Institute for Security Studies (ISS) Profile

Thursday, 12 April, 2012 - 11:03

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) traces its roots to a meeting hosted by IDASA in May 1990 in Lusaka, Zambia between members of MK and concerned South Africans. At the meeting, Chris Hani and Jakkie Cilliers cemented a friendship that would see the establishment to the forerunner of the ISS, the Institute for Defence Policy (IDP) that, by 2012, has become one of Africa’s largest independent think tanks dealing with peace and security issues. The ISS adopted its current name in 1996 at which point the organisation had become increasingly regional and today has offices in Dakar, Addis Ababa, Cape Town, Pretoria and Nairobi with more than a hundred staff from 15 African countries. The ISS is registered as a trust fund in South Africa and a nonprofit organisation in the other offices. The President of the Advisory Council is Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, former secretary-general of the OAU who has been associated with the Institute for the last decade.

The Institute is funded by a large number of partners, and receives core support from the governments of Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark.

As a leading Pan-African policy research and training organisation, the ISS is guided by the broad concept of human security and works towards the vision of a peaceful and prosperous Africa for all its people.

The mission and overall goal of the ISS is to advance human security in Africa through evidence-based policy advice, technical support and capacity building five key result areas from the core of our strategic approach for 2012-2015:

1. Democratic Governance and Reduced Corruption
2. Effective Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis
3. Effective Conflict Management and Peace-Building
4. Combating Transnational Threats and International Crimes
5. Reduction of Crime and Violence

As a Pan-African policy research and training organisation, the ISS is guided by the broad concept of ‘human security’ which transcends a narrow focus on traditional state-centric national security concerns and reflects the changing nature and origin of threats to sustainable human development. Human security places the individual, not the state, at the centre of our concerns.

The ISS is also developing the depth and outreach of its services through the following African Centre for Peace and Security Training (ACPST) that was recently established in Addis Ababa.

At any point between 15 and 20 interns serve in our various offices as part of our commitment to build African research capacity on peace and security issues.

The (ISS Magazine)

The is an ISS bi-monthly magazine designed to inform people all over the world, from concerned citizen, or student, to policy and decision makers. The presents insightful and thought-provoking views and analyses of business, political, socio-economic and cultural issues; and is available in bookstores in selected African countries.

For more information visit and follow it on Twitter @africandotorg

African Futures

The African Futures Project is a collaboration between the ISS and the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures (

African Futures is an integrated approach to exploring and understanding human development and the broad implications of policy choices. These organisations leverage each others’ expertise to provide forward-looking, policy-relevant material that frames uncertainty around human development in Africa.

To learn more about African Futures, visit and also follow the project on Twitter @AfricanFutures

Impact – anecdotes from 2011

The work of the ISS touches on both intangible social norms, such as knowledge, attitudes and values, as well as real, or tangible aspects such as capacities. Much of this work is interrelated and complex. As such, measuring performance and determining impact is difficult - but not impossible.

Governance and Corruption

In 2010 the Corruption and Governance (C&G) programme launched the ‘Who Owns What’ database. This is an extensive, publically accessible electronic database, and a culmination of the C&G’s work on collecting and archiving disclosure forms of South African politicians’ assets and interests. Financial disclosures remain one of the most effective tools for monitoring conflicts of interest in public life.

The ‘Who Owns What’ database was used by City Press to investigate a number of interests and assets of politicians which resulted in an article entitled ‘What do Politician’s own?’ by Loyiso Sidimba.

“The creation of ‘Who Owns What?’ database is a greater step towards transparency as it is aimed at shedding light on potential conflicts of interest and on providing information about financial relationships”
-    Adv. M. T Shai, Deputy Public Protector South Africa

See for more information, particularly the “Who owns what?” Database.

Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis

The Institutes’ Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis system consists of four regional hubs in Addis Ababa, Dakar, Nairobi and Pretoria and works with government partners at national and regional levels, with the African and international diplomatic community, CSO partners, and the private sector. Main means of action are empirical research and contextual analysis, policy advice as well as training.

Subscribe to our daily updates by going to e-newsletters on our website at and subscribe to our monthly Peace and Security Council Report.

Conflict Management and Peace-Building

Since the inception of the ASF, the Peace Missions Programme/Training for Peace (PMP/TfP) has provided expertise towards the development and strengthening of the African Standby Forece policy framework and its attendant concepts.

See for more information.

Transnational Threats and International Crimes (TTIC)
In Botswana, on invitation of the Attorney General, ISS staff worked with Botswana’s legislative drafters over a 12-month period to draft the country’s Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Bill, which will be tabled in parliament in December 2011.

Crime and Justice

On 1 September 2011 the Institute launched the ‘Promote Professional Policing’ campaign to mobilise members of the public to become more active in reporting both bad and good police behaviour as a proactive means for communities to shape a culture of police professionalism.

The campaign resulted in the National Assembly Portfolio Committee on Police inviting the ISS to present the campaign before parliament at which SAPS Chief Operating Officer, Lt-General Ngwenya reiterated the SAPS support for the campaign and further collaboration with the ISS on initiatives to combat corruption.

See Crime Hub for more information and also follow them @CrimeHub

“The Crime Hub is an immensely important resource for researchers who are attempting to understand policing problems in a society with so many challenges stemming from crime and policing”
-    Dr. Darshan Vigneswaran, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

For more about the Institute for Security Studies, refer to

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