Friday, October 31, 2014

Junior Scholar Workshop at University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia Faculty of Law
has established a Junior Scholar Workshop to stimulate the exchange of ideas and research among younger scholars in the academy on Human Rights in the Global South: The Role of the State and the Non-State. This transnational initiative to foster legal scholarship reaches out specifically to junior scholars working in countries of the so-called Global South. The Workshop encourages submissions representing a wide range of views, techniques and methodologies.
At this point in history it is trite to suggest that the evolving role of non-state actors is transforming the landscape of human rights law. Yet despite repeated calls to incorporate the reality of non-state actor law-making in our accounts of human rights law, scholars are still struggling to incorporate this empirical insight in the emerging literature of law and human rights. How can human rights law be further enriched by a nuanced understanding of the ways in which non-state actors are both protecting human rights and preventing the realization of these rights? And what is the role of the state in protecting human rights in an era where security, immigration control and global trade appear to dominate state? This Workshop invites submissions on all these themes, including papers addressing the scope, impact and future of human rights as they apply to the corporate world.
The 2015 Workshop will take place in Vancouver, Canada at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law. The workshop will begin the evening of June 8th and end the evening of June 10th. In order to be considered for the 2015 Workshop, participants must meet the following criteria:
  • Citizens of countries in the imagined and real geographic space commonly referred to as the Global South, including nations in Africa, Central and Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia.
  • Current academic institution is outside the United States, Canada, Europe or Australia.
  • Have held a faculty position (including positions equivalent to faculty position) for less than ten years as of 2015. This Workshop is thus targeted at early stage faculty members, and not graduate students.
A large emphasis in this Workshop is placed on bringing together early career researchers from the Global South for a dialogue with junior and senior faculty members from UBC Law and beyond to present their work and receive immediate feedback on scholarship at the intersection of law and human rights. The concentration of expertise at this Workshop, and the Workshop structure will allow for one-on-one mentoring of each scholar presenting their work. The Workshop is intended to connect promising scholars and established researchers in discussions that will develop and strengthen the scholarship presented and at the same time will establish a scholarly community and support network for these scholars for years to come.
This call for papers invites the submission of abstracts, in English, of no more than two (2) pages long. Please use the abstract to set out a plan for the paper, articulate its major argument, explain its methodology, and describe what you see as the paper’s contribution to scholarship. Abstracts should also contain the author’s name, home institution, and the title of the proposed paper. Please also send a current curriculum vitae. Abstracts are due by December 1, 2014 to Ms. Iris Oi Yin Lee by email ( Regrettably, no applications beyond this date can or will be considered.
After the abstracts are reviewed, we will invite a number of junior scholars to attend the workshop. Selection will be based on the quality of research. Quality being equal, selection may be guided by an interest in promoting thematic coherence at the Workshop and regional diversity. Applicants selected for participation will be required to submit a draft of their full paper, in English, by May 8, 2015. Compliance with this deadline is critical as the papers will be forwarded to those senior legal scholars participating in the Workshop on this date, in order that they may prepare their responses to the papers.
The Workshop committee will cover the economy airfare expenses of scholars invited to participate, as well as providing accommodation, meals and local transport in Vancouver. The workshop will present an opportunity for participants to be matched with UBC faculty members who will provide detailed comments on the paper. The Workshop will also involve two senior international human rights scholars from outside UBC as Workshop leaders who will provide feedback on the papers and contribute to the scholarly dialogue throughout the workshop. It is anticipated that the papers will be published as a special edition of a peer-reviewed law journal.
Questions about the workshop should be directed to Professor Natasha Affolder, Associate Dean Research and International, UBC Faculty of Law (
The Workshop organizers thank the Allard Prize Committee ( for its generous funding of this initiative.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Passing of Professor Ali Mazrui

On the Passing of Ali Mazrui, GSCIS Honoree 2012 (from the family obituary)

Ali Al’Amin Mazrui, 81, died peacefully on October 12, 2014 of natural causes at his home in Vestal, New York, surrounded by family. A political scientist, Mazrui was the Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies at Binghamton University, State University of New York, until his retirement on September 1, 2014. He had also been serving as the Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large Emeritus and Senior Scholar in Africana Studies at Cornell University and as the Albert Luthuli Professor-at-Large at the University of Jos, Nigeria. He was a renowned scholar, teacher and public intellectual with expertise in African politics, international political culture, political Islam, and North-South relations. His prolific writing over the past half century has shaped ideas about Africa and Islam among scholars and the general public, earning him both international acclaim and controversy. He authored over forty books and hundreds of scholarly articles and book chapters. His political analyses appeared frequently in news media around the world. He is best known for the nine-part television series he wrote and narrated, “The Africans: A Triple Heritage.” A joint production of BBC and PBS, the series originally aired in numerous countries in 1986. The series, and the book on which it is based, reveals and analyzes the complex ways in which African communities exhibit a blend of three cultures: indigenous, Muslim and Western. Mazrui’s own upbringing reflects this triple heritage.

