Professor David J. Francis coordinates the UNESCO Chair in African Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Bradford.
Professor Francis researches the nexus of peace security and development in transition societies in Sub-Saharan Africa with a particular focus on economic and security regionalisms, child soldiers and peacekeeping and conflict management.
In 2008, the University of Bradford was awarded the UNESCO Chair in African Peace and Conflict Studies to work with partners on the continent to build a critical mass of expertise in education for peace in Africa.
Professor Francis explained:
“The primary purpose of the UNESCO Chair is capacity building with African universities on developing a curriculum for peace. It looks at policy mainstreaming to ensure Education for Peace will be mainstreamed and institutionalised into the national curricular and higher education policies across Africa, in particular, in countries emerging from war and bitterly divided societies.”
The benefit of pursuing this work through the UNESCO Chair is that it provides an ‘international dimension’ for partnership working and a framework for collaboration between universities and higher education institutions.
“What we are trying to do with the UNESCO framework is to encourage intra-African partnerships and South-South cooperation between Africa and other regions of the global south. That is where UNESCO really comes in. UNESCO provides a unique platform for us to find out what we can do from the strength of our commonalities of interest.”
By developing educational peace infrastructures in some of the most fragile post-conflict regions of Africa, the UNESCO Chair in African Peace and Conflict Studies actively supports UNESCO’s goal ‘to build peace in the minds of men and women’ and promote a ‘culture of peace’ through education and international collaboration.