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Public Lecture Series

African Leadership Public Lecture Series

The Nelson Mandela Lecture will be held annually in the fall. The new African Leadership lecture will be held annually in the winter. To showcase and celebrate rising African leaders, Tshepo will be holding African leadership lecture series. These series seeks to bring to the for front rising contemporary African leaders who are actively engaged in addressing Africa’s contemporary challenges, while creating new opportunities.

Previous Lecture

Inspiring the Next Generation: African Women in Academia

  • March 8, 2021

Join Tshepo and the Centre for Student Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for this exciting International Women's Day panel on the transformational power of African women in leadership.

This panel will feature esteemed panellists:

Dr. Grace Adeniyi-Ogunyankin, Queen's University
Dr. Yolande Bouka, Queen's University
Dr. Sylvia Bawa, York University
Dr. Nadège Compaoré, University of Toronto Mississauga

Dr. Funke Oba, Ryerson University


Read the news release.


Nelson Mandela Public Lecture Series

Inspired by the vision of Nelson Mandela, the Tshepo Institute invites world class scholars to share their Africa-centric research with Laurier faculty, students and the larger community. TISCA’s aim is to catalyze positive transformation by bringing focus to issues emerging on the continent and amongst the African diaspora. Our premier event is held in September of every year, in which we also present essay awards to students and invite them to say a few words about their essays. We also hold smaller events across all Laurier campuses, as well as at the Center for Governance and Innovation.


Previous Lectures

Steadying the Hand that Rocks the Cradle: Exploring the Roles of African Grandmothers in the Stability and Sustenance of Diasporic African Families

  • February 4, 2019

The lecture will address how African grandmothers as an often gender discountenanced social capital and support system, often reduce spousal conflicts, impart culturally-relevant socialization to the grandchildren and assist to forge and maintain family stability.

Dr. Buster Ogbuagu is Chair and Associate Professor of Social Work at St. Francis University in Joliet, Illinois. He has worked as a radio broadcaster, high school teacher, social worker in child protection, juvenile justice, as well as a clinical practitioner. Dr. Ogbuagu holds a BSc. [Hons] in Sociology & Anthropology from the University of Nigeria. He later earned a BSW, MSW and Ph.D. from McGill University. His current research and professional interests include, social policy and social welfare, ethics, anti-racist education and anti-oppression in social work, minority and gender issues, refugee resettlement, transnational migration, and child protection. Dr. Ogbuagu has documented some of his many lived experiences in several published journal articles and books.


Searching for Resiliency Admist Conflicts, Child Soldiering and Emigration: The Case of the Nigerian Civil War 1967-1970

  •  February 5, 2019

The lecture will present Dr. Ogbuagu’s personal narrative of resiliency as a child soldier in the 1967-1970 Nigerian Civil War, a colonial subject under British imperialism, and as a refugee to Canada, an office cleaner and currently a university professor in the United States. The narrative will present as a prism through which even those who have endured so much pain and suffering are able to summon resiliency to survive and even dare to thrive in strange and oftentimes, alienating environments.


Dr. Buster Ogbuagu is Chair and Associate Professor of Social Work at St. Francis University in Joliet, Illinois. He has worked as a radio broadcaster, high school teacher, social worker in child protection, juvenile justice, as well as a clinical practitioner. Dr. Ogbuagu holds a BSc. [Hons] in Sociology & Anthropology from the University of Nigeria. He later earned a BSW, MSW and Ph.D. from McGill University. His current research and professional interests include, social policy and social welfare, ethics, anti-racist education and anti-oppression in social work, minority and gender issues, refugee resettlement, transnational migration, and child protection. Dr. Ogbuagu has documented some of his many lived experiences in several published journal articles and books.


China’s Africa Gambit: A Model for Africans or a New Colonialism?

  • Oct. 25, 2018

The lecture will address China's role in the international system, its longstanding relations with African states, and perspectives on its deepening presence in Africa in the 21st century.

Houlden is a professor at the University of Alberta, and director of the university’s China Institute. He served in the Canadian foreign service from 1976 until joining the University of Alberta in 2008. Twenty-two years of his career with the Government of Canada were focused on Chinese affairs. He was also the director of the Eastern and Southern African Divisions of what was previously the Department of Foreign Affairs. Houlden last served as Director General of the East Asian Bureau in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade before leaving the foreign service. He has also served on the Board of Governors of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and on Alberta’s Asia Advisory Council.


