Fellows and governance of the Rift Valley Institute

The Institute is governed by a board of trustees in the UK and a board of directors in the US; both are drawn from the body of RVI Fellows, as indicated in the list below. Fellows of the RVI are specialists in the Eastern and Central African region, drawn from Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas. They include practitioners, activists and academic experts in the fields of human rights, history, anthropology, political science, economics, aid and development, conservation, media, diplomacy and law. Fellows are elected by the body of existing Fellows, proposed and seconded by two existing Fellows.

The Rift Valley Institute was co-founded in 2001 by John Ryle, who was Executive Director of the Institute until 2017. John is Legrand Ramsey Professor of Anthropology at Bard College, NY. He has worked as a long-term social researcher in Sudan and in Brazil, as a regional analyst for aid and human rights organizations in Africa and the Middle East, and as a writer, editor and broadcaster worldwide. He is author of Warriors of the White Nile (1984), an account of the Dinka of Southern Sudan, coeditor of The Sudan Handbook (2011) and a contributor to publications including the New York Review of Books and The Guardian, where he was a weekly columnist from 1995 to 1999. He is a Research Associate of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and a board member of the Human Rights Watch Africa Division. John is lead researcher on RVI's South Sudan Customary Authorities project.

Abdel Monim el-Gak is an anthropologist and human rights activist currently working in Juba as an independent researcher. He has worked with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Juba and other organizations on democratization, peace, human rights, and civic engagement in the political processes.

Alan Lamb was RVI company director and company secretary from 2003-2009. A London- and Nottingham-based tax adviser, he is also a specialist legal writer, concentrating on the business of law in a number of overseas jurisdictions and offshore financial centres.

Alex de Waal is Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation and a research professor at the Fletcher School, Tufts University. He was previously regional advisor on the Horn of Africa to the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) and Adviser to the AU High-Level Panel on Sudan. Alex de Waal received a DPhil from Oxford in 1988. Recent publications include Darfur: A New History of a Long War (London: African Arguments, 2008, with Julie Flint), War in Darfur and the Search for Peace (Boston: Harvard University Press, 2007) and AIDS and Power: Why There is no Political Crisis— yet (London: African Arguments, 2006).

Alfred Lokuji is Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Juba University, South Sudan. He gained his PhD at the University of Georgia (USA) and has taught at Dar es Salaam University, and at Moi University in Kenya and served as member of the policy advisory board at the Tanzania Centre for Development Cooperation, Arusha. He is a member of Centre for Peace and Development Studies at the University of Juba.

Aly Verjee is a political analyst and RVI Senior Researcher, author of numerous RVI reports and research papers. He was formerly deputy and then acting chief of staff of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), senior political advisor to the chief mediator of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)-led peace process for South Sudan, and chief political analyst for the European Union observation mission for the South Sudan independence referendum.

Ann Grant worked at Standard Chartered Bank from 2005 to 2014, as Vice-Chairman for Africa. Her earlier career was as a British diplomat. She joined the UK Diplomatic Service in 1971, with subsequent postings in India, Mozambique, Brussels (European Union) and New York (UK Mission to the UN). She also worked for two years as Communications Director for Oxfam UK in the late 1980s. From 1998 to 2000 she was Director for Africa and the Commonwealth at the UK Foreign Office, and from 2000 to 2005 was British High Commissioner to South Africa. She is the Senior Independent Director at Tullow Oil. Ann Grant became a Trustee of RVI in 2011.

Atta el-Battahani is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Khartoum and Senior Adviser to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) in Sudan. He received his PhD from Sussex University, UK. His research covers the Nuba Mountains and western Sudan. Among his numerous publications is Nationalism and Peasant Politics in the Nuba Mountain Region of Sudan (Arabic 2002, English 2009). He is co-author, with Justin Willis and Peter Woodward, of the RVI report ‘Elections in Sudan: Learning from Experience’ (2010).

Bahru Zewde is Emeritus Professor of History at Addis Ababa University. He has authored several books and articles, most notably A History of Modern Ethiopia 1855-1991 (2001) and Pioneers of Change in Ethiopia: The reformist intellectuals of the early twentieth century (2002). He has served as Chair of the Department of History at Addis Ababa University (1982-1986) and Director of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies (1993-1996). He is currently the Executive Director of the FSS, Member of the Board of Trustees of Trust Africa and Editor of the Africa Review of Books.

Ben Parker is Director of IRIN news, a humanitarian news and analysis service.

Binyavanga Wainaina is a Kenyan editor, author and journalist.  He has written for The East African, the National Geographic, The Sunday Times (South Africa), Granta, the New York Times and The Guardian (UK).  He is the founding editor of the literary magazine Kwani?, winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing and author of One Day I Will Write About This Place (2011). He was the Director of the Chinua Achebe Center for African Literature and Languages at Bard College, NY.

Catherine Newbury is Professor of Government at Smith College, Massachusetts. Research interests include ethnicity and the state in Africa, democratisation, the politics of peasants and women, and the politics of violence in francophone central Africa. Author of The Cohesion of Oppression: Clientship and ethnicity in Rwanda, 1860–1960 (1993).

