Welcome by Søren Jeppsen, spokesperson FAU
Dear FAU member,
FAU has over the 10 years or so been part of a Nordic initiative to promote joint Nordic Development Research. With our sister associations in Norway (the Norwegian Association of Development Researchers, NFU, and in Finland the Finnish Society for Development Research, FSDR) we have sought to strengthen the collaboration between the Nordic institutions in the field. While Sweden doesn’t have an association, individual institutions (the Nordic Africa Institute, NAI, and the Dag Hammerskjøld Foundation, DHF) have also been part. This year, we are happy that the Global Studies Department at Gothenburg University has agreed to take the lead in organizing what will be the 3rd Joint Nordic Development Research Conference (see more below) and in exploring the possibilities for setting up a Swedish association. This engagement, the conference organization and the attempt to get a Sweden Development Research Association founded are all good news to the Nordic collaboration.
In this welcoming note to the second newsletter of the year, I’ll give a brief account of the history of the Nordic Development Research Collaboration, then touch upon the areas where we are striving to collaborate, before I say more about the 3rd Joint Nordic Development Research Conference in Gothenburg in November 2015. In addition to this welcoming note, this newsletter also includes information on: job opening for a new FAU student assistant, information about the newly established Nordic Africa Research Network, and links to coming seminars and events.
A brief history of the attempts to get Nordic Development Research Collaboration going.
Beyond what the various Nordic Development Research Associations are trying to achieve, it should be noted that Nordic collaboration has taken place for many years within fields like Economics, Geography and Anthropology. Also at the political level, the Nordic Council of Ministers has been around for years with its allocation of funds for a range of joint Nordic activities. So, what NFU, FSDR, FAU and hopefully later this year a Swedish Development Research Association are trying to achieve has to be seen in this light.
Some 12 years ago, representatives from NFU suggested that the associations should come together and seek to enhance the Nordic Development Research Collaboration. Eventually, a joint panel was established at the NFU Conference in 2006 in Oslo, where representatives from all four countries discussed the matter and agreed to move forward. Lead by NFU, applications for Nordic funding were submitted to various joint Nordic funding agencies, but without success.
In 2009, FAU used an EADI event at the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) to gather a number of representatives from the associations and from individual Nordic Development research institutions to discuss the matters further. From the meeting a joint committee was established with the mandate to seek to enhance the collaboration through a) starting a series of joint Nordic Development Research Conferences, b) promoting Nordic Development Research in publishing through the Norwegian/Nordic journal Forum for Development Studies, and c) seeking to investigate the ‘Nordic model’ further. Funds from the Danish Development Research Network (DDRN) as well as individual institutions ensured that a series of meetings could take place in Copenhagen, Oslo, Uppsala, and Helsinki.
After consultation with the relevant ministries, it was clear that support and funding for a joint Nordic conference could be obtained and the process towards the first joint conference in November 2011 in Copenhagen was started.
The areas of collaboration
As mentioned above, we have sought to explore three main areas of collaboration; conferencing, publishing, and investigating whether a ‘Nordic model’ in Development Research exists.
The Joint conferences have received the lions’ share of attention. Considerable time and effort went into agreeing on the format, which eventually was the foundation for the 1st Joint Conference in Copenhagen in November 2011. The theme was ‘The Future of Development Research: Exploring the potentials of a Nordic Model in Development Research’. The conference took place at CBS in late November with some 110 participants. Quality key note presentations, plenary panels with the Nordic Ministries on Development Collaboration and Research (Norad, SIDA, Finnida and Danida) and a number of workshops on a range of themes provided a good start for this type of activity.
In 2013 November 14-15, the 2nd Joint Conference took place in Helsinki in Finland, hosted by FSDR in collaboration with a number of Finnish institutions (e.g. UNIPID), NFU, and FAU. This time the title was ‘Knowing Development – Developing Knowledge’, now with nearly 300 participants – and yet again very good keynotes presentations, interesting plenary panels, and a large number of workshops.
