Professor Samuel Makinda
PhD, MA, BA (Hons)

Professor of International Relations and Security Studies

About me

I am Professor of International Relations and Security Studies in the School of Management and Governance at Murdoch University. The bulk of my work has been undertaken with three types of audience in mind: fellow academics, public policy makers, and members of the public.

  • Along the way, I have collected a few trophies. My biggest reward came in December 2011, when Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki awarded me the medal of Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear (EBS) for my “distinguished service rendered to the nation”. It is one of Kenya’s highest civilian honours. A decade earlier, I had been elected a Fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Science in September 2001. That same year, I was appointed the Distinguished Lecturer for the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa. My latest trophy came in August 2012 when the Celebration of African Australians Inc named me one of the top 100 most influential African Australians.
  • In academia, my biggest achievement at Murdoch University in the past decade has been the establishment of the Security, Terrorism and Counterterrorism studies program, which I launched in 2005. It was the first undergraduate degree of its kind in Australia, and, apart from earning the University more than $1 million every year for about a decade, the program has created jobs for three new academics.
  • With regard to research, I have published five books and numerous book chapters, refereed journal articles, as well as newspaper columns, but I prefer to highlight the new ideas, concepts and theories that I have invented or championed.
  • In security studies, I was one of the earliest scholars to promote the idea of non-military security in the early 1980s in the face of considerable resistance. When the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London) decided at its 1988 annual conference to pursue research in non-military security, I was among the first researchers invited to take up a Research Associateship in 1989. I subsequently published Adelphi Paper No. 269, Security in the Horn Africa, which explores instability in the region from a non-military perspective.
  • At the level of meta-theory in International Relations, I was the first scholar (together with Rudra Sil) to publish articles in the year 2000 advocating the need to go beyond paradigms and embrace eclecticism. Since then, an increasing number of scholars in security studies, international political economy and other areas of IR have taken up eclecticism. My approach to eclecticism was inspired by Ali Mazrui’s work and by the ideas of two of the founders of the English School (ES) of International Relations, Hedley Bull and John Vincent, who taught me in the early 1980s. When efforts were made in the late 1990s to re-establish the ES, I participated and I have been acknowledged as one of the “contributors”.
  • I was the first ES scholar to distinguish between the primary and secondary institutions of international society in 2001. This distinction is now part of the lexicon in the ES.
  • As humanitarian intervention became prevalent in the 1990s, I was among the few scholars that engaged in the deconstruction of sovereignty. Dismissing the idea that state sovereignty was absolute and indivisible, I delineated three types of sovereignty, which are separable: juridical, empirical and popular.
  • It was against this background that I championed particular views of global governance and human rights from the late 1990s.
  • My latest idea, which I have expressed in two publications, is about the global interpretive community. I view an interpretive community as any group of people who consistently provide justification and legitimating principles for particular ideas, institutions, values, norms or practices. It is the interpretive community that provides the language, frameworks and other tools that enable us to explain, comprehend and debate such global phenomena as democracy, governance, globalisation, human rights, security, and sovereignty.
  • I have taught at the Australian National University, the University of Western Australia, Flinders University, the University of Nairobi, and the Australian Defence College. In addition, I have been a researcher at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC; the Global Security Programme at the University of Cambridge; St. Antony’s College at the University of Oxford; and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta.
  • In the public policy arena, I served on the Australian Foreign Minister’s National Consultative Committee for International Security Issues from 2001 to 2008. I was also a Foreign Affairs Specialist in the Parliamentary Research Service at the Australian Federal Parliament in the mid-1980s. Moreover, I participated in the design of the syllabus for Kenya’s National Defence College in the mid-1990s and helped establish Kenya’s Foreign Service Institute in 2007.
  • I have always endeavoured to reach out to ordinary members of the public mainly through the media (television, radio and newspapers) and community organisations. My career started in Nairobi in the media when I worked as a journalist with The Weekly Review and later as an editor with the Daily Nation.

Teaching area

My teaching covers three broad areas of political science: security studies; global governance; and International Relations theories. Currently, I coordinate three undergraduate units:

  1. Perspectives on Security and Terrorism (POL192)
  2. US Policies and Global Security (POL236)
  3. Understanding International Politics (POL161)

Research areas

I currently research in the following three broad areas of political science:

  1. Security, counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency issues
  2. Global governance, democratisation and the United Nations
  3. International Relations theories.

I am researching a book on “Understanding Global Governance: The role of the interpretive community”, which touches on all the three areas of my research interest.

Current projects

I am currently pursuing one major project, which is on “Understanding Global Governance: The role of the interpretive community”. My principal argument is that there is a global interpretive community, which comprises academics, journalists, publicists, policy makers from powerful countries, etc that often promotes particular ways of understanding and reacting to global issues. Yet, many International Relations scholars are not aware of the existence of this community.