Cedric Barnes is the RVI Director of Research and Communications. He was formerly Horn of Africa Project Director at International Crisis Group, Senior Research Analyst with the Africa Research Group at the Africa Directorate of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and a research fellow at the School of African and Oriental Studies in London. He has taught on the RVI Horn of Africa course and been involved in the development of the Nairobi Forum project.

Cherry Leonardi is a Lecturer in African History at Durham University. Her research and publications since 2001 have focused on the historical and contemporary role of chiefs in Southern Sudan and related issues of governance, state-society relations and political and judicial cultures. She was lead researcher and author of Local Justice in Southern Sudan (2010), a report for the Rift Valley Institute and the US Institute of Peace.

Chris was the RVI Finance Director from July 2016 to February 2017 and a Trustee since February 2017. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (FCMA). His experience of finance was largely developed in the commercial sector, working in retail and wholesale companies, followed by the Co-operative movement and the charity sector. His time in the charity sector took him initially to a small sight-loss charity based near London, then into Amnesty International and Merlin (Medical Relief International). Merlin merged with Save the Children in 2014, and Chris helped to see the merger through.

Christopher Clapham is at the Centre of African Studies, University of Cambridge, where he has been a co-opted member since 2002. He teaches on the RVI's Horn Course. Prior to his retirement he was editor of the Journal of Modern African Studies between 1998 and 2012, and Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Lancaster. He is the author of numerous publications including War and State Formation in Ethiopia and Eritrea (2000) and Transformation and Continuity in Revolutionary Ethiopia (1998). He is the editor of the Journal of Modern African Studies.

Christopher Kidner holds an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies and a BA from the University of Durham. He taught English as a second language in Khartoum, Atbara, and El-Obeid universities from 2006 to 2008. He specialises in contemporary Sudanese history and speaks Sudanese colloquial Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic. He is a trustee of the Sudan Volunteer Program. Christopher joined RVI in 2008, and served as Programme Director from 2009 to 2014. He currently works in Darfur, Sudan.

Comfort Ero works for the International Crisis Group (ICG) as its Africa Program Director. She first joined the organisation in 2001 as West Africa Project Director, before serving for three years as the Political Affairs Officer and Policy Advisor to the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General in Liberia. Prior to ICG, she was Deputy Director of the Africa Program at the International Center for Transitional Justice. Previously, she was Research Fellow at the Conflict, Security and Development Group, King’s College, and Research Associate for the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

 
Conradin Perner (Kwacakworo) is an ethnographer of South Sudan and a founder of the Gurtong Trust. He is author of an eight-volume account of Anyuak culture. In 2011 he was awarded the Yellow Star medal in recognition of his contribution to knowledge about South Sudan.

Daniel (Dan) Large is an Assistant Professor at the Central European University in Budapest. Previously he was Research Director of the Africa Asia Centre at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London. He is the co-editor of Sudan Looks East (2012). He was the founding director of the Sudan Open Archive, a digital library established by the RVI to provide access to contemporary and historical knowledge about Sudan.

David Keen is the author of The Benefits of Famine (1994), The Economic Functions of Violence in Civil Wars (1998) and Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone (2005). He formerly worked as a researcher, consultant and journalist.

David Newbury is Gwendolen Carter Professor of African Studies at Smith College, Massachusetts. His work has focused on pre-colonial societal transformation in the Kivus, the Rift Valley, the Rwandan famine of the late 1920s, and the transformation of a hunter-gatherer society in the eastern DRC into an agricultural economy. He is author of Land Beyond the Mists: Essays in identity and authority in precolonial Congo and Rwanda (2009).

Deborah Nightingale is a primatologist and ecologist based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Dereje Feyissa is a Humboldt Fellow at the University of Bayreuth. He completed his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology/Martin Luther University in 2003. He was a Fellow in the Department of Anthropology, Osaka University, Japan between 2003 and 2005, and a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology from 2005 to 2007. He has lectured on Ethiopian history at the Alemaya University in Ethiopia and on social anthropology at the Martin Luther University and the University of Bayreuth in Germany. He is the author of Playing Different Games: Paradoxes of Anywaa and Nuer Identification Strategies in Gambella, Ethiopia (2011) and co-editor (with Markus Virgil Hoehne) of Borders and Borderlands as Resources in the Horn of Africa (2010).

Diane de Guzman moved to East Africa in 1986 following graduation from law school and has been working in the region ever since. Nineteen years were spent working in Sudan and South Sudan with Save the Children Fund, UNICEF Humanitarian Principles Team, the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team, and finally, as a Senior Civil Affairs Officer with the UN Mission in Sudan/South Sudan. At present, Diane has returned to Somalia, where she worked for CARE in 1987-1988, to work with the UN Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) as a Senior Political Affairs Officer.

Douglas Johnson first visited the Sudan in 1969 after meeting Sudanese students at Makerere University College, Uganda, where he was studying. He has done historical research in the Southern Sudan, served as Assistant Director for Archives in the former Southern Regional Government, and worked in various relief programmes during the recent civil war. He was appointed an international expert on the Abyei Boundaries Commission, and is the author, editor or co-editor of ten books on Sudanese topics.

