CSPS Hosts Two SSRC Writing and Dissemination Workshops for African Academics, PhD Students and Peace-Building Practitioners

A group photo of participants at the Workshop

The Centre for Social Policy Studies (CSPS), in collaboration with the African Peacebuilding Network (APN) and the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa (Next Gen) Programmes of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), New York, has hosted two workshops at the African Regent Hotel, Accra.

The first, the ‘APN-Next Gen Writing and Dissemination Workshop’, brought together awardees of the APN and Next Gen doctoral fellowships. Fellows in this workshop included PhD students, post-doctoral researchers, lecturers and independent researchers from all over Africa who listened to keynote lectures, engaged in interactive group meetings and had one-on-one sessions with mentors.

Prof. Gordon Awandare, Pro Vice-Chancellor (ASA) of the University of Ghana (centred) delivering the welcome address. Also pictured are Prof. Akosua Adomako Ampofo (left) and Prof. Nana Akua Anyidoho (right)


Prof. Gordon Awandare, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, welcomed participants on behalf of the University of Ghana.

Prof. Nana Akua Anyidoho (Director of CSPS and member of the Advisory Board of NextGen) and Dr. Cyril Obi (Programme Director, APN/NextGen) spoke about the purpose of the workshop.

Professor Akosua Adomako Ampofo of the Institute of African Studies delivered a keynote lecture titled, “Crazy Tings: Can we be true to self, a decolonial agenda and thrive in today’s academy?” in which she encouraged fellows to be intentional in the decolonial agenda through their research and writing.

The various sessions of the three-day workshop provided APN and Next Gen fellows with opportunities to engage with their mentors and each other around issues related to their research projects and to discuss how the voices of African scholars can best be projected into global spaces and discourses. The workshop ended with a fellows’ panel discussion where they shared their experiences on the fellowship.

The second workshop, themed ‘APN-Next Gen Regional Proposal Writing Workshop’, brought together 18 prospective grantees of the APN and Next Gen programmes selected through a competitive call for proposals organised by CSPS for prospective fellows in the West African sub-region. The workshop offered a platform for prospective grantees to build their capacities in writing competitive proposals under the mentorship of established academics. Participants of the workshop, mainly early-career academics and practitioner, came from universities and policy institutions in Ghana, Nigeria, the Gambia and Liberia which have been under-represented in applications and awards.

Prof. Akosua K. Darkwah, the Dean of the School of Information and Communication Studies, delivered a keynote lecture on “Developing Innovative Research Ideas and Methods for Advancing West Africa's Peace and Development”, in which she challenged participants to deconstruct existing knowledge and connect with the experiences of ordinary people on the continent. A second keynote address on “The Basics of Writing a Winning Research Proposal: Linking Research Questions to Theory, Methods and Relevance” was delivered by Prof. Nana Akua Anyidoho, the Director of CSPS, where she emphasised the relevance of methodological rigour in producing cutting-edge research.

The mentors and facilitators of the second workshop included Dr. Fiifi Edu-Afful, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre; Prof. Ismail Rashid, Vassar College; Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo, Department of Communication Studies and an alumna of the APN Programme; Prof. George M. Bob-Milliar, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology; Dr. Emeka Thaddues Njoku, University of Birmingham; and Prof. Nana Akua Anyidoho, Centre for Social Policy Studies, and a member of the Advisory Board of the NextGen Programme.

The links between the SSRC and the University of Ghana

The University of Ghana has won an impressive number of the NextGen and APN awards. Out of the 30 Next Gen fellowships awarded to PhD students in Ghana since the inception of the programme in 2012, UG has received 22. Of the 11 APN fellowships for researchers by academics and practitioners, five have been awarded to UG faculty. 

It is also worth noting that the Carnegie Corporation which funds the APN and Next Gen programmes also supports the Building a New Generation of Academics in Africa (BANGA) programme at UG, through which the University has established the Pan-African Doctoral Academy (PADA). 

Beyond this, there have been a number of collaborations between the University of Ghana and the Social Science Research Council, including training workshops such as one held as a partnership with the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD) on “Strengthening Regional Resilience Against Emerging Security Threats in West Africa” and with the Department of Communication Studies on, “Improving Media Coverage of Conflict and Peacebuilding in West Africa".