Call for Papers : Stability and security in Africa: the role of hard and soft power


5:00 pm February 2017



Defining power is complex and ambiguous but understanding its elements and implications on national and foreign policies remains central to the study of international relations. Both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ powers are employed to pursue political and strategic goals through military, economic, diplomatic and others ways of conquering hearts and minds, to create convincing incentives and exercise influence. 

Introduced in 1990, the notion of soft power refers to a country’s ability to spread its influence and effectively persuade without the use of coercion and traditional force. However, while on the aftermath of the Cold War this concept exclusively referred to the cultural and economic force of persuasion of the United States in the international scene, currently, the use of soft power is no longer specific to US foreign diplomacy. In fact, emerging powers such as China and India are also using their soft power resources including investments, foreign aid and cultural products to bring forward their national interests and strategic goals abroad.

The use of military, economic or diplomatic tools to leverage diplomatic efforts continues to represent a perennial issue in the field of international relations. The dichotomy between hard and soft power has also been revisited and questioned as some argue that a “grey” area exists where both means are used by states to defend in their interest. The growth of violent extremism and the challenge this represents to the existing international order has also called for an inclusive and comprehensive approach that brings together hard and soft power tools. These mechanisms have been increasingly taken into account within the African continent, where policy makers do not only count on the effect traditional power can have in ending crises and conflicts. 

The promotion of good governance practices, stronger economic cooperation and the availability of alternative narratives to the extremist discourse combined with relevant diplomatic tools to promote social justice and equality, quality education, better infrastructure, social empowerment and fair job opportunities for the youth is often going hand in hand with military means in order to find sustainable and effective solutions to security threats and conflicts. In addition, food also, has the potential to become a dominant political issue worldwide and mostly in Africa where the population is set to double by 2050. 

It is against this context that the OCP Policy Center and Al Akhawayn University, invite the submission of papers analyzing the role of power in building and fostering stability and security in Africa. Papers can deal with a broad based variety of topics related to this theme, such as:

- Theoretical and conceptual analysis of power relations in or with African states;

- The BRICS and soft power tools in Africa;

- Uses of power in African foreign policies. Focus can be on either hard or soft power, or in the mix of both.

- Regional and international actions including soft and/or hard power tools, to fight radicalism in Africa;

- Conflict resolution in Africa (case studies and general perspectives);    

- Force of persuasion and power in Africa, what is at stake? What are the key resources used for this purpose? ;

- Continental and regional African institutions’ use of power and policy outcomes;

- State-building and the role of power;

- Food power and security in Africa (…)

Paper Submission Guidelines

- The first completed draft papers should be sent by February 24th, 2017 to: and represent original research not presented or published elsewhere.

-  Draft finale research papers must contain:
    o Author’s first and last name, institutional affiliation, and email address.
    o The finale draft paper must be of a length of between 8,000 to 10,000 words. 
    o The analytical and empirical results, methodological approach, as well as analysis and main conclusions. 
    o English is preferred for publication in special issues and journals but papers in French are also accepted.

- The authors of the finale draft research papers selected by the Scientific Committee will be notified by March 20th, 2017.

- Selected authors will have to finalize the last edits in their research papers and submit all the publishable and edited format no later than April 3rd 2017.

- Twelve research papers will be selected for publication in a special issue.

- Please note that the organizers will contact authors only if their paper is accepted. Selected authors will present their research papers during a conference at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane.

- Each contributor may submit only one paper as presenter, but may be co-author on other papers.

- For selected papers, a contribution towards travel and accommodation costs can be made available.

- February 24th, 2017: Deadline for submission of draft finale research papers.
- March 20th, 2017: Committee opinion and notification of authors.
- April 3rd, 2017: Deadline for submission of finale edited versions of selected research papers.
- (tbd): Conference at Al Akhawayn University to present the selected research papers. 

Scientific Committee

- Abdelhak Bassou, Geopolitics and IR Senior Fellow OCP Policy Center;
- Rachid El Houdaigui, Geopolitics and IR Senior Fellow OCP Policy Center;
- Dr. Jack Kalpakian, Associate Professor/MAISD Coordinator, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Al Akhawayn University;
- Dr Nizar Messari, Dean School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Al Akhawayn University;
- Sara Mokaddem, International Relations Specialist, OCP Policy Center.
- Dr Ahmed Rhazaoui, Visiting Professor, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Al Akhawayn University;


Download the Call for Papers