The Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN) invites you to a thought-provoking panel discussion on “Redefining Crisis Responses: Unveiling The Sahel Dilemma and Innovative Engagement Approaches” on July 18, 2023 from 11:00 am -12:30 pm EDT (US and Canada). The panelists will provide new insights into the complex and pressing challenges facing the Sahel region and its people.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023
11:00 – 12:30 pm EDT (US and Canada)
3:00 – 4:30 pm (Accra)
4:00 – 5:30 pm (Abuja)
5:00 – 6:30 pm (Johannesburg)
6:00 – 7:30 pm (Nairobi)


The Sahel Region of Africa (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan) is in deep crisis and is threatened by cyclical instability. Terrorism threatens the region’s peace much to the benefit of various profiteering institutions, including arms and mining industries. As a result, displacement, insecurity, and the proliferation of terrorist and other non-State armed groups are on the rise, posing a global threat. More than 10 million children now face urgent humanitarian crisis. Recent developments have raised intriguing political questions surrounding the burning of Western flags while raising Russian ones, as well as the support garnered by military juntas rather than demanding democratic elections. Despite these imminent complex range of interconnected challenges, the international community’s response has been mostly lacking or ineffective. But without addressing the root causes of the insecurity and providing further investment in multidimensional solutions, the crisis will continue to get worse.

Our distinguished panelists will delve into the underlying causes of terrorism in the Sahel and provide suggestions and strategies for bridging the gaps in response systems and garnering international mobilization and support. The panelists will explore the potential of fostering dialogue among people and how to empower local leaders to develop sustainable solutions to local problems.


Lieutenant Colonel Alain SARA – Burkinabe Military Officer

Topic: Regionalization of terrorism in the Sahel and its impact on sovereign institutions.

Lieutenant Colonel Alain SARA is a Burkinabe military officer. He holds multiple military and civilian degrees, including a Master’s degree in Law, Economics, and Management with a specialization in International Relations, Security, and Defense, obtained from various military schools in Burkina Faso, the United States, France, Tunisia, Morocco, and more. His military career encompasses multiple roles and responsibilities, such as Director of Studies and Prospective at the Special Staff of the Presidency of Faso, Chief of Staff at the National Intelligence Agency, Intelligence Chief at the Eastern Sector Headquarters of MINUSMA in Gao, Intelligence Analyst, and Chief of Intelligence Bureau at the Republican Security and Protection Group. He has received several military decorations, including the Medal of Military Honor, the Commemorative Medal with the Sudan clasp, and the UNAMID Medal for his missions undertaken under the UN. Alain SARA has also actively participated in academic activities as an instructor, teaching courses on Economic Intelligence and Defense, Geopolitics, and Geostrategy. He authored articles and books including Stratégie de sécurité économique pour le Burkina Faso.

Matt Bere, Ph.D – Interim Manager, Transforming the Mind for Peace Lab at the Carter School for Peace & Conflict Resolution, George Mason University

Topic: Evidence of the effectiveness of local peacebuilding and conflict prevention initiatives in Niger and Burkina Faso.

Matt is currently an interim manager of the Transforming the Mind for Peace Lab at the Carter School for Peace & Conflict Resolution at George Mason University, and a founding member of the Centre de Recherche pour la Paix et la Sécurité au Sahel (CERPSS), a new nonprofit based in Burkina Faso. He holds a doctorate in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution from George Mason University (USA). He has more than 10 years of experience in sub-saharan African where he studied, worked or temporarily resided in conflict-ridden countries, including Burkina Faso, Chad, Cameroon, Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, and Uganda. As a Peace & Governance Specialist at USAID in Burkina Faso, and then as an independent consultant working with various organizations, he contributed to the monitoring and evaluation of several peacebuilding and countering violent extremism (CVE) projects. His research has focused these last seven years on issues related to peace and security in Africa, especially jihadist terrorism in the Sahel, and on assessing lessons learnt from past peacebuilding efforts.

Rev. Fr. Barwendé Médard Sané, SJ – Co-Founder, l’Institut de Recherche sur la Paix au Sahel and Sr. Fellow, AFJN

Topic: What makes military regimes so irresistible to the people of the Sahel region?

Fr. Sané, a Jesuit priest from Burkina Faso, is currently a Fellow at Africa Faith and Justice Network and co-founder of l’Institut de Recherche sur la Paix au Sahel. He completed his doctoral studies in Educational Leadership and Administration at the University of San Francisco in May, 2023. He holds a master’s degree in Theology from Santa Clara University, a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Université Loyola du Congo, and a Certificate in Public Policy Analysis from the London School of Economics. Fr. Sane is an expert in Environmental Justice, Peacebuilding, Leadership, Pan-Africanism, and Human Rights. He is also the author of seven books. His most recent publication is Manuel d’Education à la Paix en Afrique (2020).

Mr. Jacques Bahati – Policy Analyst, AFJN


Mr. Bahati is a seasoned Policy Analyst with Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN), where he has served since 2007. He obtained an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from La Ruzizi in Bukavu/DRC in 2000, a Masters of Divinity in 2006, and a Masters of Arts in Ethics in 2007, both from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Bahati has a deep understanding of the complex social, economic, and political dynamics that underlie many of the challenges facing Africa today. He has written and spoken extensively on these issues, offering insightful analysis and pragmatic solutions. He is a passionate advocate for justice and fairness, and he fiercely opposes corruption in all its forms, dedicating his career to rooting out this pervasive problem in Africa.