SOAS University of London

SOAS Centre Convenes Groundbreaking UK-Brazil Lecture Series

6 April 2011
Panel discussion on 'The Challenges Facing Africa in the 21st Century' at the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) is convening a series of lectures on African and Middle East politics – in Brazil.

Supported by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UK-Brazil Lecture Series is designed to bring the academic expertise of the UK in general, and SOAS in particular, concerning Africa and the Middle East to Brazilian academic and governmental institutions.  

"Over the last few years, Brazil has seen an extraordinary rise in its global political and economic reach," said Dr Richard Al-Qaq, a research associate at SOAS and the convenor of the lecture series. "Nowhere is this more obvious than with its rapidly increasing political engagement in Africa and the Middle East."

The first set of lectures, on contemporary African politics, was held between 15 and 22 March at Brazil's diplomatic academy, the Instituto Rio Branco, in Brasilia.

The programme consisted of twenty-seven hours of lectures on various countries, regions, and themes. These included the political situation in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Angola; the question of democratisation and ethnic politics; the growing influence of China and India on the continent; the issues of war, intervention and state-building, and the nature of the contemporary African state.

The week concluded with panel discussions with senior Brazilian policy-makers and SOAS participants Dr. Tom Young and Dr. David Harris.

"Brazilian governmental and non-governmental institutions are looking for opportunities to widen and deepen their knowledge of these regions through engagement with specialist institutions," Dr Al-Qaq said. "SOAS is therefore a natural partner for collaboration with educational and governmental institutions in Brazil.

"CISD is seeking to develop these links as a way of helping transmit SOAS' world class knowledge to emerging powers and their societies, and as a way of deepening its own understanding of an increasingly important player in African, Middle Eastern and Asian affairs."  

A second programme of lectures, on the Arab-Israeli conflict, will be held at the Instituto Rio Branco from 6 to 10 June.  

For further information, contact:

Dr. Richard K. Al-Qaq
Research Associate
Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy
School of Oriental and African Studies