Edward Thomas worked in Sudan and Egypt for twelve years as a teacher, human rights worker and researcher. He completed a PhD at Edinburgh University in 1998 on the history of the Republican movement, a Sufi-inspired group that called for the reform of Islamic law and civil rights for all Sudanese. He is the author of Islam’s Perfect Stranger: The Life of Mahmud Muhammad Taha (2010).

Eisei Kurimoto is professor at the Graduate School of Human Sciences and director of the Global Collaboration Center at Osaka University. He is the deputy program leader of the Global COE Program, “Conflict Studies in the Humanities.” He is a social anthropologist and has conducted fieldwork in Southern Sudan and western Ethiopia for the last three decades on such topics like Nilotic ethnography, civil war, ethnic conflict, displacement, and post-war reconstruction and fieldwork in Southern Sudan and western Ethiopia for the last three decades on peacebuilding, Nilotic ethnography, civil war, ethnic conflict, displacement, post-war reconstruction and peacebuilding.

Elizabeth Hodgkin holds a PhD in History. She worked as a human rights researcher with Amnesty International from the late 1980s and is the author of numerous human rights reports for Amnesty and others. An Arabic speaker, she taught Medieval History at the University of Khartoum in the 1970s, and was one of the founders of the newsletter Sudan Update in the late 1980s.

Emily Paddon is Deputy Director of Studies for the Great Lakes Course and an RVI fellow. She is the Rose Research Fellow in International Relations at the University of Oxford and an associate faculty member at Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government. Emily holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Oxford, and is co-founder of the Oxford Central Africa Forum (OCAF). Her academic research focuses on the politics and practices of United Nations peacekeeping, humanitarianism and civilian protection in sub-Saharan Africa. She has worked as a consultant for several donors and NGOs including, the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Danish Refugee Council, and the Oxford Institute for Ethics Law and Armed Conflict.

Fergus Boyle is Director of the Isle of Cumbrae Community Development Company. He worked in the Sudans as a Programme Manager for Save the Children Fund and as Civil Affairs officer and state-level coordinator for the UN Mission in Sudan and the UN Mission in South Sudan.

Fergus Nicoll is an independent researcher specialising in the Mahdia. His 2004 biography of Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi, The Sword of the Prophet, has been followed by several books and articles on the period, focusing on Sudanese and British primary sources. After teaching in Sudan in 1987-1988, he has returned frequently in his capacity as a BBC World Service journalist.

Gaim Kibreab has published on forced migration (refugees, development-induced displacement, internally displaced persons, and environmentally-induced population displacement), development and governance in post-conflict societies. He is a professor and Course Director of Refugee Studies at London South Bank University.

Gérard Prunier is a historian of Eastern and Central Africa and former Director of the French Centre for Ethiopian Studies in Addis Ababa. He has published over 120 articles and five books, including Africa's World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide and the making of a continental catastrophe (2008), The Rwanda Crisis (1998) and Darfur: The Ambiguous Genocide (2005).

Guma Kunda Komey is an associate professor of Human Geography, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and senior lecturer at the Centre for Peace and Development, the University of Bahri, Khartoum, Sudan. He has published extensively on the questions of land, governance and identity politics in Sudan with focus on the war-torn region of the Nuba Mountains. His publication includes, among others, Land, Governance, Conflict and the Nuba of Sudan (2011), and ‘The Nuba Plight: An Account of People Facing Perpetual Violence and Institutionalized Insecurity’ in Conflict in the Nuba Mountains From Genocide-by-Attrition to the Contemporary Crisis in Sudan (2014).

Haile Menkerios is the former Eritrean ambassador to Ethiopia and has worked for the UN for many years. He is currently Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan.

Helen Epstein is Visiting Professor of Global Public Health and Human Rights at Bard College in Annandale, New York. Her book The Invisible Cure: Why we are Losing the Fight against AIDS in Africa (Picador 2008) was a New York Times Notable Book and Amazon’s best science book of the year. Her articles have appeared in The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, The Lancet and other publications and she has worked as a consultant for such organizations as the World Bank, UNICEF, UNAIDS and Human Rights Watch.

Hussein Abdullahi Mahmoud is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences at the Technical University of Mombasa. His research interests include pastoral livelihoods, conflicts, citizenship, natural resource management and land degradation processes in the Horn of Africa. He has consulted on pastoral/livestock/conflict related projects for the Government of Kenya/African Development Bank, the FAO, Mercy Corps and CARE International in Kenya and in Somalia.

Isabel Fonseca was educated at Barnard College and Oxford University. She worked in publishing and then as an editor at the Times Literary Supplement. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian and The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker and Vogue. She is the author of Bury Me Standing and Attachment, a novel.

Jabril Ibrahim Abdulle is Director of the Center for Research and Dialogue (CRD) and a leading civil society figure in Mogadishu. In his work at CPD he has overseen numerous studies on peacebuilding, governance, economic recovery, civil society, and the Somali diaspora.

Jacob Akol is a veteran Sudanese journalist and director of the Gurtong Trust (www.gurtong.net). He is author of I Will Go the Distance: The story of a 'lost' Sudanese boy of the sixties (2007) and Burden of Nationality: Memoirs of an African aidworker/journalist 1970s-1990s (2006).

