Previous Events


Iran and Israel: Covert War Games in Africa|

Speaker: Dinesh Mahtani
Chair: Dr Chris Alden

Thursday 24 May 2012, 12noon to 2:00pm, EAS.E168 (LSE East Building)


Piracy in Somalia: Inside the Pirate Business|

Monday 27 February 2012, 7.00 - 8.30pm. COL 2.01, Columbia House
Speaker: Professor Stig Hansen


The Miracle of Mauritius|

Thursday 16 February 2011, 6:30pm Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE
Speaker: Pierre Dinan, Dr Chris Alden (chair)

Mugabe Small

UK Movie Premiere: Robert Mugabe: What Happened? |

28 November 2011, 6:00pm New Theatre, East Building, LSE
Speaker: Simon Bright (director), Dr Sue Onslow (chair)


The Aid/Trade Debate|

31 October 2011, 6:30pm, Wolfson Theatre
Speaker: Professor Shantayanan Devarajan, Eric-Vincent Guichard (discussant), Dr Sue Onslow (chair)


African revolutions and political transitions: the view from Paris |

17 May 2011, 6:30pm, KSW.G.1 (Kingsway Building)
Speaker: Mr Stephane Gompertz, Head of Africa and the Indian Ocean, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France Dr. Sue Onslow (chair)


What next for Algeria

|22 March 2011, 6:30pm, COL.B212
Professor Lahouari Addi, Ms. Amel Boubekeur, Dr. Sue Onslow (chair)

Howard Wolpe

Africa and the World: the View from Washington|

30 November 2010, 6.30pm, Old Theatre, Old Building
Speaker: Dr Howard Wolpe, Respondent: Dr. Chris Alden, Chair: Professor Michael Cox


LSE IDEAS – IPRI Working Seminar, Lisbon, Portugal

IPRIlogoLegacies of Conflict, Decolonisation and the Cold War |
28/29 May 2010, IPRI Lisbon, Portugal

The recent history of Southern Africa has enormous importance for the contemporary world, in terms of both inter and intra state relations, and the linkages/ruptures between African states and movements.  Building upon a successful conference in May 2009 which brought together both established and new scholars in the field of Southern African studies in the 1970s and 1980s, LSE IDEAS and the Portuguese Institute of International Affairs (IPRI) are organizing a second working seminar in Lisbon on 28/29th May 2010. This meeting will address the legacies of decolonization, conflict and the Cold War for contemporary Africa with an emphasis on the political, diplomatic, military, ideological and social legacies of the Cold War era on African states and societies, and new perspectives on the inheritance of the struggle between nationalist liberation and white minority rule, external actors and agencies.

The Geopolitics of the Western Sahara Conflict|
29 April 2010, 6.30pm, B212
Speaker: Professor Yahia Zoubir
Chair: Dr Sue Onslow
Niger delta

AFRICA TALKS: The Niger Delta: Confronting the Crisis
|11 March 2010, 6.00pm-7.45pm New Academic Building NAB204
Chair: Dr. Sue Onslow


LSE IDEAS Africa International Affairs Programme Launch: Africa and the World

04 March 2010, 6.30pm, The Box, Clements Inn, LSE

Speaker: Prof. Thandika Mkandawire, Prof. Fantu Cheru, Prof. Michael Chege, Dr. Chris Alden

africaLaunch7On 4th March 2010 LSE IDEAS formally launched the Africa International Affairs Programme (AIAP) with the convening of a Roundtable discussion on 'Africa and the World' between leading developmental economists, Professor Thandika Mkandawire (the new Chair of African Development at LSE); Professor Michael Chege (former Harvard professor and current adviser to the Prime Minister's Office, Kenya on International Development Partnerships; Professor Fantu Cheru (Research Director of the Nordic Afrika Institute, and formerly a member of the UN Secretary-General's Panel on International Support for the New Partnership for African Development ); and Dr Chris Alden, Reader in the Dept of International Relations at the LSE, and authority on China's engagement in Africa. More »|

LSE IDEAS Africa International Affairs Programme Seminar 

VanWykFrom Nuclear Pariah to Non-Proliferation Hero: Legacies of South Africa's Nuclear Policy
2 March 2010, 6.00pm, B212 LSE IDEAS Conference Room
Speaker: Dr. Anna-Mart van Wyk
|Chair: Dr. Sue Onslow



In her overview of South Africa's nuclear programme, from development of nuclear weapons capability in the 1970s to the decision to decommission taken in mid-1989, Anna Mart Van emphasised South Africa’s nuclear policy represents a unique case in the history of international arms control measures, non-proliferation and non-alignment. In late 1989, South Africa became the first country to voluntarily destroyed its atomic weapons capability, before acceding to the NPT. The dismantlement of the arsenal represented the beginning of a new era in South Africa’s nuclear history – one where an original decision founded on Real Politic was transformed into a claim to moral authority and leadership in international relations, and of nuclear accountability in the contemporary world. After 1994 specifically, under the new ANC government, South Africa has became a leader in promoting nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament among non-aligned nations. 

