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Development, Security and Climate Change in the Sahel

Project coordinator: Renata SERRA

Total costs of the project: $31.100
Embassy of France support: $13.970

Summary of the Project

With the view to enhance collaboration between American, French and Francophone institutions, the proposed project aims to promote student and faculty exchanges between the University of Florida (UF), Sciences Po in Paris, and the University of Cheikh Anta Diop (C.A. Diop) in Senegal. The project focuses on the relationship between development, security and climate change in the Sahel. This is not only a topic of increasing academic relevance, but also of strategic interests for both USA and France, thus providing tremendous scope for mutual collaboration. The recent political crisis in Mali and the repercussions in the region have showed the importance of looking at security from a broader development perspective. One cannot also disregard the influence of environmental and climatic changes on population shifts, vulnerability and sense of insecurity, especially in countries that are poor and with weak political institutions. As attention to climatic factors is due to increase in view of the upcoming International Conference on Climate Change to be held in Paris in 2015, the project has potential to impact current research and debates about development and security in the strategic Sahel region, and beyond. Through a series of joint activities, Faculty and graduate students from the US, France and Senegal will benefit from sharing their different perspectives, analyzing the realities in the Sahel from different disciplinary angles, and discussing potential areas for cooperation.

The France Florida Research Institute will coordinate the project with several units at UF:  the Center for African Studies, the Master in Development Practice Program, the International Center, the Sahel Research Group, the Department of Political Sciences and the Public Health Program. Sciences Po and C.A. Diop, top institutions in their respective countries, will provide invaluable expertise and support.

The project will see the participation of 2-3 graduate students from each university, and the involvement of local Faculty and experts. Participants will meet: at an initial workshop at UF, a study and reflection program in Paris, and a week of field visit in Dakar during 2014 and Spring 2015. They will produce one research report (to be published on the participant institutions’ websites in English and French) and one article for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.