He was born on February 24, 1933, in Mombasa, Kenya, to Swafia Suleiman Mazrui and Sheikh Al-Amin Mazrui, an eminent Muslim scholar and the Chief Qadi (Islamic judge) of Kenya. Immersed in Swahili culture, Islamic law, and Western education, he grew up speaking or reading Swahili, Arabic and English. He pursued his higher education in the West, obtaining his B.A. from Manchester University in England (1960); his M.A. from Columbia University in New York (1961); and his doctorate (D.Phil.) from Oxford University in England (1966). While studying in England, he married his first wife, Molly Vickerman, and they began a family in Kampala, Uganda, where he launched his academic career at Makerere University. He taught at Makerere for ten years, during which his first three sons were born: Jamal (1963), Alamin (1967) and Kim Abubakar (1968). At Makerere, he served as head of the Department of Political Science, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, and Dean of the Faculty of Law. During his tenure at Makerere, dictator Idi Amin became increasingly repressive toward critics, ultimately forcing Mazrui into exile with his family to the United States. Mazrui’s career in the US began at Stanford University, where he visited for two years (1972–74). He then joined the Political Science Department at the University of Michigan for seventeen years (1974–91), where he also served as Director of the Center for Afro-American and African Studies (1978–81). In 1989, the State of New York recruited him to Binghamton University to assume the Albert Schweitzer Chair in the Humanities, previously occupied by Toni Morrison. At Binghamton, he founded the Institute of Global Cultural Studies and regularized his at-large affiliation with Cornell University. In 1991, he married Pauline Uti of Jos, Nigeria. They had two sons, Farid (1992) and Harith (1993), and adopted a daughter Grace (b. 2004) in 2012.

Mazrui’s publications are influential and voluminous. He made his mark early in his career, before completing his doctoral studies, when in 1963 he published articles in the most prestigious political science journals in the United States and Britain: “On the Concept of ‘We Are All Africans,’” The American Political Science Review (Mar. 1963) and “Consent, Colonialism and Sovereignty,” Political Studies (UK) (Feb. 1963). His many books began with the publication of three in 1967 alone: Towards a Pax Africana: A Study of Ideology and Ambition (1967); On Heroes and Uhuru-Worship: Essays on Independent Africa (1967); and The Anglo-African Commonwealth: Political Friction and Cultural Fusion (1967). Other Mazrui books include A World Federation of Cultures: An African Perspective (1976); The African Condition: A Political Diagnosis (1980); Cultural Forces in World Politics (1990); Islam Between Globalization and Counterterrorism (2006); and African Thought in Comparative Perspective (Seifudein Adem, Ramzi Badran & Patrick Dikirr, (eds.), 2014). The African Condition also formed the basis of the prestigious annual Reith lectures that Mazrui delivered in 1979 for the BBC. His book, The Power of Babel: Language and Governance in Africa’s Experience (co-authored with nephew Alamin M. Mazrui) (1998) was launched in the British House of Lords at a ceremony honoring Mazrui’s work. He and Alamin M. Mazrui also published Black Reparations in the Era of Globalization (2002). The project stemmed from his appointment in 1992 as one of twelve Eminent Persons by the Organization of African Unity Presidential Summit in order to explore the modalities and logistics of reparations for enslavement and colonization. He also published a novel, The Trial of Christopher Okigbo (1971), which was inspired by his anguish over the Nigerian Civil War and the tragic death of a childhood friend, Mohamed Salim Said (nicknamed “Giraffe”). For an annotated bibliography of Mazrui’s work, comprehensive to date of press, see The Mazruiana Collection Revisited (Abdul S. Bemath, (ed.), 2005). Books containing scholarly papers about Mazrui’s work include The Global African: A Portrait of Ali A. Mazrui (Omari H. Kokole, (ed.), 1998) and the Politics of Global Africa (Seifudein Adem, (ed.), 2011). Mazrui served in numerous capacities in addition to his primary professorships. He was a visiting scholar at Australia, Baghdad, Bridgewater, Cairo, Chicago, Colgate, Denver, Guyana, Harvard, Leeds, London, Malaysia, McGill, Nairobi, Ohio State, Oxford, Pennsylvania, Singapore, Sussex, Teheran, UCLA and Washington. Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki appointed him Chancellor of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology in Nairobi, Kenya, a position he held for six years (2003–09). He was awarded honorary doctorates by several universities in such varied disciplines as Divinity, Sciences of Human Development, Humane Letters, and Political Economy. He also served in leadership roles in several organizations, including as President of the Muslim Social Scientists of North America and President of the African Studies Association of the United States. He also served as Chair of the Board of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy and as Special Advisor to the World Bank. Mazrui was a principal contributor to several United Nations projects on matters of global significance, such as human rights and nuclear proliferation. He served as editor, for example, of Volume VIII (Africa since 1935) of the UNESCO General History of Africa (1993), and as Expert Advisor to the United Nations Commission on Transnational Corporations.

