The Inner Life of APSA: in West Africa and the Wider Sahel

SFB 1199 (Leipzig U), Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA), Södertörn U & Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation (FES)


This is a seminar series jointly organised by ReCentGlobe at Leipzig University, the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA), the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ecdpm) and the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation (FES). This seminar series aims to revive a much-needed conversation amongst scholars and practitioners involved with the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) about ongoing developments and the policy implications of scholarship. The shifts in African regionalism and African peace and security governance challenge scholars and practitioners alike to adjust their understanding of these processes and consequentially their responses to them. Generally speaking, it can be difficult to gain insider knowledge about African organisational dynamics, especially in regard to decision-making dynamics and inner operations of the various African regional organisations. This has inspired the publication of Researching the Inner Life of the African Peace and Security Architecture. APSA Inside-Out (BRILL, 2021), edited by Katharina PW Döring, Ulf Engel, Linnéa Gelot and Jens Herpolsheimer.

The editors and authors of APSA Inside-Out explore innovative methods and concepts to unpack ongoing changes among actors, practices, and narratives within African peace and security governance. The seminar series will share and disseminate research findings and novel perspectives on how to study the inner life of APSA and simultaneously bring out where these findings are most relevant for practitioners and policymakers.

APSA Inside-Out offers a better understanding of the inner life of APSA. The notion of inner life highlights the realisation that the day-to-day dynamics of decision-making, bureaucratic intricacies, and implementation practices really inform and shape the contours of APSA. These dynamics at the very core of understanding the workings and operations of African peace and security governance are not apparent at all from reading the communiqués, declarations or public pronouncements by the various bodies and pillars.

Among the volume’s main contributions are novel analytical perspectives that emphasize inter alia informality, practices, socio-spatial relations, gendered narratives, and decision-making. The volume stands out as it pays critical attention to different methods and research practices among them media analysis, survey research, research collaboration, roll-call analysis, and work-based research. The authors introduce these conceptual and methodological reflections through concrete empirical analysis of ongoing and emerging trends in African peace and security, such as the role of gender in intervention narrative and practices, mediation, societal perspectives on African interventions, regional military coalitions, as well as relations among donors/partners and African regional organizations.
These conceptual and empirical findings will be discussed throughout this three-part seminar series. The first seiner will focus on the kind of research necessary to excavate these ‘new stories from within’, while the second and third seminar will turn empirically towards West Africa and East Africa, respectively.

We are therefore pleased to invite you to the discussion of its conceptual and empirical results on Wednesday February 16th 2022 from 5 pm to 6:30 pm (CET) via Zoom.


05:00 – 05:15 pm Opening session
Introduction of the theme by Jens Herpolsheimer (SFB 1199) – Moderator;
Welcome by Philipp Goldberg, Director of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Peace and Security Centre of Competence Sub- Saharan Africa (FES-PSCC);
Speech of Katharina P.W. Döring (CBEES)

05:15 – 05:45 pm Preliminary discussion
Yvonne Akpasom (GIZ Abuja)
Lori-Anne Théroux-Bénoni (ISS Regional Office for West Africa, the Sahel, and
the Lake Chad Basin)

05:45 – 06:25 pm Discussions

06:25 – 06:30 pm Closing
Synthesis of the Activity by Jens Herpolsheimer (SFB 1199)

To allow us to better organize the event, we kindly as you to confirm your participation by email at the following address: and copy no later than Friday, February 11th, 2022 at 12:00. The Zoom link will be sent to you the day before the workshop. A French/English translation service will be provided for the workshop.

Bibiographical Notes

Jens Herpolsheimer (SFB 1199, Leipzig University, Germany)

Jens Herpolsheimer is a post-doctoral researcher at the Research Centre Global Dynamics (ReCentGlobe), as well as at the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 1199: ‘Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition’, both based at Leipzig University. He holds a PhD in Global Studies from Leipzig University and is the author of Spatializing Practices of Regional Organizations during Conflict Intervention: The Politics of ECOWAS and the African Union (Routledge, 2021). In his current research, he studies the everyday practices of interregionalism between ECOWAS, the African Union and the European Union, specifically in the field of peace and security.

Katharina P.W. Döring ( Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University Stockholm, Sweden)

Katharina P.W. Döring is researcher at the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University Stockholm. She received her PhD from Leipzig University in 2019. Her work advances the field of African critical geopolitics. Currently, she is focusing on the involvement of Russian actors in the political and military sector in West Africa.

Yvonne Akpasom (GIZ ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO) Project, Abuja, Nigeria)

Yvonne Akpasom presently works for the GIZ ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture and Operations (EPSAO) Project. She previously worked on the Training for Peace in Africa Programme at the African Center for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) and was a seconded expert to the Peace and Security Departments of the African Union and the ECOWAS Commissions. Her research interests have included emerging security trends and regional security complexes as well as the police and civilian dimensions of African peace support operations. She has also published around regional interventions in the Central African Republic. She holds a Masters in International Relations from the Graduate School of International Development and Cooperation of the University of Hiroshima, Japan.

Lori-Anne Théroux-Bénoni (Institute for Security Studies, Regional Office for West Africa, the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, Dakar, Senegal)

Lori-Anne Théroux-Bénoni is Director of the ISS Regional Office for West Africa, the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin. She leads a team of researchers based in Dakar, Bamako, Abidjan, Abuja and N’Djamena. The Office works on key policy issues in the region such as violent extremism and terrorism, political instability, local conflicts, peace operations and political processes. Lori-Anne has a PhD in anthropology from the University of Toronto, Canada. She conducts research and analyses conflicts, insecurity and violence from an anthropological perspective to inform current policy discussions and processes at national, regional and global levels.