Read the news release.



Global Citizenship Through the Vision of Nelson Mandela

  • Sept. 19, 2017

David Zakus is faculty member in the Clinical Public Health Division of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. His current research focuses, among other things, on global health and environmental sustainability. He has worked all over sub- Saharan Africa as an educator and researcher, and public health and health services consultant and professional. Current projects are in Rwanda, Niger, Kenya, Ethiopia, Mozambique, China and Canada. Zakus has published many research papers, a series of books on culture, development and global health as well as the Planetary Health Weekly, a newsletter that spreads information about important and urgent global health and ecological issues.


Driving Social Impact Through Market Based Principles

  • Nov. 29, 2016

Narinder Dhami is the managing director of LEAP, Canada’s leading venture philanthropy. LEAP (incubated by the Pecaut Centre) mobilizes the private sector to partner with game changing interventions in the non-profit sector, scaling their impact across Canada. Narinder is the founding Executive Director of Rise Asset Development – a Rotman/CAMH financial initiative, providing an entrepreneurial path to employment for those with a history of mental health and addiction challenges. She led the growth of Rise from the pilot phase to its expansion across Ontario. Narinder has also has spent multiple years working across West Africa, both as program manager at the Première Agence de Micro nance (PAMF) across Burkina Faso, Mali and Cote d’Ivoire and as a member of the portfolio team with Acumen Fund (West Africa focused on social enterprises across Ghana and Nigeria). As a lecturer at the University of Toronto, she co-created the first course in micro finance and impact investing at the university. She holds a Master of Business Administration from the Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto in Electrical Engineering.


Female Suicide Bombers and the Promise of Emancipation

  • Sept. 22, 2016 (Lecture and book launch for Female Suicide Bombings: A Critical Gender Approach)

Political violence can be emancipatory. Anticolonial struggles in Africa and elsewhere demonstrate that it can free people from certain oppressive structures. Does it matter then who carries it out? Does it make any difference if a group of men hijacks an airplane or a woman blows herself up in the midst of a crowded market square if in both cases the intent is to bring about emancipatory change? Having examined over 300 cases of female suicide bombings in various conflicts, we argue that the form of violence and the identity of the perpetrator do matter a great deal. All too often female perpetrators of suicide bombings, their acts of violence and the broader collective struggles of which they are part become delegitimized, which undermines the promise of emancipation entailed in their violence. Our research offers critical insights into the complex intertwinement between power, knowledge, identity, legitimacy, and violence. We see to transcend ideological divisions and simplistic concepts such as “black widows” in order to enhance our understanding of the nuanced ways in which gender, power, and academic practices influence our perceptions of female suicide bombings and attempts at emancipation. For more information, read Laurier’s Nelson Mandela Lecture Series continues with the examination of female suicide bombings.

Tanya Narozhna (PhD, University of Alberta, 2005) is and associate professor of global politics at the University of Winnipeg. Her key research areas include critical security studies, gender and terrorism. Narozhna's major research project over the last few years has focused on female suicide bombings. She was the principal investigator, together with W. Andy Knight (Department of Political Science, University of Alberta) of the SSHRC-funded project titled, Female Suicide Bombers: Transcending Occidentalism. In 2013, Narozhna organized an international workshop "Female Suicide Bombings: Challenges and Responses," featuring some of the lead academics specializing in the issue of female terrorism. She is the author of Female Suicide Bombings: A Critical Gender Approach with W. Andy Knight (University of Toronto Press 2016). In 2017, Narozhna received the Faculty of Arts Achievement in Scholarly or Creative Activity Award for her book. Her work on female suicide bombings has appeared in various edited collections and has been presented at high-profile international conferences, including ISA annual conventions in Toronto, San Francisco and New Orleans, the Millennium Series conference in Potsdam, and Canadian Political Science Association conferences in Edmonton and Calgary.

