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Makerere University to host first ever Geopolitics Conference

Makerere University will on Friday 27th and Saturday 27th October 2018 play host to a two-day open, vibrant public debate on world geopolitics dubbed the Geopolitics of Kampala.

Inspired by the successful “les géopolitiques de Nantes” in France, the conference aims at creating an interactive and dynamic platform for dialogue and free exchange of ideas cutting across contemporary, local and international geopolitics.

Geopolitics is the study of the effects of geography (human and physical) on politics and international relations.

While geopolitics usually refers to countries and relations between them, it may also focus on two other kinds of states: de facto independent states with limited international recognition and; relations between sub-national geopolitical entities, such as the federated states that make up a federation, confederation or a quasi-federal system.

At the level of international relations, geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behaviour through geographical variables.

These include area studies, climate, topography, demography, natural resources, and applied science of the region being evaluated.

Geopolitics focuses on political power in relation to geographic space. In particular, territorial waters and land territory in correlation with diplomatic history.

Academically, geopolitics analyses history and social science with reference to geography in relation to politics.

Outside academia, a variety of groups offer a geopolitical prognosis, including non-profit groups and for-profit private institutions (such as brokerage houses[3] and consulting companies.

Topics of geopolitics include relations between the interests of international political actors and interests focused within an area, space, or a geographical element; relations which create a geopolitical system.

“Critical geopolitics” deconstructs classical geopolitical theories, by showing their political/ideological functions for great powers during and after the age of imperialism.

Topics relating to global political, social and economic debates will be discussed.

Some key questions pertinent to the conference topics include but are not limited to:

What is the economic cost of excluding minorities? / What are the implications of the Trump presidency on global power relations?/  Is there still hope for global citizens to fight climate change? / What are we doing to give hope to the young generation? / Are religions peacemakers or troublemakers? / Is the African economy in the hands of foreigners? / What are the pillars of democracy and the global trends that undermine it?  /What leaders are we craving for? / Shall agriculture fill your stomach or your purse? / What are the avenues for peace and stability in Africa? / Are women in a position of power challenging male dominance? / Is the European Union a model or deterrent for regional integration in East Africa? / What are the side effects of unbridled capitalism? / Are we too many for the resources of our planet?

The conference will open on the first day with a five-minute presentation by four prominent Ugandan bloggers, journalists and comedians in an “eloquence contest” on randomly selected topics.

Topics relating to global political, social and economic debates will be discussed.
Topics relating to global political, social and economic debates will be discussed.

The second day will open with an artistic presentation by Ugandan poets, storytellers and dancers. Finally, a live music concert featuring Chameleon and other local artists will bring the curtain down on the geopolitics conference at the Makerere freedom Square on Saturday evening.

The organizing partners include The Embassy of France, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), Makerere University, the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS), Alliance Française Kampala and UN Women.

Stephanie Rivoal, Ambassador of France to Uganda: “As the initiator of the conference, she presented the detailed programme of the two-day conference the international gathering which touches on a number of today’s political, social and cultural questions, and hoped it will help contribute to strengthening debates at Uganda’s oldest institution of higher learning.

As is the case with the IRIS France-organized Geopolitics of Nantes where she participated twice, Rivoal said this conference is open to everyone and anyone can actually contribute. In fact, poets, dancers, comedians will launch the debates..

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Vice Chancellor, Makerere University: “Debate should once again take a center stage towards informing policies and dialogue.

“I urge Mak staff, students and members of the public to turn up in large numbers on 26th and 27th October for the Kampala Geopolitics conference which is open to the Public. Come let’s debate the future of our planet, our continent and our country.”

Mathias Kamp, representative KAS Uganda & South Sudan:  “The conference is very relevant. It’s cross-cutting through KAS’ two major issues of interest; Intellectual discussion and delving deeper into topics, and the focus on young people.”

Kamp stressed the importance of the holistic approach of the Kampala Geopolitics Conference: “We need to have more nuanced discussions on topics like migration. We should not be running away from complexity but look at problems in our environment out of a global perspective,” he said.

Dr Maxime Houinato, Country Representative, UN Women Uganda said the debates should reecho the need to value the contribution of women as productive actors in economic development.

Charity Atukunda, Cultural Coordinator, Alliance Française Kampala added that Alliance Francaise Kampala is pleased to contribute/take part in this year’s ultimate ‘Rendez-vous’ for intellectuals, students, philosophers, educators and all those interested in current world affairs at the first ever Kampala Geopolitics Conference.