In his speech to the second African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) Joint Ministerial Meeting, Josep Borrell addressed the AU arguing that “The EU is your number one partner on peace and security issues. No other partner matches the level of our support – without any kind of hidden agenda. No other partner. At all levels thanks to our political, financial and technical support” (AU, 2021, p.1). Capacity-building is at the forefront of the EU engagement in the African continent. Supporting African countries in building capacities is seen as a way to promote security and development in the world.
My PhD dissertation uses norm diffusion theories to understand how capacity-building unfolds in non-Western contexts. The project aims to spotlight the processes over the constitution of the meaning of norms in the security field and the complex processes and mechanisms of their translation and localisation. Two international peacekeeping training centers serve as case studies: the Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units based in Vicenza (Italy) and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTC) based in Accra (Ghana).
With support from the UACES Microgrant, I was able to disseminate my preliminary findings by organizing presentations and by sharing reports in both institutions. In Ghana, I shared my findings at the Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research (FAAR) at KAIPTC in August 2022. In Italy, I organized a public presentation at the Research Office at the CoESPU in December 2022. The UACES Microgrant enabled me to develop a brief video capturing the main findings of my research and then I shared them in front of a group of military and police officers who conduct capacity-building activities in Africa. The participants provided critical feedback and additional insights that will feed into a scientific article as well as into further work on my PhD project.