DIVIDENDS Workshop: ASE collaborates with the Peace Research Institute of Oslo.

3rd Jul, 202315:20:23 PM GMT


The African School of Economics had the privilege to host the DIVIDENDS workshop, a three-day workshop organized by the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO) in collaboration with the African School of Economics. The workshop took place on the 7th-9th June, 2023 and was attended by ASE Master’s 2 students, visiting professors, as well as virtual attendance by esteemed academics and researchers from across the globe. The workshop centered on the theme “From Curse to Demographic Dividends: Sub-Saharan Africa’s Youth Bulges (DIVIDENDS),” which is based on PRIO’s project of the same title. The project investigates youth bulges, a demographic term where a society has a large population of people aged 15-24, and how a youth bulge curse can be avoided. Whereas a youth bulge “curse” entails greater political violence and repression, this research seeks to examine the possibility of demographic “dividends;” through having a larger and more energetic young population in the workforce, favorable political, economic and social conditions for the youth and overall society could be made possible. During the three day workshop, speakers discussed multiple dimensions of the youth bulge in Sub-Saharan Africa, including gender, education, and socio-economics by examining contextual factors at/between different levels, such as state policy, civil society, and individuals. To kick-off the workshop, Henrik Urdel, director of PRIO and leader of the DIVIDENDS project, introduced the concept of the youth bulge. ASE professors Zime Songbian, Ian Heffernan, and Gabor Nyeki presented their research that shares common themes to the DIVIDENDS project, including cutting edge research on education, youth, and violence. The fluid dynamic between ASE professors and PRIO researchers demonstrated the alignment of our missions; we want to not only produce excellent research by using astute methodology, but to successfully communicate our research findings in order to positively impact policy. The final day featured panel discussions from experts and high profile spokespeople of their field. The day began with the Senior Academics Panel Discussion with Ragnhild Nordås and Henrik Urdal, as well as a High-Level Policy Panel Discussion titled “Economic Dividends: Demographic Dividends and the Future of Africa’s Youth” with Mabingue Ngom, Former Executive Director UNFPA, West and Central Africa, and Prof. Leonard Wantchekon, founder of ASE and professor at Princeton University. Every lecture was followed by provocative questions by ASE students, creating an ambiance of openness and cordial collaboration. The DIVIDENDS workshop exemplified the collaboration between ASE and world renowned research institutions; stemming from ASE’s mindset of “open community,” our campus becomes a lotus of exchange where advanced learning, research collaboration, and cultural connection occurs between ASE students, professors, and our honored academic visitors.

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