July 16, 2020 saw more than three hundred people attend a Zoom conference on Nationalism and Globalization convened by the Institute for Diplomacy and International Studies (IDIS) in conjunction with the Horn Institute for Strategic Studies.

The Conference themed, “Retreat to Nationalism in the 21st Century Globalization: Lessons for Africa from COVID-19” brought together students, scholars and industry experts from different parts of the world.

Presenting during the event, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Stephen Kiama said, “Today’s Conference comes at an important juncture of current events that continue to question the current shifts in international relations occasioned by the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

The Vice Chancellor lauded Kenya’s election to the non-permanent seat of the United Nations Security Council saying it was a strategic position for Africa. “We from the Horn of Africa hope that Kenya will use this position of influence to resolve persistent regional security issues.”

The event’s keynote speaker Prof. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza in his presentation noted that social formations of nationalism had been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “At the moment, tensions between nationalism and globalization are more potent than ever.” He remarked.  

Prof. Zeleza also Vice Chancellor of the United States International University-Africa noted that the coronavirus pandemic had enhanced nationalism from citizens working together to battle the crisis. “On the other hand, globalization has been greatly affected following closure of borders and international travel restriction.” He said.

Prof. Zeleza called upon Africa nations to actively participate in setting the global agenda including actively seeking the COVID-19 vaccine and medications. “As Africans we need to believe in our capabilities rather than sitting on the receiving end because we have abundant natural resources and human capital.” Said Prof. Zeleza.

Prof. Maria Nzomo, director IDIS, lamented that even though Africa had come up with sound policies and legal frameworks, few were actually being implemented. “Why haven’t we implemented the 1994 Abuja treaty? Why haven’t we implemented the 1973 Addis Ababa declaration or the Kinshasa declaration on the common markets? She asked.