As the conferences have seen a high number of Norwegian and Finnish participants with some Danes present, but few Swedes, we have been trying to involve a Swedish institution to take the lead for the 3rd conference. While NAI and DHF have played important roles in supporting the initiative in the absence of a Swedish association, they have not been the relevant institutions to host a conference. Hence, we have been pleased that Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, lead by Fredrik Söderbaum accepted to host the 3rd Conference (see below).
The journal Forum for Development Studies (FDS) has existed for a number of years, though mainly having Norwegian research contributions. In an effort to promote the journal in the Nordic Development research environment the editors of FDS took part in the FAU Annual Conference in 2008. The editors inquired about the interest in strengthening the journal and based on positive feedback a Danish representative to the Editorial Board of FDS was later identified. FDS then engaged with Routledge to enhance its international distribution and visibility and has since supported the Nordic Development Research Collaboration initiative through publishing special issues with papers from the 2 first joint Nordic conferences. FDS is now offered with a discount to members of the Nordic Development research associations.
A third and final area of collaboration has been the exploration of whether a common ‘Nordic model’ or maybe rather approach to Development Research could be found or existed. Among the members of the joint planning committee established after the meeting in Copenhagen in 2009 (see above) there was an assumption that such model existed based on reactions from colleagues in the developing countries. The joint committee formulated an application to DDRN and eventually received funding to carry out a first investigation into this topic. Based on input from researchers and institutions in the Nordic countries a preliminary report was drafted in 2011 and submitted to DDRN. Later updates the Norwegian, Swedish and Danish parts followed, and it is hoped that a revised version can be published later this year.
The investigation showed that it is difficult to identify a ‘Nordic model or approach to Development research’. While joint areas of interest as well as some similarities in undertaking research, including establishing collaboration with colleagues in developing countries can be found, numerous differences also exist. The differences include priorities in areas of research, availability of funding, political backing to Development Research, and the organization of Development Research in the countries. The ‘complex reality’ also highlighted that it was too ambitious to assume that the initial investigation could shed light on all aspects. Hence, additional investigations are needed to make us wiser on the similarities and differences in and among the Nordic Development Research environments.
The 3rd Joint Conference and the future
The 3rd Joint Nordic Development Research conference will take place 5-6 November 2015 in Gothenburg, Sweden. The lead organizer is the Global Studies Department at Gothenburg University assisted by representatives from NFU, FSDR and FAU. The theme is ‘A Changing Global Development Agenda?’ and the format will yet again by one with keynote presentations, plenary panels and workshops/panel with paper presentations. For more info on the conference kindly view the conference's web page.
We, of course, look forward to this next step in the Nordic collaboration and hope that many Nordic as well as other international researchers will take part, including that many workshops will be carried out. We also hope that the conference will enable the Swedish Development Research institutions to come together and start a process of forming a Swedish Development Research Association.
Based on the conference, we will take stock of the progress made and how to move forward. While the Nordic collaboration is progressing and seems to have a (bright) future, we also face some challenges. One key challenge on the Danish side is that the funding from Danida will terminate by the end of the year, and while a lot of the activities are based on voluntary input from Danish researchers and the FAU Board, some funds are necessary to make the joint collaboration happen. How we can deal with this situation, is a key issue which the FAU Board needs to address during the coming year – and of course hope to find a solution to.
Enjoy the further readings and the spring to come :)
FAU spokesperson, Associate Professor at Centre for Business and Development Studies, Department of Intercultural Communication, CBS
Nyt fra FAU
- FAU søger studentermedhjælper
FAU søger nu sekretær og studentermedhjælper med ansættelse fra 1. maj. Interesserede kandidater skal søge inden 17. april. Hele stillingsopslaget kan findes her.
- Ny ansøgningsrunde til 'Development Research Projects, Phase 1, 2016
DFC har annonceret call for fase 1 ansøgninger til forskningsmidler for udviklingsforskere. Læs nærmere omkring deadline og betingelser her.
