Albert Luthuli Leadership Institute at UP appoints Oslo’s Prof Banik to boost leadership research

Posted on November 28, 2022

The well-known and respected scholar from the University of Oslo Professor Dan Banik has been appointed as extraordinary professor at the University of Pretoria's Albert Luthuli Leadership Institute (ALLI).

“I am delighted to accept this honorary position and thank Prof Tawana Kupe, Prof Derick de Jongh and Prof Willem Fourie for inviting me to be involved with UP’s research and teaching activities. I wish to engage in collaborative research projects with UP colleagues and contribute to joint publications,” he says. 

In particular, he looks forward to initiating new research projects, developing new teaching modules and engaging with students. Another goal is to help bridge the gap between research and policy by interacting extensively with African policymakers.

Prof Banik is a professor of political science and director of the Oslo SDG Initiative at the University of Oslo’s Centre for Development and Environment (SUM). As extraordinary professor at ALLI he will focus on executing collaborative research on topics related to global governance, sustainability and leadership, as well as teaching on the MPhil in Development Practice degree. He will also participate in high-level roundtables and public lectures on matters related to development in Africa.

He is excited about the research possibilities that the appointment at UP offer:  

“My colleagues in Pretoria and I have discussed ideas for new research projects related to a post-2030 agenda for sustainable development, African perspectives on climate change adaptation, and energy security for the continent. In the next few months, we will meet virtually to further discuss and plan one or more of these projects and apply for potential funding.”

Another initiative Prof Banik would like to initiate is the facilitation of pan-African dialogues on global development at the University of Pretoria, featuring political and administrative leaders, scholars, media persons and civil society representatives.

Prof Banik has conducted research in India, China, Malawi, Ethiopia and Kenya, and directs the interdisciplinary research programme 'Poverty and Development in the 21st Century (PAD)' at the University of Oslo. His research interests include poverty, food security, famine, legal empowerment, aid and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.

Previously, he has served as the head of the Norwegian-Finnish Trust Fund in the World Bank for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development (TFESSD) and on the Board of the Norwegian Crown Prince and Crown Princess's Foundation.

His books include The Democratic Dividend: Political Transition, Poverty and Inclusive Development in Malawi (with Blessings Chinsinga, Routledge 2016), The Legal Empowerment Agenda: Poverty, Labour and the Informal Economy in Africa (2011, Ashgate), Poverty and Elusive Development (2010, Scandinavian University Press), and Starvation and India’s Democracy (2009, Routledge).

He also hosts a weekly podcast, named ‘In Pursuit of Development’. This global programme features conversations with leading scholars, policymakers and activists and offers a deeper understanding of the politics of global development. Each episode discusses the experiences of developing and emerging economies in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

“While the conversations focus on major global challenges and highlight various problems, I am particularly interested in highlighting what works on the ground,” he explains.

Prof Banik is very much looking forward to visiting UP in 2023 and staying on for at least a few weeks.

Published by Hlengiwe Mnguni

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