Southern Voices in the Northern Policy Debate

Including the Global South

Jul 19, 2011

In 2011 the Leadership Project launched a major research effort titled, “Southern Voices in the Northern Policy Debate,” funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. This initiative stems from the concern that the Southern “voice” or perspective is seldom heard in the debates around issues directly affecting countries of the global South.

The Africa Program and the Leadership Project of The Wilson Center is seeking to address this issue through several concerted efforts, beginning with the formation of the Southern Voices Network, which provides prominent Africa-based research and policy institutions the opportunity to collaborate and present research on global issues that they feel are critical to North/South dialogue. The Africa Program and Leadership Project have also held several conferences in Washington D.C., Senegal and Kenya to aid the collaboration of this network and share their important work with a wider audience. One of the more recent efforts is the creation of Africa UP Close, the programs’ new blog, which aims to support the Southern Voices effort and facilitate increasing visibility and dissemination of the member organizations’ work throughout the world.  This is highlighted through our monthly Southern Voices piece that is written by members of the network.

The Southern Voices project began by convening a preliminary Consultative Conference in Dakar, Senegal in 2011 where member organizations defined and discussed what they saw as key global issues. This was followed by a second conference held in Washington, DC in June 2012, where a representative from each member organization presented their research on an international policy issue to a Northern audience. The working papers from each presentation can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. In May 2013, Southern Voices will once again be meeting on the continent, this time in Nairobi Kenya. We are also excited to welcome five new member organizations to the Southern Voices network, including the Sudd Institute, the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS), the Institute for Public Policy Analysis (IPPA), the Centre Ivoirien de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (CIRES), and the Centre de Recherche et d’Action pour la Paix (CERAP).

It is our hope that through the vital work and collaboration of the members of the Southern Voices Network, aided by the activities of the Africa Program and Leadership Project, that these voices will be more widely heard and serve to critically influence the policy debate.


Experts & Staff