policy communities. 

My work with policy-engaged research and promoting scholar-practitioner linkages has been built against a background of a rich interdisciplinary background with decades of experience working in three continents: Africa, Europe and North America. My Ph.D. and Masters’ degrees in Political Science are from the University of Lagos, and a B.A. degree in History from the University of Benin, Nigeria. International academic awards and fellowships from several organizations, namely, the Governance Institute of CODESRIA (1993) in Dakar, SSRC (1996) in New York, the Africa Studies Centre (1998), in Leiden, Nordic Africa Institute (1999) in Uppsala, and Oxford University (1999/2000) in the UK, have enabled me to do extensive research in Africa and teach it. Additionally, I was a recipient of the Claude Ake Visiting Professorship to the Department of Peace and Security Studies, University of Uppsala in 2004 and Senior Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, from 2005-2011. I am currently a visiting scholar in the Institute of African Studies (IAS), Columbia University. New York.

I serve on the editorial advisory boards of African Affairs, Review of African Political Economy, African Security Review, African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review, African Journal of International Affairs and the Strategic Review for Southern Africa, among others. My experience, diverse exposure and contributions put me in good stead to serve a distinguished community of Africanist scholars and contribute to its efforts to mentor and inspire coming generations of scholars and practitioners.

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