Jason Stearns is Director of Studies of the RVI Great Lakes Course. He is author of Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: the collapse of the Congo and the great war of Africa (2011). He is the former Coordinator of the UN Group of Experts on the DRC. He has also worked for United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), the International Crisis Group and Héritiers de la Justice.

Jean Omasombo Tshonda is a professor at the University of Kinshasa and researcher in the contemporary history section of the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren. He is also Director of the Centre for Political Studies (CEP) in Kinshasa. At the Royal Museum, he directs the project ‘Provinces-Decentralization’ which deals with the decentralization process and the study of the new provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo as promulgated by the 2006 Constitution. Jean holds a PhD in political sciences from the Free University of Brussels.

Jean-Francois Darcq has worked for the United Nations in Southern Sudan for many years. He lives in Kenya.

Jean-Paul Kimonyo is policy advisor in the Rwandan presidency. He is the author of Rwanda, un génocide populaire (2008), based on his research on the genocide in Butare and Kibuye. He has a PhD from the University of Quebec.

Jérôme Tubiana is a researcher specializing in Darfur and Chad. Has travelled extensively in both countries as a consultant for various NGOs, USAID and the AU–UN Joint Mediation Support Team for the Darfur peace process. He is the author of Chroniques du Darfour (2010), and reports on Darfur and Chad for the Small Arms Survey.

Jillian Luff is a cartographer who runs her own business, MAPgrafix. As well as being responsible for maps in RVI publications and websites, she has provided maps and graphics for academic publications, universities, NGOs and other bodies including the Small Arms Survey, PAX, IISS, Saferworld, Zed Books, the UN and DFID.

Johan Pottier is Professor of African Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He specialises in the social dynamics of food security, media representations of conflict, and the politics of humanitarian intervention. His publications include Anthropology of Food: the social dynamics of food security (1999) and Re-Imagining Rwanda: conflict, survival and disinformation in the late 20th century (2002). His current research focuses on the conflict in Ituri District, north-eastern DRC.

John Ashworth has worked in Sudan, South Sudan and the Eastern and Southern African regions for more than 30 years in various fields including humanitarian aid and development, education, justice and peace, and advocacy. He currently acts as an advisor to the Sudanese and South Sudanese churches, and to agencies involved in the region.

John Moore was RVI’s Director of Programmes for Sudan, South Sudan and the Great Lakes from 2015-2016. He has also been responsible for reconfiguration of many of RVI’s management procedures. He is an experienced development professional, political economist and programme manager with more than 10 years’ experience of working and living in Southern and East Africa. He has designed and delivered complex programmes on behalf of governments, donor agencies, NGOs and communities, specializing in public service reform—specifically at the centre of government—and institutional development.

John Olander is a master leather-worker and teacher, founder of JB Art & Craft, with thirty years living and working in Southern Sudan and East Africa. He is the designer and maker of the official RVI belt.

John Reader is a writer and photojournalist with more than forty years' professional experience, much of it in Africa. He holds a Honorary Research Fellowship in the Department of Anthropology at University College London and is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. His work has included contributions to major international publications, consultancies for the United Nations Environment Programme scripts for television and numerous books including Pyramids of Life (1977) and Kilimanjaro (1982).

John Ryle is co-founder and former Executive Director of the Rift Valley Institute and Legrand Ramsey Professor of Anthropology at Bard College, NY. He has worked as a long-term social researcher in Sudan and in Brazil, as a regional analyst for aid and human rights organizations in Africa and the Middle East, and as a writer, editor and broadcaster worldwide. He is author of Warriors of the White Nile (1984), an account of the Dinka of Southern Sudan, coeditor of The Sudan Handbook (2011) and a contributor to publications including the New York Review of Books and The Guardian, where he was a weekly columnist from 1995 to 1999. He is a Research Associate of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and a board member of the Media Development Investment Fund and the Human Rights Watch Africa Division.

Jok Madut Jok is a professor of African studies in the department of History at Loyola Marymount University. He is a cofounder of the Sudd Institute. He is the author of three books and numerous articles covering gender, sexuality and reproductive health, humanitarian aid, ethnography of political violence, gender based violence, war and slavery, and the politics of identity in Sudan.

Jonathan Kingdon is an artist and biologist. His research interests include evolutionary biology and biogeography of African mammals, especially primates and humans. He is currently editing a six volume handbook on the Mammals of Africa. He is a research associate in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford.

Judith Verweijen is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Conflict Research Group at Ghent University, Belgium. She is the Lead Researcher of the ‘Usalama Project: Governance in Conflict’.

Justin Willis is Professor in History and Head of the Department at the University of Durham. He was formerly Director of the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA) in Nairobi. He specializes in the modern history of eastern Africa and Sudan. He is the author of Mombasa, the Swahili and the Making of the Mijikenda (1993) and Potent Brews: A social history of alcohol in East Africa (2002), co-author of the Rift Valley Institute report, 'Elections in Sudan: Learning from experience' (2009) and coeditor of The Sudan Handbook (2010). He was academic director or co-director of the RVI Sudan course, variously between 2005 and 2013, a trustee of the Rift Valley Institute from 2011 to 2015 and Chair of the Board of Trustees from 2015 to 2016.

