I train leaders intent on building peaceful and sustainable change.


Obasesam Okoi is Assistant Professor of Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St Thomas in Minnesota, where he teaches Justice and Peace Studies, Public Policy Analysis and Advocacy, Global Social Policy, and Peace Engineering. He is the Associate Editor of African Security journal and Editorial Board Member of Third World Thematics – A Third World Quarterly Journal. Dr Okoi is a Jill Knox Peace Fellow at the Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humor’s (AATH) Humor Academy, Senior Fellow in the War, Conflict and Migration Think Tank at the Global Research Network, Advisor at the War Prevention Initiative, a Research Affiliate at the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society, a Peace Ambassador at the Institute of Economics and Peace, and the 2016-2017 winner of the University of Manitoba’s Naylah Ayed Prize for leadership and global citizenship, awarded for academic excellence and exceptional commitment to leadership actions that bridge the local and global communities.

Dr. Okoi is a broadly trained scholar with a multidisciplinary background that includes peace and conflict studies, political science and international relations, international public policy, international development and global political economy, and civil engineering. He specializes in environmental conflict and conflict resolution with an emphasis on the linkages between natural resources, security, conflict and peace. His scholarship inspires academics, practitioners, and students to think critically and conceptually about the complex and dynamic nature of intergroup conflict and the processes of conflict resolution, building upon empirical research and his life experience. He is a professional negotiator, mediator and dialogue facilitator.

Dr. Okoi is a pragmatic thinker who believes in merging theory with practice to bring about change. He has worked with hundreds of former insurgents in Nigeria’s oil region to assess the success and failure of post-conflict peacebuilding policies and programs. His interdisciplinary research includes natural resource conflict and conflict resolution, governance and peacebuilding, the connection between engineering and peace. He also examines the alleviation of inequities that are emerging in Africa as a result of globalization, digitalization, and artificial intelligence as well as global pandemics. He has published in peer-reviewed journals such as Conflict Resolution Quarterly, African Security, World Development, International Journal on World Peace, Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice, Peace Research: Canadian Journal of Peace and Conflict Studies, and in prominent global policy think tanks. His is the author of Punctuated Peace in Nigeria’s Oil Region (Palgrave Macmillan), the latest account in the peacebuilding literature that makes a novel theoretical contribution to our understanding of the dynamics of political violence and to the pathways capable of leading to sustainable peace. Currently, Dr Okoi is the lead editor of two books: Natural Resource Governance and Sustainable Peace in Africa: Environmental Justice and Conflict Resolution with Routledge, and Counterinsurgency in Africa: A Multi-pronged Approach. He also authored The Spirit of Change: Rediscovering Our Humanity in a Precarious World, a highly sought-after book which earned him several invitations to international leadership forums where he speaks and trains hundreds of youth leaders on transformational leadership.

Prior to joining the faculty at St. Thomas, he taught at the University of Winnipeg, and Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada, where he directed undergraduate courses in human rights and international development. He was the Coordinator of the Africa Working Group Consortium. This initiative united scholars, students, and practitioners to explore peace and conflict issues on the African continent.

Dr. Okoi has contributed to a global policy response to address the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on vulnerable groups through the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at The Lauder Institute, The University of Pennsylvania. He was a member of the high-level expert advisory team mobilized by GovLab, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, to advise political leaders from Argentina, Bahamas, Ceará-Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago on supporting marginalized and vulnerable populations during their COVID-19 response.