NAI Associates

The Nordic Africa Institute launched an Associates Programme in 2009, in order to link leading researchers and Africa experts to the Institute. The long-term goal is to broaden the knowledge and experience base of the Institute as well as its network.

The interested candidate submits an application to the Director, who will consult with the respective Cluster Leader at NAI for an assessment. A recommendation from the Programme and Research Council will also be sought.

Those nominated as NAI Associates should have an established position in their own country, and/or in their professional or academic community linked to research or practice on Africa. They should contribute to enhancing NAI’s reputation and external visibility as a Nordic research and documentation centre.

NAI Associates will be hosted in one of the clusters within the Institute.

Mekuria Bulcha, Professor Emeritus

Mekuria received his B.A. in Sociology from Addis Ababa University in 1973 and his PhD from the Department of Sociology at Uppsala University in 1988. He was a researcher and Associate Professor there from 1989 to 2002. Employed by Mälardalen University in 2002, he has served as a lecturer, Director of Studies in Sociology, and Professor of Sociology. Currently, Mekuria is Professor Emeritus at Mälardalen University. His main areas of interest are political and historical sociology, international migration, ethnicity, culture and language. His extensive field research in the 1980s and 1990s on refugees fleeing to Sudan and Tanzania and his research on international migration, ethnicity, ethnic conflict and nationalism has resulted in several books, researcher reports, many book chapters and dozens of articles.

Mekuria is a founding member of the Oromo Studies Association (OSA), a scholarly association focused on issues that affect the Oromo people of NE Africa, which was established in 1986 in the US. He also started The Oromo Commentary (OC) in 1991 and was its editor and publisher until 1999. Mekuria has contributed to radio programs focused on the Horn of Africa such as the Voice of America on different occasions and as well as to TV channels and radio programs run by Oromo diaspora communities in many cities in Europe, North America and Australia on issues that concern political conflict, democracy, ethnicity and culture. 

Anders Oljelund

Anders Oljelund has a degree in Political Science from the University of Lund. He Joined the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) in 1967 and has had various positions within the MFA. He was also Ambassador to Tanzania in 1989-92 and Head of Permanent Mission of Sweden to NATO, Brussels, and Ambassador to Belgium 1998. After his retirement he has worked as Adviser to the Swedish Ministry of Justice during the Swedish Presidency of the EU in 2009. Author and co-author of various reports and inquiries for the Swedish MFA and other public institutions in Sweden, among them a study on the relationship between development and security in Afghanistan.

Pekka Peltola, Doctor of Social Sciences

Pekka Peltola has worked in several professions: beginning as news reporter in the Finnish Broadcasting Company and covering the Biafra War for TV and radio in the late 1960´s. He has worked in establishing trade union solidarity work in Finland, which began with a project to help exiled Namibians to build up cadres for trade union work in an independent Namibia, which realized in 1990. SAK helped National Union of Namibian Workers to build a labour school in Kwanza Sul, Angola as a training center. In 1991 he got a scholarship from the Finnish Academy for a doctoral thesis which analysed the role of the Namibian workers in the liberation struggle. In 1995 The Lost May Day was published jointly by Finnish Anthropological Society and NAI, which had helped in planning the research. This led to closer cooperation with NAI, and together with Iina Soiri Peltola wrote the study called Finland and National Liberation of Southern Africa, which was published by NAI in 1999. After retiring from the ministry as a Councellor Peltola joined again the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Helsinki.

Rune Skarstein, Emeritus associate professor

Rune Skarstein has a master degree in civil engineering and a Ph.D. in economics from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). In 1974–1980, he worked as a development researcher at the Christian Michelsen Institute in Bergen. During two years of that period he was seconded to the post as senior lecturer in economic planning at the Institute of Development Management (IDM) in Mzumbe, Tanzania. Since the mid-1980s until his retirement in 2011, he was associate professor, teaching development economics and macroeconomic theory, at the NTNU. For long periods he has carried out research in Tanzania and published articles and books especially focussed on development problems within agriculture and industry. More recently, he has done research in India and Argentina, publishing articles on development aspects in those countries.

Peter Wallensteen, Professor

Since 2012 Peter Wallensteen is Senior Professor of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University. He was the Head of the Department for Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, from 1972 to 1999.  The connection between peace and development has also been a key interest. Wallensteen was involved in setting up the first course at Uppsala University on development studies in 1969, with his wife Lena. He directs the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) that publishes annual data on armed conflicts in three different categories, for free, at www.ucdp.uu.se. It has a particular focus on Africa, where all conflicts have been geographically identified, providing new aspects to the study of conflict in Africa, e.g. for violence connected to climate, migration and elections.

He has published more than 200 scholarly articles and book chapters, and written/edited more than 40 books, all in the field of peace and conflict research. He has also been involved in academic diplomacy, that is, activities in support of the settlement of armed conflicts, notably in Papua New Guinea, Israel-Palestine, Nagorno-Karabakh, Sudan and Cyprus.