Phil Clark: conflict issues in Africa (Uganda, D.R.C and Rwanda)

Uganda, Kampala, Rwanda, DR Congo, Tanzania, Kenya
Kampala the capital, and largest city, of Uganda. To the North of Uganda is its neighbour South Sudan; to the West, the Democratic Republic of Congo; to the South, Rwanda and Tanzania; and to the East, Kenya. © Leandro Neumann Ciuffo

I specialise in conflict issues in Africa, including the causes of mass violence and peace and justice responses to violence. My interest in these topics stems mainly from having grown up in different parts of Africa. I was born in Sudan and spent all of my teenage years in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. I was also involved in reconciliation issues as an undergraduate in Australia, focusing on the plight of the indigenous community. Meanwhile, some of my relatives were involved in peace-building work in Rwanda and Northern Ireland in the 1990s, so all of these have been influences on my current work.

Dr Phil ClarkI’m currently finishing a book on the politics of the International Criminal Court in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is based on 9 years of fieldwork in central Africa, including around 500 interviews with international, national and community-level respondents. I’m also completing two other research projects – one on victims’ and perpetrators’ interpretations of forgiveness and reconciliation in Rwanda and Uganda; and another on the role of leaders in peace and reconciliation processes, which focuses on Colombia, Sri Lanka, Northern Ireland and South Africa. This latter project involves bringing leaders from across conflict divides to SOAS for a series of public dialogues.

All of my research feeds into my teaching, as I regularly use examples from my interviews and field observations in my lectures. This highlights the contemporary nature of the issues we debate in class and helps brings those issues alive. Alongside my teaching, I also do a lot of media and policy work, in which I try to connect my research to a wider audience beyond the university. On the policy front, I’ve just started a project in Rwanda, funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), which supports new research by Rwandan academics and connects it to the Rwandan policymaking process.

Phil Clark, BInst (Flinders), DPhil (Oxon), is Reader in Comparative & International Politics with reference to Africa.

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