Awards and grants

  1. The Kenyan President, Mwai Kibaki, honoured me with the medal of Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear on Kenya’s independence day in December 2011.
  2. I was elected a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science in September 2001.
  3. I was appointed the Distinguished Lecturer for the UN University’s Institute for Natural Resource in Africa in 2001.
  4. I was honoured as one of the 100 most influential African Australians in Sydney in August 2012.

I hold no research grant at the moment.

Events and speaking engagements

  1. In the past three years, I have given fortnightly or weekly interviews to various TV networks, including SKY News, Channel 7 Network, ABC 24 News, the ABC 7:30 Report, and Channel News Asia Singapore.
  2. I have also given regular interviews to various Australian and international radio networks, including ABC Radio National and BFM News Malaysia, in the past three years.
  3. The subjects I have explored with these networks have included security and terrorism-related matters in Australia, Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East East.

Professional and community service

  1. I have been participating in the preparation of the first Kenyan Diaspora conference in Australia, scheduled to take place in Perth on 8-9 September 2012. The conference will bring together Kenyans from different parts of Australasia who will interact with senior Kenyan government officials.
  2. I will participate in the “Africa Down-Under Conference” on mining in Perth on 29-31 August 2012.
  3. I participated in the launch of the Australia-Africa Universities Network in Canberra on 17 July 2012. I chaired the workshop on “Students and Alumni Network”.

Doctoral and masters supervisions

You should list the students you are supervising or have supervised and the topic areas covered here.

My recent PhD completions include:

  1. David Mickler, “Protecting civilians or preserving interests? Explaining the UN Security Council’s non-intervention in Darfur, 2003-2006″.
  2. William Clapton, “Risk and Hierarchy in International Society”.
  3. Genevieve Faulkner, “Explaining North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Program”.
  4. Jamal Barnes, “Why the Torture Taboo Matters”.

My current PhD students are:

  1. Stephen Westcott
  2. Timothy Smith
  3. Elissa Methwadee




  • Makinda, S., Okumu, W., (2008),The African Union: Challenges of Globalization, Security, and Governance,Routledge (Taylor and Francis Group).


  • Okumu, W., Makinda, S., (2013),Engaging with contemporary Africa: Key Contexts for External Actors,In: New Engagement Contemporary Australian Foreign Policy Towards Africa, Melbourne University Press, pages to.
  • Makinda, S., (2013),National Interests and Altruism in Australian Foreign Policy Towards Africa,In: New Engagement Contemporary Australian Foreign Policy Towards Africa, Melbourne University Press, pages 35 to 49.
  • Makinda, S., (2012),Africa's Leadership Malaise and the Crisis of Governance,In: Rethinking Development Challenges for Public Policy. Insights from Contemporary Africa., Palgrave Macmillan, pages 54 to 82.
  • Makinda, S., (2009),Contesting Sovereignty,In: The Ethics of Global Governance, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc, pages 21 to 34.
  • Makinda, S., (2009),Domestic terrorism in Asia and lessons for Africa,In: Domestic terrorism in Africa: Defining, addressing and understanding its impact on human security, Institute for Security Studies, pages 97 to 101.
  • Makinda, S., (2008),The Impact of the War on Terror on Governance and Human Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa,In: Understanding Terrorism in Africa: Building Bridges and Overcoming the Gaps, Institute for Security Studies, pages 32 to 35.
  • Makinda, S., (2007),The history and root causes of terrorism in Africa,In: Understanding Terrorism in Africa: In Search for an African Voice, Institute for Security Studies, pages 15 to 22.
  • Makinda, S., (2007),Global Governance and the United Nations,In: An Introduction to International Relations: Australian Perspectives, Cambridge University Press, pages 373 to 384.
  • Makinda, S., (2005),The Triple Hertage and Global Governance,In: The Mazruiana Collection revisited. Ali A Mazrui debating the African condition. An annotated and select thematic bibliography 1962-2003, New Dawn Press Group, pages 354 to 362.
  • Makinda, S., (2003),Leadership in Africa: A Contextual Essay,In: Governance and Leadership: Debating the African Condition. Mazrui and His Critics, Volume 2, Africa World Press Inc, pages 3 to 10.
  • Makinda, S., (2003),Epilogue: Ali Mazrui and His Works,In: Governance and Leadership: Debating the African Condition. Mazrui and His Critics, Volume 2, Africa World Press Inc, pages 431 to 454.
  • Makinda, S., (2003),Disarmament and reintegration of combatants,In: From Civil Strife to Civil Society: Civil and Military Responsibilities in Disrupted States, The United Nations University Press, pages 309 to 326.
  • Makinda, S., (2002),Institutions , Natural Resources Use and the Generation of Wealth: Africa's Critical Challenges,In: Bridging the Knowledge Gap: Revitalising Africas Universities, Woeli Publishing Services, pages 56 to 63.
  • Makinda, S., (2000),Recasting Global Governance,In: New Millennium, New Perspectives: The United Nations, Security, and Governance, United Nations University Press, pages 163 to 181.
  • Makinda, S., (2000),Horn of Africa,In: Strategic Survey, Oxford University Press, pages 257 to 265.
  • Makinda, S., (1998),Somalia: Lessons from the United Nations Experience,In: Peacekeeping and Peacemaking, Macmillan Press LTD, pages 166 to 178.