Kenneth Anderson is a professor of Law at American University in Washington DC, and a research fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His research interests include international human rights, war and armed conflict, terrorism and state terrorism, nonprofit and charitable organizations, development finance and international business. Formerly General Counsel at the Open Society Institute, he was founding director of the Human Rights Watch Arms Project. From 1997-2009 he was Chair of the board of the Media Development Loan Fund (www.mdlf.org). Kenneth Anderson became an RVI US board member in 2006.

Kenneth Menkhaus is Professor of Political Science at Davidson College, where he has taught since 1991. His specialisation in the Horn of Africa has focused primarily on development, conflict analysis, peacebuilding and political Islam, involving both academic research and policy work. In 1993–94, he served as special political advisor in the UN Operation in Somalia. He is author ofThe crisis in Somalia: tragedy in five acts in African Affairs (2007) and Somalia: A Country in Peril, A Policy Nightmare (2008). He has been the Director of Studies of the RVI Horn of Africa Course since 2008.

Kjetil Tronvoll is Professor of Human Rights and Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Oslo, and Managing Partner of the International Law and Policy Group. Holding a PhD in Social Anthropology, he has undertaken fieldwork in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Zanzibar, among other African countries, focusing on democratisation/elections, conflict and identities, peace and reconciliation, and human rights. His publications on the Horn of Africa include: War and the Politics of Identity in Ethiopia: Making enemies and allies in the Horn of Africa (2009), Eritrea’s Lasting Struggle for Freedom and Human Rights (2009) and Brothers at War: making sense of the Eritrean–Ethiopian war (2000).

Koen Vlassenroot is Professor of Political Sciences and Director of the Conflict Research Group at the University of Ghent. He is also the Director of the Observatoire de l’Afrique, an associate senior researcher at the Egmont Institute and a member of the Congo Affinity Group. He specializes in conflict dynamics in Central Africa, with a particular interest in eastern DRC. He has written numerous book chapters and articles on militias, land access, rebel governance and state-building. He co-authored Conflict and Social Transformation in Eastern DR Congo (2004) and co-edited The Lord's Resistance Army: Myth or reality? (2010). He is a consultant researcher on the RVI Usalama Project and teaches on the RVI Great Lakes Course. His current research projects focus on artisanal mining and land conflicts in eastern DRC and on public authority, justice and security in DRC and CAR.

Kwame Anthony Appiah is a philosopher, cultural theorist and novelist. He is Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton and president of the PEN American Center. His most recent book is The Honor Code: How moral revolutions happen (2011). Kwame Anthony Appiah became a RVI US board member in 2006.

Laura Hammond is Head of the Department of Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. She has worked on the Somali territories since 1998 and has written widely about migration, displacement and diasporas. She is the author of This Place Will Become Home: Refugee Repatriation to Ethiopia (2004) and co-editor with Christopher Cramer and Johan Pottier of Researching Violence in Africa: Methodological and Ethical Considerations (2011). She is an Associate Fellow of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and a Fellow in Development Policy at the Heritage Institute for Policy Studies in Mogadishu.

Laura M. James is a freelance consultant who specializes in the interface between political and economic issues in the Middle East and Africa. She is also an affiliated lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge, and a special supervisor at Newnham College. Previously, she worked as a Khartoum-based adviser on the Sudanese and South Sudanese economies for the European Union, the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), among others. Before moving to Sudan, she was a Middle East analyst with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). She completed her doctorate at the University of Oxford and is the author of Nasser at War: Arab Images of the Enemy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).

Leben Nelson Moro is head of the Directorate of External Relations at the University of Juba, and teaches at the University’s Center of Peace and Development Studies. His research is on displacement and resettlement, focusing on oil-induced displacement in South Sudan, and conflicts in the Sudan-South Sudan border area. His findings have appeared in the Journal of Refugee Studies, St Anthony’s International Review, Forced Migration Review, New Internationalist and Pambazuka News; he is the author of ‘Local relations of oil development in Southern Sudan’ in Luke A. Patey and Daniel Large (eds) Sudan Looks East: China, India and the Politics of Asian Alternatives (2011).

Lee Cassanelli is Professor of History and Director of the African Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches African history, oral history, and comparative world history. His research interests focus on the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia and Somalia) from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. He is author of The Shaping of Somalia Society (1982) and co-editor of The Struggle for Land in Southern Somalia: The War Behind the War (1996). He has taught on the Horn of Africa course since its inception in 2008.

Leif Manger is professor in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen. His research and publications include studies on household adaptations in oasis environments, mountain environments and savannah plains. He has also published works on topics such as trade, communal labour and socio-cultural processes of Arabisation and Islamisation. He is the author of From the Mountains to the Plains The Integration of the Lafofa Nuba into Sudanese Society (1994).

Lindsay Nash is an independent typographic designer based in London. She has designed RVI books and other publications since 2010.

Lindsey Hilsum is Channel 4 News International Editor. She started her working life as an aid worker, working first for OXFAM in Central America and UNICEF in Africa. She covered the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, the NATO bombing of Belgrade in 1999 and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. She has reported extensively from Africa and the Middle East, and from 2006-8 was the Channel 4 News China Correspondent, based in Beijing. Most recently she reported from Alexandria and Cairo on the uprising in Egypt, and from eastern Libya on the 2011 revolt against Colonel Ghaddafi's 42 year rule. She is the author of Sandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution (2012)Lindsey Hilsum became a RVI trustee in 2009.

