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Funmi Olonisakin

Funmi Olonisakin

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Funmi Olonisakin, a British Nigerian scholar, is a professor of leadership, peace and conflict at King's College London and a distinguished associate scholar at the University of Pretoria. She is the founder and former Director of the African Leadership Centre (ALC) founded on the principle of Pan-Africanism to build the next generation of leaders and scholars on the African continent with core transformational values. Olonisakin is a senior lecturer at King's College London and the Programme Director of the ALC's Master of Science (MSc) programmes on Leadership, peace and security. She is a research associate of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria. Olonisakin under her many erudite caps is an Andrew Mellon Foundation distinguished scholar and a distinguished fellow of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). She is currently an appointed member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) advisory group of experts. on the review of the UN Peace-building Architecture Olonisakin is currently the Vice-Dean International, Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy, King's College London.


Professor 'Funmi (Oluwafunmilayo) Olonisakin obtained her first degree at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria in Political Science (BSc). She proceeded to obtain her Masters at King's College London in War Studies and also her PhD in War Studies at King's College London


In a career that spans many decades, Olonisakin has continued to build a critical mass movement of African leaders and scholars with intrinsic values that promote pan-Africanism on integrity, respect for diversity, pursue of excellence, engaging the youth agency in Africa and independent thinking. She advocates for closing the bridges between the academics, policies and practices. Through the African Leadership Centre, knowledge sharing and transfer especially through mentoring activities have been one of the distinguished ways that Olonisakin employed with the inclusion of several renowned mentors in the faculty to engage with the fellows of the ALC. Olonisakin recently stepped down as the Director of the ALC while continuing to support the Centre in various capacities as she pursues more noble interests especially in full academic engagement.

Olonisakin is one of the most sought-after scholar in the field of peace, conflict and leadership in Africa and abroad. Aside from teaching through which values and knowledge are shared and transferred, Olonisakin contributes to African peace and conflict debates, Olonisakin has to her credit, wide ranges of publications Peace and Conflict. She is a founding member of the African Security Sector Network (ASSN) and served as its West African Regional Coordinator from 2008 until 2012. She served on the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Fragile States from 2008-2010 examining and evaluating how transformative leadership can have such lasting impact on governance and post-conflict reconstruction.

Olonisakin was once a staff of the United Nations, through the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict where she managed the African unit. During her professional engagement in this role, "she facilitated the establishment of the National Commission for War Affected Children in Sierra Leone and the Child Protection Unit in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). She has served many other roles with the African Union and ECOWAS especially in the women's in peace-building, governance, children in conflicts thematic areas. She was also the Director of the Conflict, Security and Development Group at King's College London from 2003 till 2013.

Waxing stronger in her chosen field to make indelible marks and prints in the world, Olonisakin is currently contributing her knowledge to the African Peace and Security Architecture as a member of the advisory group of experts for the Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture. Olonisakin is on the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute (TMALI) as International Advisory Boards member; the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) board; the Tana High Level Forum on Security in Africa and on the Boards of Trustees of International Alert and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.

Olonisakin is the first black woman to reach the professorship cadre at King's College, London.


Olonisakin upholds a progressive, diverse and transformative approach to life. She thrives on evidence-based research and strongly promotes transformational leadership.

Selected publications


  • Militancy and Violence in West Africa: Religion, Politics and Radicalization, ed.James Gow, Funmi Olonisakin & Ernst Dijxhoorn. London: Routledge, 2013. ISBN 9780415821377
  • Women and Security Governance in Africa, ed. Funmi Olonisakin & Awino Okech. Oxford: Pambazuka Press, 2011. ISBN 9781906387891
  • Women, Peace and Security: Translating Policy into Practice, ed. Funmi Olonisakin, Karen Barnes & Eka Ikpe. London: Routledge,2011. ISBN 9780415587976
  • Security Sector Transformation in Africa,ed. Alan Bryden & Funmi Olonisakin. Munster: Lit Verlag, 2010. ISBN 9783643800718
  • The Challenges of Security Sector Governance in West Africa, ed. Alan Bryden, Boubacar Ndiaye & Funmi Olonisakin. Munster: Lit Verlag, 2008. ISBN 9783037350218
  • Peacekeeping in Sierra Leone: The Story of UNAMSIL. Boulder and London: Lynne Reinner, 2008. ISBN 9781588265203
  • Global Development and Human Security, ed. Robert Picciotto, Funmi Olonisakin & Michael ClarkeNew Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers, 2007. ISBN 9781412811484
  • A Handbook of Security Sector Governance in Africa, ed. Nicole Ball & Kayode Fayemi. London: Centre for Democracy and Development, 2004.
  • Reinventing Peacekeeping in Africa: Conceptual and Legal Issues in the ECOMOG Operations. The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2000. ISBN 9789041113214
  • Engaging Sierra Leone. London: Centre for Democracy and Development, 2000. ISBN 9781902296081
  • Peacekeepers, Politicians and Warlords, by Abiodun Alao, Funmi Olonisakin & John Mackinlay Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 1999. ISBN 9789280810318

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