Mazrui’s honors are numerous. For example, he won the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award of the University of Michigan in 1988 and the Distinguished Africanist Award of the African Studies Association of the US in 1995. The President of Kenya awarded him the National Honour of Commander of the Order of the Burning Spear and the President of South Africa made him Grand Companion of Oliver Tambo. Morgan State University awarded him the DuBois-Garvey Award for Pan-African Unity. In 2005, the American journal Foreign Policy and the British journal Prospect ranked Mazrui among the top 100 public intellectuals in the world. He was also featured in the “500 Most Influential Muslims,” (a.k.a. the “Muslim 500”), a publication by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in cooperation with the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. Mazrui was elected an Icon of the Twentieth Century by Lincoln University. For a more complete list of Mazrui’s achievements, see the Institute of Global Cultural Studies website, Mazrui was also a gifted teacher and orator. His passion, eloquence, and charisma as a lecturer filled classes throughout his teaching career. Similarly, his reputation for insightful analysis and moving oratory created standing-room only audiences at public speaking events throughout the world. Indeed, his “Millennium Harvard lectures” drew large, engaged audiences for three consecutive days. (The lectures were subsequently published as The African Predicament and the American Experience: A Tale of Two Edens (2004).) Mazrui was, moreover, deeply dedicated to his students. One of the things he regretted most about his declining health was the inability to meet his teaching responsibilities. He was grateful to be able to video-record an apology to his students. He was so adored and revered as a teacher and mentor that family and friends referred to him as “Mwalimu” (Swahili for teacher). Defining features of Mazrui’s intellectual legacy include courage and controversy. A principal theme of his work was to identify and criticize abuses of political, economic and military power, whether by colonial or imperial nations, including the United States, or by leaders of developing countries, including African nations. His original and bold ideas generated passionate debate on African and Islamic issues. Expressing those ideas took professional and moral courage, especially when his personal security was put at risk. While he was still living in Uganda in 1972, for example, he released a widely circulated essay entitled “When Spain Expelled the Jews and the Moors,” an unmistakable criticism of Idi Amin’s expulsion of Ugandans of South Asian origin. In fact, during Mazrui’s tenure at Makerere, he gave several public lectures that criticized Presidents Milton Obote and successor Idi Amin for violations of human rights and the rule of law. Additionally, while he was critical of Salman Rushdie’s 1988 novel, The Satanic Verses, Mazrui was one of the few famous Muslims to publically oppose the Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa calling for Rushdie’s death. These public stances could have cost him his life. Mazrui also risked his reputation, even when not his life, by taking positions of principle that generated sharp criticism and condemnation. For example, his long-standing criticism of Israel (not Judaism or Jewish people) for its treatment of Palestinians provoked some pro-Israeli critics to challenge Mazrui’s character; label him (falsely) as anti-Semitic; impersonate him as the author of hateful communiqués; subject him to leaflets that used racial epithets while demanding the
termination of his employment; and shut down, through concerted e-mail traffic, the ability of his institute to access the internet. His argument in favor of nuclear proliferation, whereby all countries could obtain nuclear weapons so long as any country could, was denounced by some as irresponsible and dangerous. He insisted, however, that the most effective way to persuade the current members of the “nuclear club” to agree to universal disarmament was to allow other countries they did not control to pursue the power of nuclear threat. His 1986 television series, The Africans: A Triple Heritage, won praise around the world, including by members of the US Congress in statements published in the Congressional Record. It also generated strong criticism, however, such as by other members of Congress and by the head of the National Endowment for the Humanities, who condemned the series as an “anti-Western diatribe” and withdrew the agency’s name from the program’s credits. Ironically, the series was also banned for many years in Mazrui’s native country of Kenya, not for being too anti-Western, but for being too anti-African. Arthur Unger, a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor, wrote during the airing of The Africans that when he told Mazrui that he disagreed with many of his opinions but found the ideas challenging, Mazrui replied, with a smile, “Good, … Many people disagree with me. My life is one long debate.” For an account of some of Mazrui’s most prominent and controversial debates, see the multi-volume series, Debating the African Condition: Ali Mazrui and His Critics (2003, Vol. I), (2004, Vol. II), (2013, Vol. III).