Lucy Hannan is a freelance reporter, journalist, and filmmaker working in Eastern Africa since 1988, as a reporter for BBC, British newspapers, and contributor to UK's Channel 4. Her work addresses issues like election-related violence, internally displaced people in Kenya, and Islamic radicalism in Somalia. Hannan runs a small media production company, Voxcom Ltd., which has produced films such as Obama: Change we Can, Looking at Leadership, Getting Justice - Kenya's Deadly Game of Wait and See, and Clearing the Air. Hannan has also been involved in human rights work and has written two books: Taking Liberties (1991) and Shadow Justice (1996). She is the Director of Voxcom Ltd.

Luka Biong is former Minister of the Council of Ministers of the Government of South Sudan. He was on the teaching staff at the Faculty of Economics and Rural Development, University of Gezira, Senior Economist in the World Bank Sudan Office and Executive Director of New Sudan Centre for Statistics and Evaluation. He has published articles in Disasters, the IDS Bulletin, African Affairs and the Journal of Civil Wars.

Luke Patey is a senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies and research associate at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, University of Oxford. He is author of The New Kings of Crude: China, India, and the Global Struggle for Oil in Sudan and South Sudan (Hurst, 2014) and co-editor of Sudan Looks East: China, India, and the Politics of Asian Alternatives (James Currey, 2011).

Magdeldin (Magdi) Elgizouli is a medical doctor and lecturer at Ahfad University for Women and Collaborating Researcher at the Institute of Endemic Diseases, University of Khartoum. He is currently a Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) scholar at the University of Freiburg, Germany. He blogs at http://stillsudan.blogspot.com/.

Maggie Ray is Program Director with the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies. She was formerly the Deputy Director for the International Observation Mission for the Carter Center.

Maina Kiai is Executive Director at InformAction, based in Nairobi, Kenya. In addition, he currently serves as UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. He has spent the last 20 years campaigning for human rights and constitutional reform across the world. He was the founder and Executive Director of the unofficial Kenya Human Rights Commission between 1992-1998, and later the first Chairman of Kenya’s National Human Rights Commission from 2003-2008. In March 2011, he was appointed as the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association for the UN Human Rights Council.

Mark Bradbury is a social analyst with over 20 years’ experience in international development and humanitarian aid. He has worked in and written about Somalia, Somaliland, Sudan, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Uganda, and Kosovo as a development worker and researcher. He is author of Becoming Somaliland (Indianapolis, Indiana University Press, 2008). He was RVI Regional Director for the Horn of Africa and East Africa from 2012–2016, and is the RVI Executive Director since January 2017.

Mark Duffield is Professor of Development Politics at the University of Bristol. Trained in both anthropology and political economy, his field experience includes four years as Oxfam's Country Representative in the Sudan during the latter half of the 1980s. His recent work has largely involved war-related emergencies and social reconstruction issues - in which field he has carried out many research and consultancy exercises for UN agencies, donor governments and non-governmental organisations. He is the author of War and Hunger: Rethinking International Responses to Complex Emergencies (1994) and Without Troops and Tanks: Humanitarian Intervention in Eritrea and Ethiopia (1995).

Markus Hoehne is a lecturer at the Institute of Anthropology at Leipzig University, Germany. His research focuses on identity and conflict in northern Somalia (Somaliland and Puntland), political Islam and transitional justice in the Somali inhabited territories in the Horn of Africa. His publications include Somalia zwischen Krieg und Frieden: Strategien der friedlichen Koniliktaustragung auf intemationaler und lokaler Ebene (2002), a volume co-edited with Dereje Feyissa, Borders and Borderlands as Resources in the Horn of Africa (2010) and a volumed co-edited with Virginia Luling, Milk and Peace, Drought and War. Somali culture, society and politics (2010) and Between Somaliland and Puntland (2015).

Mary Harper is Africa Editor at the BBC World Service and author of Getting Somalia Wrong? Faith, War and Hope in a Shattered State (2012). She is a contributor to The Economist, Granta, The Guardian, The Times and The Washington Post.

Father Mathew Pagan is Vice-Chancellor of the Catholic University of South Sudan in Juba, where the RVI has held numerous events. He holds a doctorate in canon law from Urbaniana University in Rome.

Michael Chege is currently an Advisor to the Government of Kenya on International Development Partnerships. He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Research and Resource Forum (ARRF), an independent, non-profit, research, resource, reflection and discourse organization devoted to enhancing thinking on African development.  Prof. Chege’s publications include Democratic Theory and Practice in Africa (1988) and several chapters in peer reviewed books as well as articles in international refereed journals.

Michel Thill was RVI Programme Manager for the Great Lakes from 2012–2016. Based in the Eastern Congo and the UK, he is currently a Doctoral Research Fellow with the Conflict Research Group at Ghent University.

Mohamed Osman is Head of Grants at the Elton John Aids Foundation. A former RVI Project Officer, he has an MSc from the London School of Economics in Social Policy and Planning with a focus on developing countries and complex emergencies. Mohamed Osman became a UK trustee in 2009.