Historical Truth, Justice and Reconciliation: Re-Imagining Human Rights in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding

  • Feb. 13, 2017

Bonny Ibhawoh is a professor of Global Human Rights and Peace Studies at McMaster University, Canada. He was previously the director of the Centre for Peace Studies at McMaster University. He has taught in universities in Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. He was previously a Human Rights Fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs, New York; a Research Fellow at the Danish Institute for Human Rights, Copenhagen, Denmark and Associate Member of the Centre for African Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, United Kingdom. He is the author of several books and journal articles on human rights and peace studies, including Imperialism and Human Rights (SUNY Press) and Imperial Justice: Africans in Empire’s Court (Oxford University Press). His forthcoming book with Cambridge University Press explores the intersections between human rights and peacebuilding. He serves as a consultant to several governmental and non-governmental human rights organizations, and writes a blog on Human Rights, Social Justice and Peace.

Learn more about the "Truth, Justice and Reconciliation: Re-Imagining Human Rights in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding" lecture.


NATO and the Destruction of Libya

  • Feb. 25, 2016

Horace Campbell holds a joint professorship in the Department of African American Studies and Department of Political Science at Maxwell School at Syracuse University. In 2016-17, Campbell was appointed as the Kwame Nkrumah Chair of African Studies at the Institute of African Studies, University of Legon, Ghana. He has published more than 60 journal articles and a dozen monographs as well as chapters in edited books and is a regular blogger. He is the author of Reclaiming Zimbabwe: The Exhaustion of the Patriarchal Model of Liberation, and Pan Africanism, Pan Africanists and African Liberation in the 21st Century. His most famous book, Rasta and Resistance: from Marcus Garvey to Walter Rodney is going through its eighth printing and has been translated into French, Turkish and Italian. He is also the author of Barack Obama and 21st Century Politics: A Revolutionary Moment in the USA (Pluto Press, London 2010). His latest book is Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya: Lessons for Africa in the Forging of African Unity (Monthly Review Press 2013).

From Justice to Rights: The Ongoing Struggle for Reproductive Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa

  • Jan. 21, 2016

Susanne Klausen is a History associate professor for Carleton University in Ottawa. Her research focuses on nationalism and sexuality, the history of reproductive health services in South Africa and movements for reproductive rights in a transnational perspective. Most recently, she authored Abortion under Apartheid: Nationalism, Sexuality, and Women’s Reproductive Rights in South Africa (Oxford University Press 2015). She is the author of Race, Maternity, and the Politics of Birth Control in South Africa (Palgrave Macmillan 2004). Other recent works have appeared in the Journal of South African Studies, Medical History, and Journal of Women’s History. She holds a doctorate from Queen’s University.


  • Oct. 23, 2015

Alan Whiteside is currently the CIGI Chair in Global Health Policy at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. An international expert on HIV/AIDS and global health policy, Whiteside is the author/co-author of numerous journal articles and books – among them, AIDS: The Challenge for South Africa, and AIDS in the Twenty-First Century: Disease and Globalisation. In 2016 his book, HIV and AIDS: A Very Short Introduction, was reissued by Oxford University Press. He has served on the Commission for HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa, and from 2002 to 2012 was an elected member of the governing council of the International AIDS Society. To learn more, see Laurier’s Tshepo Institute presents Alan Whiteside: Is HIV/AIDS over?

The Pitfalls of Anti-Trafficking

  • Oct. 22, 2015

Kamala Kempadoo is a professor in the Department of Social Science at York University, and a former director of the graduate program in Social and Political Thought. She specialises in sociology, race and ethnic studies, and transnational feminist theory, with a special focus on sex work studies. She has published and speaks widely on sex worker’s rights and human trafficking from critical antiracist and transnational feminist perspectives. Her publications include Global Sex Workers (Routledge 1998); Sun, Sex and Gold: Tourism and Sex Work in the Caribbean (Rowman and Littlefield 1999); Sexing the Caribbean (Routledge 2004) and Trafficking and Prostitution Reconsidered: New Perspectives on Migration, Sex Work, and Human Rights (Paradigm 2005/2012).

Schooling Builds Peace Right? The Complicated Answer from Rwanda

  • Sept. 22, 2015

Elisabeth King is an associate professor in International Education and Politics at New York University. She works on issues related to conflict, peacebuilding and development, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. She is author of From Classrooms to Conflict in Rwanda (Cambridge University Press). She has conducted research in Croatia, Kenya, Liberia, Rwanda, Philippines and elsewhere. She has also consulted for such organizations as UNICEF, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the Centre for International Governance Innovation. King holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto.

Contact Us:

Stacey Wilson-Forsberg, Director


Oliver Masakure, Associate Director