Anna-Mart van Wyk is a Lecturer and current Head of International Studies at Monash South Africa, a campus of Monash University Australia. Her current research in multiple international archives investigates South Africa’s military and nuclear policies during and after the Cold War. She is the author of a chapter on U.S.-South African nuclear relations in Cold War in Southern Africa: White Power, Black Liberation (ed. Sue Onslow, London: Routledge, 2009) and papers in Cold War History, South African Historical Journal and Historia. She has held a prestigious post-doctoral research fellowship from the South African National Research Foundation and the University of Johannesburg before joining Monash South Africa in 2008, where she teaches courses in arms control and diplomacy and international relations.

LSE IDEAS Africa International Affairs Programme Book Launch

sueOnslowCold War in Southern Africa: White Power, Black Liberation
8 December 2009, 6.30pm, B212
Speaker: Dr. Sue Onslow
Chair: Professor Arne Westad

The Cold War made for stability in Europe, but 'hot war' in the Third World. Dr. Sue Onslow will be exploring a number of different themes of conflict in Southern Africa during the Cold War raised in this volume. These include South Africa's nuclear programme, Soviet and Cuban involvement in the region, and contribution to transitions to black majority rule in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, Namibia, and South Africa; political change; anti-communism in Rhodesian and South African thinking and strategic planning; and the connections between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of apartheid.

Dr. Sue Onslow is the head of the Africa in International Affairs Programme at LSE IDEAS. She specialises in British foreign policy prot-1945, British modern imperial history in the Middle East and Africa, and Southern African history in the Cold War.

LSE IDEAS Africa International Affairs Programme Seminar

congoThe Democratic Republic of the Congo, Arms and Conflict
3 December 2009, 12:30-2pm, Connaught House, H216|
Speaker: Dino Mahtani 
Commentator: Dr. Sue Onslow

Dino Mahtani, a former MSc student in Comparative Politics at the LSE, and journalist for Reuters and the FT, came to speak at LSE IDEAS on the dynamics of conflict in eastern Congo. Mahtani was appointed by the Secretary General of the UN to investigate material and financial support given to rebel and militia armies operating in eastern Congo and with a mandate to report back to the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee. He presented a detailed background on the international and regional networks which are fuelling conflict centred on North and South Kivu. Mahtani corrected widespread misreporting of the forthcoming UN Report (due to be published formally on 7 December). He underlined that contrary to the statements of UN special representative Osabanjo  that transformation had been achieved, the 5 member team found substantial evidence of enduring material and financial support given to rebel and militia armies. In addition to the connections between this conflict and the international trade in extractive industries, Mahtani summarized the recommendations of the special committee which have been presented to the UNSC.

Dino Mahtani has worked on and off in the DRC since 2003, first as Reuters correspondent in Kinshasa in 2003-2004, then as West Africa correspondent for the Financial Times between 2005-2007. Since May 2008 he has worked as a member of the UN "Group of Experts" for the DRC, an independent team of five people appointed by the Secretary General of the UN to investigate material and financial support given to rebel and militia armies operating in eastern Congo and with a mandate to report back to the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee. He took over as Coordinator of the Group of Experts in February 2009 and will be presenting his last report to the Committee in late November 2009. He is an alumni of LSE, MSc Comparative Politics, Class of 2001-2002.

The 'Final report of the Group of Experts on the DRC submitted in accordance with paragraph 8 of Security Council resolution 1857 (2008) (S/2009/603)' can be found under here|.

Africa International Affairs Programme Seminar

volmanlisten|Obama, AFRICOM, and the Militarization of Africa
9 November 2009, 7:00pm, B212
Speaker: Dr Daniel Volman
Chair: Dr Chris Alden

Dr. Daniel Volman's talk on Obama, AFRICOM and the militarization of Africa not only provided an update on on the policies of the of the Obama administration in Africa, but also placed the African continent in the wider field of changes in global politics.

Since the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania Africa has reappeared on the map of the US government. However, today terrorism is only one of the topics for the US engagement in Africa, and issues such as access to natural resources and capacity building, often in form of military equipment and training has been added to the agenda. The diversification of fossil energy sources for the US increasingly relies on supplies from the African continent, but recent war games and strategic assessments have caused the US government to realize the weakness in protecting these sources. The resulting change in political and military doctrine relies on keeping a centralized command structure (AFRICOM) base in Stuttgart, Germany with highly mobile military services that can be deployed within a short period of time within Africa. The advantage of the absence of permanent bases on the continent not only avoids potential political conflicts within the African country, but also avoids the confrontation with other increasingly active state actors such as India and Africa while keeping the financial and political cost of AFRICOM relatively low in the US. The result of this is that despite the anticipated changes in the approach to Africa of the Obama administration most policies and behaviours of the previous administrations remain in place. 

Dr Volman is the Director of the African Security Research Project in Washington, DC, and a member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Association of Concerned Africa Scholars.  He is a specialist on U.S. security policy toward Africa and U.S. military activities on the continent.

