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2018 ARNOVA Africa/AROCSA Conference
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DATES:  July 26-28, 2018                                                                                                                             






The Association for Research on Civil Society in Africa (AROCSA) was established in September 2015 in Accra, under the auspices of the Association for Research on Non-Profit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), and funded by the Ford Foundation, West Africa, to promote and advance a community of excellence in research and practice on civil society in the service of African development. One of AROCSA’S main operational areas is to convene an Annual Conference which seeks to bring together scholars and practitioners for networking, learning and skills-building.  AROCSA is driven by the vision of an Africa where knowledge generation and dissemination on civil society by scholars reflect global excellence standards and propels development.




Have Africans entered a new season with visionary political leaders who can deliver on promises?  Which mechanisms – national or regional, have enabled political leaders to amend institutions to preserve their personal interests at the expense of national or regional development?  Have civil societies worked cross boundaries, in their efforts to solve regional problems and engage political leaders in their efforts?  What is the role of competition (perceived or real), in shaping relationships between political leaders as well as civil society actors within regions? These and many other questions are what we seek to find answers to.


Political leadership in Africa in recent years, has, in some cases inspired Africans to hope for a better, more stable political and economic future, while in other cases, it has elicited disappointment because of a trajectory towards a past characterized by unhealthy political leadership and economic hardship.  


Some scholars have advocated regional integration along economic dimensions, with scant attention paid to the specific role and impact of political leadership in the success of regional collaboration. At the 2018 AROCSA conference, we look forward to discussing regional relationships beyond economics, and how such collaborative efforts can influence mutual support and sharing of best practices amongst leaders. We look forward to discussing how regional political leaders can inspire and support each other to lead the region and continent in a direction that serves Africa well, and the various roles that civil society actors can play, across borders.


We welcome paper and poster submissions that examine theoretical models and frameworks that explain, describe and predict relationships between political leadership, good governance regional collaboration and, determinants of success in governance, and the relevance and impact of a supportive cohort of political leaders.  Ultimately, the discourse should lead to new research that is relevant to the theme.


We look forward to providing an on opportunity for practitioners to share their lessons, especially concerning how they, as civil society actors, have worked to push an agenda of regional collaboration and how they have led efforts to build the political leadership capacity in their specific contexts.  Beyond the sharing of “best practices”, there is the opportunity to attempt replication of models and over time, concretize successful models of political leadership and shared, positive regional growth. 


We will also engage in conversations about the role and influence of African Philanthropy in regional efforts to build and safeguard good political leadership and regional collaboration towards problem-solving.




The conference program will include an Opening Plenary with a keynote speaker, Roundtables, Poster sessions to showcase work being done by practitioners, Film screening on a relevant video documentary, a Debate on a relevant issue, and Skills Development Workshops.  There will also be breakout sessions and presentations on selected thematic areas.


AROCSA is particularly interested in empirical academic research papers, conceptual academic papers, especially those done in collaboration with civil society practitioners and poster presentations to showcase work being done by CSOs.  Please specify your preference of presentation when submitting the summary paper.



Please contact the AROCSA office with your questions by e-mailing


Steps on How to Submit a Summary Paper

1.   Register to become a member of AROCSA, if you are not a registered member

2.   Submit a 600-word summary paper: Deadline for Submission – March 16th, 2018

3.   AROCSA review and acceptance, announcement and Feedback by: April 13th, 2018

4.   Final submission of paper according to the guidelines/format by: June 15th, 2018


The 600-word summary should include the following:

1.  A title that clearly identifies the conference theme being addressed;

2.  Problem or issue that will be addressed in the presentation;

3.  Topic’s relation to the state of knowledge in the field (including relevant literature);

4.  Methodological approach (including analytical strategy and data sources);

5.  A brief account of conclusion and its significance to an international audience.


The online summary submission will be open one month before the deadline at


Please note that you do not need to be a member of AROCSA to submit a paper. However, we encourage all authors who are not registered members of AROCSA to first register to be members of AROCSA, before submitting a summary.  



March 16th, 2018:                               Deadline for Submission of Summary Paper

April 13th, 2018:                                   AROCSA Review and Acceptance, Announcement and Feedback

June 15th, 2018:                                   Final Submission of all Conference Papers

July 26-28, 2018:                                Conference

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