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CFP: Redefining African Futures: The State, Resilience, and Pathways to Progress  

Academic Conference on Africa 
“Redefining African Futures: The State, Resilience, and Pathways to Progress” 


For the upcoming Academic Conference on Africa, to be held in-person from 5 to 7 December 2023 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York with additional participation via Zoom – a call is open for the submission of original research papers, case studies and policy analyses that align with the conference themes while providing innovative insights, fresh perspectives, and actionable recommendations. 

Multidisciplinary papers are welcome and the conference organizers will provide funding to support the travel and accommodations of authors selected to present their submissions at the conference. 


Submit a proposal abstract in English, French or Portuguese via email to osaa@un.org, including the following information: 

▪ The author’s name, nationality, affiliation and contact details, including email address and phone number 

▪ A 500- to 1,000-word proposal in a Word or PDF document (no other file format will be accepted) 

▪ The author’s CV, including a list of relevant publications in a Word or PDF document (no other file format will be accepted) 


A complete proposal, as outlined above, must be received by 25 October 2023. 


To strengthen African representation in global development scholarship and ensure African scholars’ voices contribute to key exchanges shaping the continent’s future, the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA), in collaboration with the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), is launching an academic conference to present research and analysis on issues related to development, peace, humanitarian action, and human rights in Africa, with focus on the following themes: 

Theme 1: “African Governance: Assessing the State of the State” 

At the heart of Africa’s evolving narrative lies the concept of “The State” — its successes, its shortcomings, and its profound impact on the lives of millions. Academics, policymakers, and thought leaders are invited to critically examine the state’s role in Africa’s development, peace and security landscape. 

Possible areas of discussion include, but are not limited to: 

▪ Historical Context: Explore Africa’s historical journey and its influence on contemporary statehood. 

▪ Democracy’s Delivery: In-depth consideration of whether and to what extent prevalent modes of democracy have delivered upon their promises in Africa. 

▪ Prioritizing African Governance: Concrete discussions about what African governments should prioritize and what support for governance should look like from the multilateral system and development partners. 

Theme 2: “Complexities of Resilience in Africa: Expanding the Perspective” 

Resilience is a common thread across development, peace and security, human rights, and humanitarian action, and thus is increasingly emphasized in global discourse related to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. While multilateral discussions around resilience have largely centered around government-led mechanisms, there are many other facets of resilience embedded in the cultural fabric of Africa. Academics, policymakers and thought leaders are invited to explore Africa’s unique strengths in resilience, which are often overlooked in these discussions, while also analyzing how resilience on the continent can be strengthened to address the challenges on the horizon. 

Possible areas of discussion include, but are not limited to: 

▪ Beyond Western Perspectives: Looking beyond the Western-centric approach to acknowledge Africa’s strengths in resilience, including, for example, in social protection. 

▪ Cultural Resilience: Discuss the profound role of history, culture and other areas of humanities in understanding, building and sustaining resilience. 

▪ Redefining African Futures: Explore how resilience can be harnessed as a force for positive change, turning crises into opportunities for growth. 


▪ Abstract Submission (by 25 October 2023): Submit a concise abstract (500-1000 words) outlining your research questions, objectives, and expected contributions related to the conference themes. 

▪ Review of Abstracts (by 31 October 2023): A diverse panel of experts will review the abstracts based on relevance, originality, and potential contributions. Authors of accepted abstracts will be invited to expand their abstracts into short papers. 

▪ Expansion of Abstracts into Short Papers (by 22 November 2023): Authors of accepted abstracts will work on expanding their abstracts into short papers (approximately 2,000-3,000 words), providing a clear picture of the scope and trajectory of the larger papers to come. 

▪ Presentation at the Conference (5-7 December 2023): Authors will present their short papers at the conference, receiving feedback from a diverse audience, including academics, UN system representatives, and government officials. 

▪ Expansion into Longer Articles and Publication Opportunities (2024): Following the conference, authors will have the opportunity to expand their short papers into full-length articles for publication. The full-length articles will be eligible for publication in a forthcoming academic publication to be launched by OSAA in 2024. 


For additional inquiries, contact OSAA via email at: osaa@un.org. 

Follow OSAA on social media: 

▪ Facebook: @unosaa2020 

▪ X: @UNOSAA1 

▪ YouTube: UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa 

Follow UNAI on social media: 

▪ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ImpactUN 

▪ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/academicimpact/ 

▪ X: https://twitter.com/ImpactUN 

▪ YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/UnitedNationsAcademicImpact 

▪ Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/unacademicimpact