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#AfricaIsNews Conference: The Sahel, the other border 

From June 14, 2019 until June 27, 2019 From 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Alcalá, 62). From 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Free entry after registering.
Registration by following this link.

Casa África has organized this day of events devoted to the region of North Africa at the Casa Árabe headquarters in Madrid on Thursday, June 27. You can now register to take part.

In recent years, the Sahara Desert and the geographic region known as the Sahel have been a special focal point of attention for the European Union (EU) in terms of putting a stop to the influx of migrants towards the old continent and containing the Jihadist threat in the area.

This day of informative events forms part of the series of conferences #ÁfricaEsNoticia (#AfricaIsNews) held by Casa África and is titled “The Sahel, the other border.” It is an attempt to shed light on the aforementioned problems from a local and regional perspective, while at the same time discussing the need to step away from strictly security-based interpretations, so as to look at development as an essential strategy in searching for solutions.

It is an activity organized by Casa África with the cooperation of Casa Árabe, containing an academic program proposed by scholars of the stature of Oriol Puig, having received a subsidy from the Spanish Ministry of Defense’s Secretariat General of Defense Policy.

The informative day of events #AfricaIsNews, “The Sahel, the other border,” is being proposed within a context in which international military and police intervention, deployed in Mali and the Sahel region since the year 2013, has failed to achieve a decrease in the levels of violence in the region. Terrorist attacks have risen dramatically in number over the last four years, with the local populations being the main parties affected by the increasing lack of security. In this sense, the climate of violence has had an effect of contagion on the relationships between different communities, as is the case, for example, in central Mali and northern Burkina Faso.

At the same time, what is often referred to as the “migratory crisis” in the Mediterranean has led the EU to take notice of the Sahel countries, the main transit ways on routes towards the north, in their attempt to reduce the influx of people towards the old continent. Despite the fact that African migration occurs mainly within that continent, the EU, working together with governments in the region, has been implementing a strategy of security and development to attempt to get at the deeply rooted causes of this migration.

The two round table discussions during the day will seek to take a closer look at key aspects making today’s Sahel a region of growing importance to the EU, while increasing awareness about trends involving security and the migrations taking place in the area. To do so, we will hear from experts with extensive professional backgrounds and lengthy experience studying these topics.

#AfricaIsNews is a series of conferences about current affairs in Africa given in conjunction with Spanish and African experts who invite us to debate, reflect and more closely examine Africa. The title is also a reference to the section of Casa África’s website which is updated with the main news stories about Africa on a daily basis.

Planned schedule (PDF)

Pedro Martínez-Avial, General Director of Casa Árabe
José Segura Clavell, General Director of Casa África
Fernando Valenzuela, State Secretary of Foreign Affairs

The Sahel and the EU: Challenges and opportunities
Ángel Losada Fernández, Special European Union Representative for the Sahel

10:15 a.m. Round table discussion: “(In)security, Development and Populations in the Western Sahel
Amadou Sall, coordinator of the Regional Cell for Prevention of Radicalization of the G5 Sahel
Sergio Altuna, associate researcher of the Real Instituto Elcano
Beatriz Mesa, a journalist with Cadena COPE and El Periódico, and professor of African Studies at the International University of Rabat (UIR)
Moderated by: Antonio Torres-Dulce Ruiz. Ambassador to the Special Mission for the Sahel

11:45 a.m. Break

12:15 p.m. Round table discussion: “A Desert in Motion: Mobilities and borders
Oriol Puig, a researcher at GESA and GEA
Harouna Mounkaila, a geographer, anthropologist and director of the GERMES (Niamey, Niger)
Sara Prestianni, a researcher and journalist for EuroMedRights.
Moderated by: Diego Nuño, Assistant Director General of Multilateral and Horizontal Affairs in Sub-Saharan Africa of the MAUC

1:30 p.m. Summary and closing session
Raimundo Robredo, Director General for Africa
#AfricaIsNews Conference: The Sahel, the other border 
Sergio Altuna
An associate researcher with the Global Terrorism Program at the Real Instituto Elcano. Since 2010, he has also spent his career as an international consultant on prospecting and security in the Sahel and North Africa. Academically, he has specialized in studying the rhetoric and conditioning factors in the Jihadist narrative.

Beatriz Mesa
A journalist for Cadena COPE, a correspondent in Morocco and a specialist on the Sahel region, Mesa has a PhD from the University of Grenoble and is an African Studies professor at the International University of Rabat (UIR).

Amadou Sall
A professor and researcher of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Nouakchott, Sall is the coordinator of the Regional Cell for the Prevention of Radicalization of the G5 Sahel and specializes in studying civil society, with three decades of experience in his sector. Founder of the Group for Study and Research on Democracy and Social and Economic Development, the Teaching Support and Training Aid Group, the Network for the Promotion of Citizenship and a think-tank called Mauritanie Perspectives.

Oriol Puig
A GESA and GEA researcher, Puig is a journalist with a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Barcelona, specializing in international migrations towards Europe and trans-Saharan migration. He is responsible for the project “The Sahara, a Desert in Motion,” on the impact of border externalization policies in the Sahel.

Harouna Mounkaila
A geographer and anthropologist, and a professor at Abdou Moumouni University in Niamey, Mounkaila is the director of the Groupe d’Études et de Recherches Migrations Espace et Sociétés (GERMES). She is an expert on trans-Saharan and international migrations.

Sara Prestianni
A researcher and journalist, Prestianni is an expert on international migration policies. She is a member of the Executive Committee of EuroMedrights and a coordinator of the project #externalisationpolicieswatch.