The African Peacebuilding Network (APN) and Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa (Next Gen) held a joint training workshop in Peduase, Aburi, Ghana from the 24th to the 28th of June 2019. We had the opportunity to sit down with current APN Individual Research Grant grantee, Njoki Wamai, to ask a couple of questions. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
APN: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your project.
Njoki Wamai: My name is Dr. Njoki Wamai, I am Kenyan, and I am also an assistant professor in the International Relations Department, at the United States International University – Africa (USIU-A). My research project is titled “Redefining Security, Justice, and Citizenship after the International Criminal Court Intervention in Kenya.”
How did you hear about the African Peacebuilding Network and its fellowship program?
I’ve been around the APN for a really long time. I consider myself a friend of the APN because the African hub of the program was initially housed at the African Leadership Centre (ALC) Nairobi in Kenya, a center I am affiliated to as an alumni of the African Leadership Centre at King’s College London.
How will the APN Individual Research Grant contribute to your research?
First, I would like to say that I am very grateful to have qualified for the grant. I think that the grant is going to help me develop my research on the legacies of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Kenya. Initially for my PhD I was working on the perceptions of the International Criminal Court (ICC) intervention and why the Court faced challenges in Kenya, and This grant is going to help me delve deeper into my research. I’ll be able to look at other case studies in Kenya that I was not able to look at during my PhD research. The APN grant is also going to give me more time work and of course, the funding will be crucial in allowing me the chance to create a more longitudinal research of what has happened since the ICC exited Kenya.
What has your experience been like so far at the workshop?
I’ve been having a really great experience. Again, I just want to say that I am very grateful. The resource people have been extremely helpful. I especially appreciated the one-on-one sessions with them and in-depth time with them. They’ve all helped me find different ways to think about my research project and have shown me how to improve my research proposal. Having studied outside the continent for my master’s and PhD degrees at the University of Cambridge, I have not really integrated myself into a wide network of African researchers based on the continent. I have always felt like a bit of an outsider and that there was something I was missing. Being part of this APN network of leading African researchers, for me, is very, important. The APN has been able to offer me such a unique opportunity and I am very grateful and happy about that.
Njoki Wamai is an assistant professor in the International Relations Department at the United States International University-Africa (USIU-A). She was a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Governance and Human Rights (CGHR) at the Politics and International Studies Department at the University of Cambridge. She completed her PhD in politics and international studies as a Gates Cambridge Scholar in 2017 at the same department at the University of Cambridge. Her thesis focused on everyday politics of the International Criminal Court (ICC) intervention in Kenya. Previously, Njoki was a Peace, Security and Development Scholar at the African Leadership Centre (ALC) at King’s College London and she completed her Bachelors post-graduate diploma in Gender Studies from the University of Nairobi in 2007.
Her opinions and commentaries have appeared in international news sites including: Huffington Post, Pambazuka News, This is Africa, The Conversation, All Africa, The Daily Nation, and the Elephant. She has appeared on Arise News, BBC News, and BBC TV discussing contemporary issues in African issues internationally.