(Addendum) The Global South Caucus of the ISA was pleased to host and honor Professor Mazrui at its inaugural Distinguished Scholar Luncheon in San Diego in 2012. Members can refer to his speech: Occupying the Acaademy: A Postcolonial Individual Perspective which appeared in our newsletter summer 2012, Volume 1, no. 3. (Newsletters are also available directly from us. Write to 

OEF Third Book Workshop: Of special interest to Global South Scholars.

Request for Proposals:
The Role of Southern Regions in Norm Creation and Contestation:The African Context

The One Earth Future Foundation (OEF)and the editors of Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations invite you to submit a proposal for our third book workshop. The editors of Global Governance will act as series editors and selection of the final proposal will be made together with Lynne Rienner Publishers,The Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS), and OEF. Successful candidates will be responsible for convening a workshop, supported by OEFand the United Nations University, to bring together contributors who can provide manuscripts that will speak to the year’s selected focus. The workshop will be used as a tool for identifying junior scholars and scholars from developing countries. The experience should help them to develop international contacts, expose them to the etiquettes of international publishing, and develop their skill-sets and self-confidence to submit manuscripts to the professional journals in the field—including Global Governance. The workshop will be used to refine the contributions provided and generate an overall collective structure for the eventual book. For more information, go to the

Monday, October 13, 2014

Travel Grants Update

See later update October 15 at

We are still processing more than 40 applications for travel grants. We are trying our best to accommodate almost everyone who applied, especially graduate students, persons coming to Singapore from relatively far away, and persons who have not received other assistance from their universities. We were hoping to have a list of grantees today (12th), although the date we have given you is October 15th. Please bear with us and meanwhile, make sure to register/begin the registration process so that we can weed out those who are no longer interested.

jbw and
S. Adem, Treasurer

Monday, October 6, 2014

Singapore Registration

Dear Participants:
We know that some of you have been experiencing problems with pre-registration so we have kept registration open for a few days longer. Hurry up though! We need to get a good idea about the level of attendance.
Note that we have updated the "all you need to know" blog site with:
A   list of hotels other than the ones listed on the ISA site.
Google Chat Room.

We will soon let you know who will be on the plenary: We are hoping to have the very well known Prof. Kishore Mahbubani as a main speaker.
We will also soon provide some information on tours of Singapore.
So do hurry up and register!

Registration has been kept open until Monday 13th but please do not wait any longer. As you can imagine, once a program is set, it is difficult to change it, not to mention the disservice you do to others on the panel and roundtable.
And again, if you are having any special problems with registration, the easiest way to get it resolved is to let any member of the team know.
Make sure you go to this page for information:  

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Deadline for Distinguished Scholar Choice Extended.

Dear Colleagues:
The EXCOM of the GSCIS is in the process of deciding who will be our Distinguished Scholar Nominee for 2015. We know that members have been preoccupied with the Singapore and New Orleans conferences and many have not had enough time to send us their input on the matter.  The deadline for comment has therefore been extended. Please send me your choices by Monday, October 6th.
Send comments to

Singapore program/ registration

We are keeping registration open a little bit. Register by October 5th!And keep checking for updates!


The provisional program for the Singapore conference is now available on our website. As you know, we have had a wonderful response to our call for proposals and we thank you for your patience as we worked through the change from Bangkok to Singapore. The program reflects a wide variety of your interests – from foreign policy and diplomacy to security and approaches to peace to economic and human development, alternative IR theorizing, alternative pedagogies and much more. Apart from the stimulating discussions and debates which we expect, we are looking forward to the networking opportunities this conference will present, given the fact that we are pleased to have participants from Russia and Eurasia as well as Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, various parts of Europe and North America. We would like to particularly welcome graduate students from around the world. We are facilitating an informal networking “buy your own” lunch for you.
At this time, we would like to remind you to please register for the conference. The deadline is October 1st . All persons who are participating on the program must pre-register. Registration is via the ISA website. (Here's a tip: If you begin the registration process but do not complete the payment, we will hold your registration for a while! Write to us if you need a small extension!) For those of you who are awaiting travel grant information, we are afraid that we cannot award these grants until after the pre-registration period. This is the normal policy for ISA. However, we will let you know ASAP after that. Although we hope that very few of you will wish to withdraw from such an exciting conference, please contact us immediately if you need to withdraw.
We will soon be opening up a Chat Room for you to exchange information about the conference. Please refer to the blogsite for details. We have also posted some information there about Singapore itself and will continue to update that with pertinent information on tours, alternative hotels and so on. We also have some information there about out c-sponsor, the Singapore Management University.
We look forward to seeing you in Singapore.