  • Makinda, S., (2016), Terrorism in International Society: An Eclectic Perspective, Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs, 3, 1, pages 1 - 12.
  • Makinda, S., (2015), Between Jakarta and Geneva: why Abbott needs to view Africa as a great opportunity, Australian Journal of International Affairs, 69, 1, pages 53 - 68.
  • Makinda, S., (2015), Institutions in global governance, Global Discourse: an interdisciplinary journal of current affairs and applied contemporary thought, 6, , pages 300 - 309.
  • Makinda, S., (2014), National Interests and Global Norms in Australia's Policies towards the Asia-Pacific, Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs, 1, 1, pages 25 - 40.
  • Turner, M., Makinda, S., (2013), Contextualising aid effectiveness: Australia's scholarship program in Africa, Australasian Review of African Studies, 34, 1, pages 40 - 60.
  • Makinda, S., (2008), Toleration and Political Community: Why Africa should avoid another Rwanda, Identity, Culture and Politics: an Afro-Asian dialogue, 9, 1, pages 115 - 130.
  • Makinda, S., (2007), How Africa can benefit from knowledge, Futures, 2007, 39, pages 973 - 985.
  • Makinda, S., (2006), Terrorism, counter-terrorism and norms in Africa, African Security Review, 3, 15, pages 19 - 31.
  • Makinda, S., (2005), Rigour, Gate Keeping and Security: A Debate with Bellamy and McDonald, Australian Journal of Political Science, 40, 3, September, pages 419 - 423.
  • Makinda, S., (2005), Following postnational signs: the trail of human rights, Futures, 37, , pages 943 - 957.
  • Makinda, S., (2005), Security in International Society: A Comment on Alex J. Bellamy and Matt McDonald, Australian Journal of Political Science, 40, 2, June, pages 275 - 287.
  • Makinda, S., (2003), Global Governance and Terrorism, Global Change, Peace and Security (formerly Pacifica Review), 15, , pages 43 - 58.
  • Makinda, S., (2003), The Howard Government and the United Nations, Drawing Board, The: An Australian Review of Public Affairs, April, , pages 1 - 5.
  • Makinda, S., (2002), The Global Covenant as an Evolving Institution, International Journal of Human Rights, 6, , pages 113 - 126.
  • Makinda, S., (2002), Hedley Bull and global governance: a note on IR theory, Australian Journal of International Affairs, 56, 3, pages 361 - 371.
  • Makinda, S., (2002), Global Terrorism versus Norms and Institutions in Africa and Asia, Identity, Culture and Politics: an Afro-Asian dialogue, 3, , pages 37 - 58.
  • Makinda, S., (2001), Security and Sovereignty in the Asia-Pacific, Contemporary Southeast Asia: a journal of international and strategic affairs, 23, 3, pages 401 - 419.
  • Makinda, S., (2001), Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Transformation in the Global Community, Global Governance: a review of multilateralism and international organizations, 7, 3, pages 343 - 362.
  • Makinda, S., (2001), International Society and Global Governance, Nordic Journal of International Studies, 36, 3, pages 334 - 337.
  • Makinda, S., (2000), Reading and Writing International Relations, Australian Journal of International Affairs, 54, 3, pages 389 - 401.
  • Makinda, S., (2000), International Society and Eclecticism in International Relations Theory, Cooperation and Conflict, 35, 2, pages 205 - 216.
  • Makinda, S., (1998), Globalisation as a policy outcome, Current Affairs Bulletin, 74, 6, pages 4 - 10.
  • Makinda, S., (1998), The United Nations and State Sovereignty: Mechanism for Managing International Security, Australian Journal of Political Science, 33, 1, pages 101 - 115.
  • Makinda, S., (1998), Sovereignty and Global Security, Security Dialogue, 29, 3, pages 281 - 292.
  • Makinda, S., (1997), Ethnic Claims Versus Political Imperatives in Rwanda and Burundi, Security Dialogue, 28, 3, pages 382 - 384.
  • Makinda, S., (1997), International Law and Security: Exploring a Symbiotic Relationship, Australian Journal of International Affairs, 51, 3, pages 325 - 337.


  • Makinda, S., (2012),Knowledge and Development in Africa,In: 2012 Australian Political Studies Association Conference.
  • Makinda, S., (2003),Reclaiming Democracy for Africa: Alarming Signs of Post-Democratic Governnance,In: 26th African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP) Annual Conference (2003).
  • Makinda, S., (1997),Hedley Bull and Post-Cold War Security,In: Australasian Political Studies, 1997, Vol 2.