Munzoul Assal is Associate Professor of Social Anthropology and Director of Graduate Affairs Administration at the University of Khartoum. He is the Chairman of the Sudan Chapter of the Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA). His research focuses on refugees, migration, IDPs and development, with a geographical focus on Darfur, Khartoum, eastern Sudan and Norway. He is the author of Beyond Labelling: Somalis and Sudanese in Norway and the challenge of homemaking (2003), and co-editor of Diasporas Within and Without Africa: Dynamism, heterogeneity, variation (2006).

Nada Mustafa Ali is a scholar activist and researcher with extensive experience in human rights, gender and politics in the Sudans and is the author of numerous publications on the Sudans and elsewhere. She is the author of Gender, Race, and Sudan's Exile Politics: Do we all belong to this country? (Lexington Books, 2015). Nada teaches in the Women's and Gender Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She received her PhD in government from the University of Manchester.

Nimo-ilhan Ali is a post-doctoral research associate at the Development Studies Department, SOAS University of London. Her research focuses on youth issues in Somaliland/Somalia in particular their access to higher education and post-graduation employment. Nimo has also been researching Somali youth migration and displacement in particular the phenomenon of  ‘tahriib’. She has taught at SOAS Economic Department and has also worked as a consultant for UN FAO/FSNAU, UNICEF, the Rift Valley Institute, the Danish Demining Group, the Heritage Institute for Policy Studies and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development. She has also worked as a technical advisor on the 2013 national employment strategy for the Somaliland Ministry of National Planning and Development. Nimo is the author of Going on Tahriib: The causes and consequences of Somali youth migration to Europe (RVI, 2016).

Nisar Majid is a specialist on food security and livelihoods analysis. He worked for the Food Security Assessment Unit in Somalia and has participated in evaluations for several international aid organisations and NGOs, as an independent consultant and with the Overseas Development Institute. He is author of The Changing Face of Food Security in Somalia (2003) and The Livelihoods Gap: Responding to the economic dynamics of vulnerability in Somalia (2002).

Nuruddin Farah is a Somali writer. He is a winner of the Neustadt International Prize for literature and the Lettre Ulysses Award and has been nominated several times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. His novels include two trilogies, Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship (1980) and Blood in the Sun (1986). His most recent novel, Crossbones, was published in 2011. He has taught at a number of institutions of learning including the University of Minnesota, Brown University and Bard College in the US, and Jos University in Nigeria.

Peter Adwok Nyaba was Minister for Higher Education in the Government of South Sudan 2011-2013. He is a civil society activist, researcher and has carried out several studies for international humanitarian agencies operating in Southern Sudan. In 1997, he published a Noma Award winning book The Politics of Liberation in South Sudan: An Insider’s View (1996).

Peter Fry carried out research for his PhD in pre-independence Zimbabwe on religion and politics (Spirits of Protest, CUP, 1979). From 1989 to 1993 he represented the Ford Foundation in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. This  led to his writing extensively on race, culture and politics in Lusophone and Anglophone countries of Africa and the Americas.  He is now Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Philip Winter was the representative for Independent Diplomat in Juba, South Sudan from 2010 to 2014. He was a Senior Advisor in MONUC 2008–10 and Chief of Staff for the Facilitator of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue 2000–03. He worked as Field Director for Save the Children UK in the DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and Southern Sudan, and, earlier, as Manager of the Juba Boatyard (1976–81). He was Co-Director of the 2004 Rift Valley Institute Sudan Course and Director of the 2010 Great Lakes Course. He is the author of A Sacred Cause: The Inter-Congolese Dialogue 2000-2003. He was Acting Executive Director of the RVI from September 2015 to June 2016.

Rashid Abdi is a Senior Horn of Africa Analyst with the International Crisis Group specializing on security issues in the Horn. He previously served as a senior editor with the BBC Monitoring Service and Kenya’s Daily Nation. Some of his recent writings can be read on Crisis Group’s In Pursuit of Peace Blog. Rashid holds a Masters in Mass Communication from the University of Nairobi and a doctorate in Comparative Religion and Philosophy.

Hamish Tristram is Company Secretary of the Rift Valley Institute. He is a lawyer and academic with interests in comparative law and development. He worked as an investment banker before taking the post of co-ordinator of the postgraduate legal studies programme at the University of London, from which he has recently retired.

Richard Rottenburg is Chair of Anthropology at the Department of Anthropology and Philosophy at the University of Halle (Germany). His publications include Rethinking Biomedicine and Governance in Africa; Contributions from Anthropology (2012) edited together with Wenzel Geissler & Julia Zenker; Identity Politics and the New Genetics: re/creating categories of difference and belonging (2012) edited together with Katharina Schramm & David Skinner; Far-Fetched Facts: A Parable of Development Aid (2009) and Ndemwareng: Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft in den Morobergen (1991).

Sir Robert ffolkes was with Save the Children Fund from 1974 - 2003.

Roger Middleton is Senior Program Manager for Conflict Dynamics International's Somali program - working on governance and conflict resolution issues. Previously he was Policy and Advocacy Lead for Somalia at Oxfam Novib, based in Nairobi. He was formerly a consultant researcher at Chatham House. He is author of a number of papers covering politics in the Horn of Africa and EU-Africa relations.

