EADI Prize 2012 – Currun Singh

The EADI Prize 2012 awarded to Currun Singh

We are very delighted to award the 2012 EADI Prize for Excellence in development Studies to a young researcher who has submitted a paper which raises questions at the heart of the research process.

EADI has created the prize in 2005 with the objective to reward and bring recognition “to encourage creative, interdisciplinary, multifaceted research on development issues” from the upcoming generation of development specialists.

Among the entries of this year’s competition, the jury has identified a winner: Currun Singh with his outstanding paper on “Corsairs in the Crosshairs: Delinking piracy from terrorism in Somalia and implications for governance along the Horn of Africa”

This paper argues that since 2005, the global security discourse has confused maritime piracy off the Horn of Africa with terrorism. American and European policymakers and financiers have tapped a vulnerable public imaginary to exaggerate Somali piracy as “maritime terrorism,” driving the militarization and legal obfuscation of counter-piracy policies and practices.

The discursive conflation of piracy and terrorism has thereby launched a tactical and legal War on Piracy that mirrors the War on Terror. This approach is pushing pirates to become more daring and dangerous in response.

The paper concludes that the tactical extension from counter-terrorism to counter-piracy is unlikely to succeed, as it is insensitive to the origins, motives and modus operandi of Somali pirates.

Finally, it proposes a shift from military to developmental strategies to ameliorate Somali crime and governance.

Quotes from the jury:

“It is an extremely interesting and convincing paper, based on a number of interviews (not easy to obtain on this delicate topic) and making reference to a range of written sources. A very scholarly paper, making a significant and original contribution. The subject might be said to be on the margins of ‘development studies’, but the issue is certainly very relevant to development in Somalia, if not elsewhere.”

“The paper is most original in its question and provides a new way of thinking about the issue of piracy. The analysis of discourse as a means of wielding power is very creative as a way of understanding the patterns of meaning embedded in international relations.” 

Currun obtained an Erasmus Mundus Master in Public Policy, a combined Master in Development Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS)—The Hague, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam and the Institut Barcelona d'EstudisInternacionals (IBEI), Centre d’Estudis i Documentació Internacionals a Barcelona (CIDOB).

The paper is based on his Thesis: “Corsairs in the Crosshairs: Delinking piracy from terrorism in Somalia and implications for governance along the Horn of Africa.” (2011)

We congratulate Currun and wish him all the best for his future career!