Otieno Talks to Army Civil Affairs Brigade about Kenya

By Purnell T. Cropper | April 13, 2010

Visiting Instructor Alex Otieno gave a talk on “The Significance of Northern Kenya in Global Security Discourse” on Saturday, March 10, at the Second Symposium on Africa organized by the University of Pennsylvania’s African Studies Center and the 304 Civil Affairs Brigade of the U.S. Army. The presentation was to soldiers who may be deployed as part of the United States African Command (AFRICOM) component of the military. These soldiers do capacity building work in Africa.

“My talk gave a general background on Kenya, including political history, social structure and economy,” says Otieno. “I focused on how historical exclusion of pastoralist communities from Northern Kenya that date back to the colonial era have shaped the manner in which border and national security is talked about today. I gave examples that illustrated how the region is a case that shows the importance of facilitating an equity- and human rights-oriented development that focuses on human security and the role of international cooperation (including civil affairs aspects of the military) in capacity development.”

AFRICOM is  one of six of the Defense Department’s regional military headquarters, was declared a fully unified command on Oct. 1, 2008. Africa Command has administrative responsibility for U.S. military support to U.S. government policy in Africa, including military-to-military relationships with 53 African nations.