SOAS University of London

SOAS academic awarded UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship for project on African continental and black diaspora politics

15 June 2022

Dr Daniel Mulugeta has been awarded a UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Future Leaders Fellowship (£1,467,842) for his research project ‘Pan-African frontiers and identities: the remaking of Africa in world politics.’

UKRI’s flagship Future Leaders Fellowships allows universities and businesses to develop their most talented early career researchers and innovators and to attract new people to their organisations, including from overseas. Daniel joined SOAS in 2018 as a postdoc researcher on the research project, Understanding Statehood through Architecture: a comparative study of Africa’s state buildings (ASA), and will now re-join SOAS as a Lecturer in International Politics of Africa in August 2022 thanks to the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship.

Daniel’s Future Leaders Fellowship will focus on understanding the gap between pan-Africanism as an ideal and pan-Africanism as a policy tool, in the contexts of security and development in Africa and Black identities in the diaspora. 

The idea of pan-Africanism first emerged among Africans in the diaspora, especially in America and the Caribbean Islands. Originally a cultural and intellectual movement that challenged racial definitions and the segregation of people of African descent in the diaspora, it is now used for policy purposes in the Africa Union's regional integration and international relations strategy. The philosophy of Pan-Africanism has been used to frame collective responses to huge policy challenges, from conflict to development in Africa and the diaspora, as well as forming the basis for exploring African and diaspora values and identities.

Daniel will look into the diverse intellectual traditions and interpretations of pan-Africanism and how it has been used by the African Union, and African and diaspora institutions, as a policy tool to advance security and development and to enhance African diaspora affinity networks. 

The project will aim to bridge gaps between theory, policy and practice whilst developing perspectives that will help drive new political thinking in continental and regional policymaking and diaspora engagement.

In reaction to being awarded the fellowship, Dr Daniel Mulugeta said: 

“I am delighted and honoured to have been awarded the Future Leaders Fellowship. The fellowship will enable me to establish myself as an independent researcher , and assemble and lead an interdisciplinary team to execute an ambitious collaborative research programme that will have the potential for real-world impact.”

 UKRI Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, said:

 “The Future Leaders Fellowships provide researchers and innovators with the freedom and generous long-term support to progress adventurous new ideas, and to move across disciplinary boundaries and between academia and industry.

“The fellows announced today provide shining examples of the talented researchers and innovators across every discipline attracted to pursue their ideas in universities and businesses throughout the UK, with the potential to deliver transformative research that can be felt across society and the economy.”

Daniel’s project will mobilise experts and institutions across Africa and the UK, including the Pan-African Reconciliation Network, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (South Africa); the Institute of African Studies, the University of Ghana (Ghana); the Africa Peace and Security Programme, Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia); the University of Abuja, (Nigeria); the Royal African Society (UK); and, the Centre of Pan-African Thought (UK).

Find out more about the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship. 

Daniel Mulugeta UKRI