Africa International Affairs Programme Seminar

ashurstEventThe Reality of Africa : 21st Century challenges and opportunitieslisten|
29 October 2009, 6:30pm, B212
Speaker: Mark Ashurst, Director, Africa Research Institute
Chair: Sue Onslow

Mark Ashurst's stimulating talk on The Realities of Africa was a refreshing take on African perceptions of the external world. The wide ranging discussion addressed issues such as African identity and legitimacy (rooted in 'authenticity'); the erosion of 20th century Western models of statecraft in the African context; the emergence of securocrats/intelligence communities as vital underpinnings of state power, combined in some cases with democratization; the transmutation of liberal and neo-liberal models in African political economies, and the problems of promoting governance as an external developmental agenda, and a candid review of the costs/benefits of structural adjustment. In a welcome departure from the popular discourse of the African Crisis, Ashurst emphasized the normalisation of African states' interaction with the international community.

Mark Ashurst is Director of the Africa Research Institute in London, a non-partisan think tank with a brief to look for ideas with a record of success in Africa, and to identify areas where new ideas are needed. Mark spent six years as the BBC’s Africa Business Editor, and has worked in Africa as a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times, The Economist and Newsweek.
His radio documentaries for the BBC include The Congo, a series chronicling the descent of the river; Helping Ourselves, an enquiry into fair trade; and Crossing Continents, a survey of Zimbabwean migrants in southern Africa.
In 1995, Mark drafted Nelson Mandela’s opening address to the Union of African Radio and Television Broadcasters’ first congress in Johannesburg (URTNA). He previously worked in the Strategic Planning Unit of the South African Broadcasting Corporation during its transition from apartheid propaganda machine to a public broadcaster.



IDEAS / IPRI - Instituto Portugues de Relacoes Internacionais Working Expert Seminar


Southern Africa in the Cold War Era
8-9 May 2009, Fundacao Luso-Americana, Lisbon, Portugal  

Decolonisation was the most important dynamic of change in Southern Africa in the latter half of the twentieth century. The growing historiography of the intersection of the Cold War and European Africa, and the associated African nationalist regional liberation struggle, has benefited immeasurably from recent multi-archival research. This seminar will bring together both established and new scholars in the field of Southern African studies in the 1970s and 1980s - an era in which the sub-continent became a cauldron of the Cold War.

Drawing upon individual current research projects, it will address Portuguese/British relations over the long-running Rhodesian UDI crisis; the Angolan civil war; the Namibian independence struggle; Soviet, American and South African involvement in the regional liberation wars; as well as the agenda and contribution of other actors to the anti-imperialist struggle on the African continent. Agenda and details|

IDEAS Seminar


South Africa and Zimbabwe
22 October 2008, 6:30 pm, B212
Speaker: Professor Jack Spence
Chair: Dr. Sue Onslow

Events in Southern Africa have moved at a bewildering pace this year. Despite the nominal agreement between Robert Mugabe and ZANU (PF) and the MDC, finally agreed in September, the long-running crisis in Zimbabwe continues to poison regional political, economic and social relationships.

Nowhere is this more acute than in South Africa, as the recent violence against migrants has amply demonstrated. Professor Spence will discuss the particular challenges posed by Zimbabwe's recent turmoil to the South African leadership, as South Africa itself is experiencing political upheaval, and facing presidential elections in 2009.


onslowSeminar_160x119UN Peacekeeping/Peacemaking: The Lessons of Rwanda
11 March 2008, 6:30 pm, Graham Wallace Room
Speakers: Linda Melvern and Andrew Mitchell
Chair: Dr. Sue Onslow

This panel brought together two speakers with detailed knowledge of recent violence and conflict in Africa, and the challenges these posed to the international community and the United Nations. Details.|

IDEAS-CWSC Graduate Seminar


knoxChitiyo_160x159Zimbabwe: The Road From Independence to 2007
Thursday 18 October 2007, 6.30 pm, D702
Speaker: Dr. Knox Chitiyo
Chair: Dr Sue Onslow

Knox Chitiyo is a Zimbabwean researcher and was the first Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) Nelson Mandela Visiting Africa Fellow and now heads the RUSI Africa Programme, an initiative generously supported by the Brenthurst Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

He was a Senior Lecturer in War Studies in the History Department at the University of Zimbabwe from 1994-2003. He was also the Deputy Director (and co-founder) of the Centre for Defence Studies during the same period, and edited the Journal of African Security and Conflict.

He is particularly interested in the armed/security forces of southern Africa [particularly Zimbabwe] and how they intersect with issues of development, and political transitions.

Seminar: Southern Africa in the Cold War Era



rhodesiaMapLarger_160x145Southern Africa in the Cold War Era
4 July 2006, LSE

As part of its Southern Africa Programme|, the Cold War Studies Centre held a seminar of leading international scholars on Southern Africa on 4th July 2006 at the LSE. 

Participants included Professor Christopher Saunders (University of Cape Town), Sir Marrack Goulding (St Antony's, Oxford), Professor Irina Filatova (formerly University of KwaZulu Natal), Professor Vladimir Shubin (Institute of African Studies, Moscow), Professor Ackson Kanduza (University of Swaziland), Professor Jack Spence (Department of War Studies, Kings College), and Merle Lipton (Sussex University). Professor Arne Westad was the chair.