This volume combines the contributions of participants of the “Get to Know the ECOWAS” Training programme form the classes of 2011 and 2012. It is the second publication in a series, which began in 2010 following a joint initiative of ECOWAS and the Friedrich-Ebert- Stiftung(FES) in 2010.
The 2011 “Get to Know ECOWAS Programme” focuses on “Exploring ECOWAS” responses to regional trans-border threats”. The 2012 programme addressed the question of “Regional approaches to improving electoral processes in West Africa”. In the course of a one-week programme, participants met with ECOWAS executives in the Commission, the Parliament, and in the Court of Justice. The overall aim and rationale was:
- To provide young West African experts an opportunity to discover ECOWAS and to discuss the organisation’s structure, its security architecture and mechanism of conflict prevention and management as well as its approaches towards electoral processes in the region;
- To draw ECOWAS executives’ attention to the concerns of young experts and activists from all over the region and to secure their commitment to accomplishing an “ECOWAS of the people”, as is stated in the institution’s Vision 2010;
- To enable participants after their return to facilitate national initiatives for a better understanding, further improvement and implementation of ECOWAS’ protocol and norms of good governance in their respective countries;
- To allow a new generation of qualified experts in West Africa to strengthen their profile and to access or establish regional networks;
The volume at hand contains the contributions by participants as well as the programmes of the training. It is the hope of the organiser that the voices of these young scholars be heard and that they may trigger more debate on security and electoral processes on both regional and national levels in West Africa.