Tuesday 13 June
Nairobi, Kenya

This panel session undertook an examination of the spillover and regionalisation of conflict. The focus was on Sudan and Ethiopia as well as instability across the borders of South Sudan, Somalia and Kenya.

Listen to the full panel session

XCEPT · Panel Session 1: Conflict and Regional Contestation

Panellist Spotlight: Ahmed Soliman

Panellist Spotlight: Kholood Khair

Panellist Spotlight: Aden Abdi


Ahmed Soliman – Chatham House

Ahmed Soliman is a senior research fellow with the Africa Programme at Chatham House, where he leads programming on the Horn of Africa. He is a research lead for Chatham House research with the XCEPT research programme. Ahmed has over a decade of experience producing policy-relevant research on the region. Ahmed has authored several research publications and commentaries, and oversees the implementation of Chatham House research projects, activities and outputs on the Horn of Africa. He regularly contributes to media reporting on the region. 


Cedric Barnes – Head, Africa Research Group, FCDO

Cedric Barnes serves as Senior Principal Research Analyst and Head of the Africa Research Group in the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. He was previously Horn of Africa Project Director at International Crisis Group (2012-2016), and then Director of Research and Communications Rift Valley Institute (2016-2018). Cedric holds degrees from SOAS and the University of Cambridge.

Kholood Khair – Confluence Advisory

Kholood Khair is the founding director of Confluence Advisory, a think tank in Khartoum that works on policy research. Kholood also hosts and co-produces Spotlight 249, Sudan’s first English-language political discussion and debate show aimed at young Sudanese. Kholood has over a decade of experience in research, aid programming, and policy in Sudan and across the Horn of Africa. She has also written analysis pieces for several international publications and has provided analyses for different research and policy institutions. Kholood holds an MSc from Oxford University and an MSc from the School of Oriental and African Studies.


Aden Abdi – Conciliation Resources 

Aden Abdi is Africa Department Director for Conciliation Resources, where he provides strategic leadership and direction to the organisation’s three Africa programmes. Aden has nearly twenty years of experience supporting and implementing governance and peacebuilding programmes with a wide range of governments, opposition groups, civil society actors and local communities. Most notably, Aden played a key technical and accompanying role in the Kenyan government-led peace talks between the government of Ethiopia and the Ogaden National Liberation Front – a process that culminated in a successful peace deal in October 2018. Aden is currently based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.