Dr. ’Funmi Olonisakin is the founding Director of the African Leadership Centre, which aims to build the next generation of African leaders in the fields of peace, security and development. She is the Programme Director for the ALC King’s College London MSc Security, Leadership and Society and the MSc Leadership and Development. She has served as the Director of the Conflict, Security and Development Group at King’s College London since 2003; and she is a Research Associate with the Department of Political Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Prior to this, she worked in the Office of the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict as Adviser on Africa. In this role, she facilitated the establishment of the National Commission for War Affected Children in Sierra Leone and the Child Protection Unit in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). She previously held research positions in the Centre for Defence Studies, King’s College London, where she co-Directed the African Security Unit; the Institute for Strategic Studies in the University of Pretoria, South Africa; and the Department of Political Science, University of Lagos Nigeria.
Trained in Political Science (Bsc. Ife, Nigeria) and War Studies (PhD, King’s College London), Olonisakin has positioned her work to serve as a bridge between academia and the world of policy and practice. Her academic research and writing has contributed to strategic thinking in post-conflict contexts and in the work of regional organizations such as ECOWAS and the African Union. She has a keen interest in contributing to efforts to tackle the structural roots of armed conflict. As such, she has devoted particular attention to the governance of security actors as well as the narratives that entrench the marginalization of women and youth in security and development processes in Africa. She is a founding member of the African Security Sector Network (ASSN) and served as its West African Regional Coordinator from 2008 until 2012. From 2008-2010, she served on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Fragile States. Currently, she is a member of the Technical Committee of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’ s Index of African Governance; and serves on the International Advisory Boards of the Tana High Level Forum on Security in Africa; Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) and the Training for Peace Programme of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She is a member of the Boards of Trustees of International Alert and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.