- Medlemskab for 2015
A brief on The Newly Established Nordic Africa Research Network (NARN)
The Nordic Africa Research Network (NARN) is a registered independent association with the objective to facilitate and enhance communication and cooperation between individual researchers and institutions in the Nordic countries working with research and/or education regarding Africa. The NARN Co-ordinator started her work on the 29th of January and the network is currently being financed and housed by the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden. It has eight board members representing all the Nordic countries and a half-time Network Co-ordinator that manages its daily activities. There have been earlier attempts to promote networking among Nordic researchers and other researchers working on Africa. The defunct Nordic Association of African Studies (NAAS) that was founded in Uppsala, Sweden in 1991 and Africa Network Norway that was established in 2005 provide good examples. NARN will work to rejuvenate these earlier efforts by facilitating:
- The organization of exhibitions, conferences, meetings, lectures, seminars and training courses by individual researchers or co-operating researchers.
- The publication of the Nordic Journal of African Studies. The journal publishes inter-disciplinary research of researchers at Nordic Institutionsdisseminates it beyond the Nordic boundaries.
- Collaboration with the Nordic Africa Institute (NAI) in arranging the Nordic Africa Days. This is a bi-annual event that brings researchers from all walks of the globe together. It is a forum that promotes the dissemination of research, networking and knowledge sharing. This kind of collaboration will strengthen the network’s co-operation with NAI an institute that focuses on Africa.
- NARN’s is developing a website that will present information about the network’s activities and relevant links to information on African institutions and developments. The website will have an integrated database with details of researchers and their research fields. It will only contain details of those who will agree to become members. The database will hence be a resource that could be used by policy-makers, institutions and the individual researchers.
- NARN will deal with any other project as decided by the General Meeting.
Nordic countries have many similarities in their economic, social and political relations to Africa today that can be fruitfully made use of through collaboration. Nordic cooperation can furthermore support network building and contacts between researchers in the Nordic countries and researchers in Africa. It can also play an important role within the European Union and thereby complement and strengthen cooperation with organizations such as Africa Europe Group of Interdisciplinary Studies (AEGIS). The objective of this cooperation is to promote the study of Africa, its languages, cultures, and societies. The above mentioned objectives will be achieved through the mobilization of researchers and Nordic institutions/universities.
Konferencer og seminarer
- EuroSEAS 8th annual conference (11-14. august, Wien)
The European Association for Southeast Asian Studies afholder deres 8. tværdiciplinære konference med fokus på Sydøstasien. Keynotes er Benedict Anderson and Ayu Utami og der er åbnet op for paper submissions. Læs nærmere her.
- Tiltrædelsesforelæsning på AAU
Den 16. april holder Walter Lorentz (Free University of Bozen, Bolzano, Italien) tiltrædelsesforelæsning på AAU under titlen 'European policy developments and their impact on social work'. Læs nærmere om arrangementet her.
- Nordic Conference in Development Economics (NCDE)
DERG, The Development Economics Research Group, på KU afholder '2015 Nordic Conference in Development Economics' fra den 15. til 16. juni i København. Keynotes er Jim Davies og Peter Lanjouw.
- Private investorer til teknologiudvikling og eksport på vandområdet
Danish Water Forum og Danish Water Technology Group afholder fælles seminar med afsæt i teknologiudvikling og eksport inden for vandområdet. Aktiviteten finder sted den 22. april i København
- DIIS seminarer
DIIS huser som altid en række seminarer i marts måned. Nedenfor figurerer et par udvalgte events ligesom at hele listen kan findes her.
- The future of financing for development: Opportunities, challenges and Danish priorities for financing development in the next decades (8 April, 14.00-16.00)
- Afghanistan 2001-2014: Lessons learned from pursuing civil-military coherence (23 April, 08.45-16.10)
- Avoiding Africa’s oil curse: Will East Africa repeat the same development mistakes as West Africa? (24 April 15.00-16.30)
- Bloggere søges til nyt projekt
IHU, Initiativet for Handel og Udvikling, er en nystartet forening som har et erklæret formål at dreje handelspolitikken i en retning, der er mere solidarisk med de fattige i u-landene og bæredygtig, set med miljø- og klimaøjne. I bestræbelserne herpå har de oprettet initiativet 'Handelsbloggen' som pt. søgere bloggere. Læs nærmere om foreningen her og muligheden for at blogge med.