The MA programme "Global Studies (with a special emphasis on peace and security in Africa)" is an intensive full-time study programme with a duration of two years

enlarge the image: Students and professors from Leipzig University and Addis Ababa University pose in front of the Institute for Peace and Security Studies.
Students of the joint M.A. programme in Global Studies address the connections between globalization processes and Peace and Security with a special focus on Africa. Photo: GESI/Universität Leipzig.

Why integrate a Peace and Security focus into Global Studies?

Globalisation processes are strongly linked to issues of peace and security as well as stability and development – not only in Africa. Globalisation processes, including colonialisation, de-colonialisation, the end of the Cold War, effects of 9/11, the 2008 economic and financial crisis, the so-called Arab Spring, the climate crisis and other current international developments have created particular challenges, risks, threats and vulnerabilities for the African continent. Globalisation is affecting Africa in specific ways and globalisation processes (past and present) have implications for security in Africa. The increase in intra-state, civil wars and cross-border conflicts following the end of the Cold War is just one example. Durable peace and stability in Africa have been identified as preconditions for the continent’s development in a constantly globalising world. As such, peace and security research is of special interest to the region. The creation of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union and other related policy and research institutions are further point to this need. Linking the subject of “Peace and Security” to the field of “Global Studies” not only allows us to analyse the spatial context but also the global dimensions of peace and security in Africa.

  1. It starts every year in October in Addis Ababa with classes taught in blocks of one weeks or two weeks. Classes finish mid-January and are complemented with German language classes at the neighbouring Goethe Institute. These fully funded language classes prepare students for their second term at Leipzig University. From mid-February to the end of March students are free to choose where they reside as they are expected to work on their paper assignments.
  2. The second term starts at the beginning of April in Leipzig. Programme coordinators support the visa application and facilitate the three months stay at the university. Three months is the duration of the visa and classes are adjusted to this timeframe to ensure full attendance. July, August and September are foreseen for writing paper assignments and for taking on the two months mandatory internship.  
  3. The third semester starts in October in Addis Ababa and classes are taught solely by local staff in blocks for two to three weeks. During the end of this term, it is expected that MA students submit a proposal for a Master thesis for which two supervisors are assigned, one from Leipzig University and one from Addis Ababa University.
  4. The fourth term starts in April and can be spent at a location of choice as it is dedicated for the master thesis. It can be Addis Ababa, Leipzig or another place, depending on the preference and logistical arrangements of students. After completion of all assignments and requirements for the MA, students are awarded a joint degree with grades calculated according to the Ethiopian and German systems and signatures from both university presidents.
  • 1. Global History
    This part of the curriculum focusses on approaches to rewrite world history in a global age. The first major aim is to explore how historians of different times and places have answered questions like: Why should we write, study, or read global history? How have understandings of global or world history changed across time? What is global history good for? What is the relation between globalization and global history? What are the difficulties of studying and writing global histories? What is Africa’s role in global history? The second aim of the course is to explore the relationship between a historical approach and other perspectives on globalization. Globalization, understood as a political project, pursued by specific actors with conflicting interests and characterized by dynamic power relations across time will be analyzed on a variety of key areas such as economic and social inequalities, global governance and world orders, the role of technology, worldwide migration systems or the history of war and political competition over the 19th and 20th century.

  • 2. International Studies
  • This section deals with contemporary topics and introduces social science theories on globalization and Africa’s place within these debates. First, there are the classic mainstream economic/political economy approaches that are questioned as conventional wisdom and as insufficient in grasping the border transcending nature of socio-political challenges. Second, a set of alternative views is offered based on post-colonial studies, new political geography and critical areas studies. Special emphasis is laid on the existence and constructedness of multiple knowledge orders and space as analytical category. These perspectives will be applied to a range of global policy fields and case studies such as BRICS, China in Africa, Beyond Regionalism.
  • 3. Global Study Methods
  • This section approaches Global Studies as pluri- and partly post-disciplinary, and the consequences of that status in terms of methodological design in research. This module limits itself to a reflection on the historical development of the various approaches to a canon of methods and why none of these agendas has remained stable over the course of the 20th century. It includes five parts: research design as interrelation of theoretical approach, methodology and method. The second part deals with constructivism in order to provide a context for the spatial turn. The third session problematizes methodological nationalism while the fourth deals with the production of documents and facts. The last addresses in more detail reflexivity and the position of the researcher.

Our Partner: Institute for Peace and Security Studies

The Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS), our cooperation partner at Addis Ababa University was founded in 2007. The idea was to set up a research center for peace and security at the Horn of Africa. Further propelled was the development of IPSS when it received the status of an excellence center by Addis Ababa University in 2010. The institute has developed from a small group of academics to an important hub of research and innovation with five study programmes. The University of Pennsylvania ranks it („Global Go to Think Tank Index Reports“ ) as one of the 50 most important think tanks in Africa.

Regular students but also senior executives of international organizations seek to advance their career with one of the programmes that IPSS offers. The emphasis is laid on academic knowledge produced locally. The Horn of Africa plays a special role and it is rather anglophone Africa that is under investigation while the all-African, pan-African perspective never stops to serve as reference. IPSS hosts conferences, panel discussions and policy, which are attended by high ranking officials, representative of embassies and directors of international organizations. IPSS is at the heart of African politics, due to its location in Addis Ababa and its connections to the political community. Students can start to develop their personal networks, get contacts for an internship and create job opportunities.

Presentation of the MA Global Studies Peace and Security in Africa by Matthias Middell

Presentation of the MA programme Global Studies Peace and Security in Africa


Dr. Steffi Marung, Director of the Global and European Studies Institute

Prof. Dr. Ulf Engel, Lecturer

Dr. Gilad Ben-Nun, Lecturer

Janine Kläge, Coordinator in Lezipzig

Karen Silva Torres, Lecturer and part of the coordination in Leipzig

Enrico Behne, Research Assistant. IP Digital

Dr. Fana Gebresenbet, Interim Director, Institute for Peace and Security Studies, Addis Ababa University

Dr. Yohannes Tekalign Beza, Koordinator in Addis, Addis Ababa University