Rosalind Marsden is the EU Special Representative for Sudan and South Sudan. She had a long career in the British diplomatic service, including postings as British Ambassador to Sudan, Consul-General in Basra and British Ambassador to Afghanistan.  She has also served as Head of the United Nations Department and Director (Asia-Pacific) in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.

Sada Mire is the Director-General of the Department of Antiquities in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Somaliland. Her main interests are archaeological and anthropological research, cultural heritage policy and management, and post-conflict reconstruction of cultural resources. She serves on the editorial board of Heritage Management, and is the Somali representative of the World Archaeological Congress. She is the founding editor of the websites Somali Heritage and Archaeology, www.somaliheritage.org, and African Heritage and Archaeology - www.ucl.ac.uk/archaeology/aha.

Sally Healy is an independent consultant. She was formerly Associate Fellow of the Africa Programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House and a specialist in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She continues to work on the region as an independent consultant focussing on the analysis of regional peace and security. She convened the Horn of Africa Group at Chatham House and wrote the Group's report Lost Opportunities in the Hom of Africa: How Conflicts Connect and Peace Agreements Unravel (2008).

Sarah Olney was an Executive Board member of the Rift Valley Institute 2001-2008. She works for the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Sharath Srinivasan is David and Elaine Potter Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies and Director of the Centre of Governance and Human Rights at Cambridge University. He is also a Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge. He has researched the domestic and international politics of Sudan and South Sudan for over a decade, and his publications include ‘Negotiating Violence: Sudan’s Peacemakers and the War in Darfur’ (African Affairs, 2014). He also researches the impact of digital communication technologies on political change in Africa and co-founded the social research charity, Africa’s Voices Foundation (www.africasvoices.org).

Suliman Baldo is a specialist in conflict resolution, emergency relief, development and human rights in Africa and international advocacy. He has worked extensively in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the Sudan. He spent seven years at Human Rights Watch as a senior researcher in the Africa division and was subsequently Director of the Africa Program at the International Crisis Group and at the International Center for Transitional Justice. He is Executive Director of the Sudan Democracy First Group.

Susan D. Page is Deputy Special Representative for Rule of Law in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Prior to her appointment, Ambassador Page was the US Chargé d'Affaires to the African Union and served as the Senior Advisor in the Office of the US Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan. Previously, Susan was America's first Ambassador to South Sudan. She was Legal Adviser to the IGAD Secretariat for Peace in Sudan that mediated the peace process which resulted in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

Terrence Lyons is Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution at George Mason University; his research has focused on the relationships between protracted civil wars ard processes of political development and sustainable peace, with a focus on Africa. He has taught on the RVI Horn of Africa course since 2008. Among his publications are Demilitarizing Politics: Elections on the uncertain road to peace (2005) and Voting for Peace: postconflict elections in Liberia (1993).

Tobias Hagmann is Associate Professor of International Development at Roskilde University, Denmark and a research associate with the Political Geography Chair at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He specializes in the study of local and state politics in Ethiopia and the Somali territories, in particular processes of state formation, armed conflict and natural resource management. He co-edited Reconfiguring Ethiopia: The Politics of Authoritarian Reform (2013), Contested Power in Ethiopia: Traditional Authorities and Multi-Party Elections (2011) and Negotiating Statehood: Dynamics of Power and Domination in Africa (2011). His current research project focuses on the nexus between everyday economic activities and state formation in the Somali territories.

Toby Fenwick-Wilson is an explorer and photographer. Formerly an expert guide for Abercrombie and Kent and field coordinator for the Rift Valley Institute in Southern Sudan, he has also worked in the Himalayas and China.

Ushari Mahmud is a scholar, human rights activist and author. He has worked for the past 15 years to document and protest human rights abuses in Sudan. He is an advocate for the rights of internally displaced populations and of children affected by armed conflict in Sudan. He previously worked with UNICEF in the field of child protection.

Wendy James is Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford. Her books include The Ceremonial Animal: A new portrait of anthropology (2004) and War and Survival in Sudan’s Frontierlands: Voices from the Blue Nile (2007). She has acted as a consultant for UNHCR and other humanitarian bodies, in Southern Sudan and in Ethiopia, and is Vice-President of the British Institute in Eastern Africa.

Willy Nindorera worked as an analyst at the International Crisis Group based in Bujumbura, Burundi and as a researcher for Clingendael, the Centre d’Alerte et de Pévention des Conflits and the North-South Institute. He has conducted a series of studies and published articles mainly on the peace process and security sector reform in Burundi.

Yolande Bouka is an independent scholar-practitioner working on politics, dynamics of war, and gender and security in Sub-Saharan Africa. She is Co-Director of Studies of the RVI Great Lakes Course and the Research Team Leader in RVI's Women in Politics in Kenya research project. Between 2014 and 2016 she was a researcher for the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in the Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis Division, focusing on the Great Lakes Region. She has published numerous reports and articles on politics and security in Burundi and Rwanda. In the course of her research, she has also conducted extensive fieldwork in conflict-affected countries, including Burundi, Kenya, Namibia, and Rwanda. She holds a PhD in International Relations from the School of International Studies at American University.