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Rift Valley Institute

Making local knowledge work

Horn of Africa Course 2018

This backdrop to this year’s course is the changing geopolitical significance of the region, and the evolving role of Middle Eastern and Gulf states in the Horn of Africa. Considering both historical trends and continuities, the course will examine the ways in which long-standing dynamics of state development, collapse and reform, and intrastate relations are being influenced by this changing geopolitical environment. The course will cast a critical eye over the region’s developmental, humanitarian, political and security challenges, and potential trajectories.

Our diverse teaching staff will bring expert insights from new research, informed, as ever, by their deep knowledge of the culture and history of the peoples of the Horn of Africa. The Directors of this year’s course will be Terrence Lyons and Peter Chonka and they will be joined by a team of leading experts. 




Highlights of the syllabus

DAY 1 Peoples and Cultures of the Horn

  • History and why it matters
  • Ethnicity and religion
  • Gender, youth and generational change

DAY 2 State Histories in the Horn

  • Ethiopia: The developmental state in historical perspective
  • Somalia: pre and post state collapse
  • Eritrea: A history of independence and isolation

DAY 3 The Year in the Horn

  • Resistance and reform in Ethiopia
  • Somalia and Somaliland: New leaders, new controversies, similar challenges
  • Dynamics and developments: Northern Kenya

DAY 4 The New Geopolitics of the Horn of Africa

  • The Gulf crisis and the Horn
  • US policy towards the Horn
  • Migration, displacement and diaspora dynamics

DAY 5 Security, Development and Humanitarian Trends

  • Violence extremism: Trends and trajectories
  • Development and resource management


Core teaching staff

Terrence Lyons PhD Co-Director of Studies
Associate Professor, George Mason University

Peter Chonka PhD Co-Director of Studies
Teaching Fellow, King’s College

Lealem Mersha
Independent Researcher

Lidet Tadesse
Policy Officer, European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM)

Christopher Clapham PhD
Professor, University of Cambridge

Dereje Feyissa PhD
Addis Ababa University

Rashid Abdi PhD
Horn of Africa Project Director, International Crisis Group

Michael Woldemariam PhD
Assistant Professor, Boston University

Idil Osman PhD
Senior Teaching Fellow, SOAS

Lee Cassanelli PhD
Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania

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