The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
The Africa Futures Project aims to drive debate and research on critical issues of African politics and governance; climate security and the energy transition; conflict and security; and geopolitics as they shape our global future.
AY 23-24 Activities
This year, we seek to bring more African perspectives into conversations at the Belfer Center and at Harvard Kennedy School more broadly to shape policy-relevant research and engagement.
- Faculty Engagement and Research: The project’s co-chairs will lead research efforts in the core focus areas, including opportunities for student-driven work. Publications may include academic and working papers, policy briefs, op-eds, interviews, and multimedia content. A core deliverable will be strengthening connections between faculty and scholars doing Africa-centered research at HKS through community-building convenings and closed-door roundtables with visiting policymakers.
- Policy Engagement: Through our open and closed-door events we will prioritize fostering a dialogue between our faculty, scholars, and visiting policymakers both to ensure our research is informed by and actively contributes to current policy debates. For instance, Dr. Marks has held research briefing sessions with high-level delegations from DRC and Ghana in September 2023, which would be brought under the Belfer Center umbrella through the African Futures Project.
- ‘Africa in Focus’ Discussion Series: We will host a thematic discussion series focused on US foreign policy in Africa, building on the success of the inaugural ‘Africa in Focus’ series in 2021-22. The AY 22-23 series, “African Agency in International Climate Policy and Energy Geopolitics,” culminated in a published report. We will also host ad-hoc events to bring in practitioners and senior policymakers to discuss emergent issues.
- Study Group: In Spring 2024, we will facilitate a study group led by Dr. Gloria Y.A. Ayee, to complement our signature IGA course “Africa in Global Politics”, thereby expanding student learning opportunities about the region.