Engaging with authoritarian states without a clear plan for how to avoid doing harm can and has in several cases entrenched authoritarian rule. Based on a recent report on "How (Not) to Engage with Authoritarian States" (Westminster Foundation for Democracy), the presentation will cover some of the major pitfalls of engagement with authoritarian states as it is commonly undertaken, as well as the report's key recommendations to rethink and change how pro-democracy governments engage with their authoritarian partners.
Nic Cheeseman (@fromagehomme) is Professor of Democracy at the University of Birmingham, and was formerly the Director of the African Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. He has won a number of awards and prizes including the Joni Lovenduski Prize of the Political Science Association of the UK for outstanding professional achievement and the Economic and Social Research Council prize for "outstanding international impact". Professor Cheeseman is also the author or editor of more than ten books, including How to Rig an Election (2019). A frequent commentator on democracy, elections and global events, his analysis has appeared in the Economist, Le Monde, Financial Times, Newsweek, the Washington Post, New York Times, BBC, and Daily Nation.
Marie-Eve Desrosiers (@DesrosiersME) holds the Research Chair in International Francophonie on political aspirations and movements in Francophone Africa and is Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa. She specializes in governance and security issues. She studies political crises and conflicts, authoritarianism, political mobilization, and the relationship between state and society in the Great Lakes and Francophone Africa. She is the author of Trajectories of Authoritarianism in Rwanda: Elusive Control before the Genocide (Cambridge University Press, 2023). Her research has also been published in journals such as African Affairs, Comparative Politics, and the Journal of International Relations and Development Studies.
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