Centre for European and International Studies Research


Photo of Dr Olivia Rutazibwa

Dr Olivia Rutazibwa

  • Qualifications: PhD Political Sciences / International Relations (2013, Ghent University, Belgium, doctoral program European University Institute, Florence, Italy 2001-5) , MA Political Sciences / International Relations (2001, Ghent University, Belgium), BA Social and Political Sciences, (1999, University of Antwerp, Belgium).
  • Role Title: Senior Lecturer in International Development and European Studies
  • Address: Park Building, King Henry 1 Street, Portsmouth PO1 2DZ
  • Telephone: 023 9284 6154
  • Email: olivia.rutazibwa@port.ac.uk
  • Department: School of Languages and Area Studies
  • Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


For the last fifteen years, my research interests have focused on the motivations and effects of western ethical foreign policy in the Global South. Understanding ethical foreign policy as those policies that are explicitly designed around the well-being of the receiving societies cf. democracy promotion, development, good governance and humanitarian interventions, I specifically focused on the EU’s policies in sub-Saharan Africa to understand their limited success and potential alternatives like autonomous recovery and genuine ownership beyond self-management. I started my PhD research ‘In the Name of Human Rights. The Problematics of EU Ethical Foreign Policy in Africa and Elsewhere’ at the European University Institute in Florence (2001), did an internship at DG RELEX of the European Commission (2003), was a Visiting Fellow at the EU Institute for Security Studies in Paris and did fieldwork in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somaliland. From 2010 to 2013 I was a journalist at the Brussels based monthly magazine, MO*, for which I continue to write regularly. As the Africa desk editor I had the opportunity to travel extensively in the continent. From July 2015 to July 2016 I spent a year at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg/Centre for Global Cooperation Research  in Duisburg Germany on a Visiting Postdoctoral Research Fellow scholarship to work on my book project: "On Ethical Retreat. Decolonial Reflections on International Solidarity through Agaciro, Black Power and Autonomous Recovery."

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Rethinking Aid and Development
  • Africa Revisited
  • The EU in a Global Context
  • Governing the EU
  • Introduction to the Developing World
  • Economics and Politics of Development


Research Clusters

  • CRaB (Citizenship, 'Race' and Belonging)
  • Francophone Africa

Discipline Areas

  • International Relations
  • R2P, (Humanitarian) Interventions, Development, Democratisation
  • (Radical) Democracy, Sovereignty and Self-determination
  • Post- & Decolonial Epistemologies
  • sub-Saharan Africa (Somaliland, Rwanda, Sahel, Horn of Africa, Kenya, South Africa)
  • Black Power, Pan-Africanism
  • EU Foreign Policy

Current Research Projects

My current research project "On Ethical Retreat. Decolonial Reflections on International Solidarity through Agaciro, Black Power and Autonomous Recovery"  studies what Decolonial International Solidarity could entail. By looking at philosophies and enactments of self-determination, autonomy, self-reliance and sovereignty in three post-colonial contexts, the study seeks to re-open the fundamental debate on existing International Solidarity agenda's cf. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in its largest sense (beyond military intervention to include the preventive elements of the doctrine): (1) Agaciro ('self-worth', self-determination) in contemporary post- genocide Rwanda; (2) Black Power in the USA of the 60s and 70s and (3) autonomous recovery in Somaliland’s peace and state-building process in the final decade of the last century.


Research profile

Explore my research profile, publications and activities on the Portsmouth Research Portal

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