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Governance and Fellows

Governance and Fellows

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

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.

Ahmed Esa

Dr Ahmed Hussein Esa is trained as biomedical scientist. He was an assistant professor at John Hopkins School of Medicine, and served on the International Advisory Board of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch.

Alan Lamb

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

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.

Alfred Lokuji

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.

Ali Hersi
RVI Trustee

Ali Hersi has over fifteen years experience working in Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Somalia with national and international development organizations. He was Regional Director with the Society for International Development in Kenya between 2011 and 2018 and is currently Somalia Country Director with Saferworld. He joined RVI's Board of Trustees in January 2018.

Aly Verjee

Aly Verjee is a political analyst and RVI Senior Researcher, author of numerous RVI reports and research papers.

Andy Carl

Andy Carl is an independent consultant with a career of leadership in the NGO sector. He helped establish International Alert in 1989 and in 1994, he co-founded Conciliation Resources where he was Executive Director for twenty-two years.

Ann Grant

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.

Asnake Kefale

Asnake Kefale is Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Addis Ababa University. He holds a PhD from Leiden University. His specialist interests are governance and federalism.

Atta el-Battahani

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.

Bahru Zewde

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).

Ben Parker

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

Catherine Newbury

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

Cedric is Senior Principal Research Analyst and Head of the Africa Research Group at the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

Cherry Leonardi

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.

Chris Maynard
RVI Trustee & Treasurer

Chris was the RVI Finance Director from July 2016 to February 2017 and a Trustee since February 2017.

Christopher Clapham

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.

Christopher Kidner

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.

Comfort Ero
RVI Trustee

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.

Conradin Perner

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 Large

Daniel (Dan) Large is an Associate Professor at Central European University, Vienna.

David Keen

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

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.

Deborah Manzolillo Nightingale

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

Dereje Feyissa

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.

Diane de Guzman

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.

Douglas H. Johnson

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.

Edward Thomas

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.

Eisei Kurimoto

Eisei Kurimoto is Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate School of Human Sciences, Osaka University, and Vice President of the same University in charge of student affairs. He is also current President of the Japan Association for African Studies (2020-2022).

Elizabeth Hodgkin

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

Emily Paddon Rhoads is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Swarthmore College. Her research focuses on civilian agency and protection in armed conflict; humanitarianism and peacekeeping; and international normative theory. She is the author of Taking Sides in Peacekeeping: Impartiality and the Future of the United Nations (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Eric Reeves

Eric Reeves has written extensively about the Sudans—particularly Darfur—in three books and scores of academic and news media articles. He is founder and co-chair of a project in Zamzam IDP camp (North Darfur) focusing on the acute needs of girls and women who have been victims of sexual violence.

Fergus Boyle

Fergus Boyle 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 over a period of twenty years and is author of Under Shading Trees and Chum - A Memoir.

Fergus Nicoll

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.

Fiona O'Reilly
Francis M. Mburu
Freddie Carver

Freddie Carver is a researcher and analyst based in Addis Ababa. He has worked on South Sudan since 2003, including with Operation Lifeline Sudan between 2003 and 2005, and as DFID's governance and conflict advisor from 2008.

Gaim Kibreab

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.

Gavin Olney
Gérard Prunier

Gérard Prunier is a historian of Eastern and Central Africa and former Director of the French Centre for Ethiopian Studies in Addis Ababa.

Godefroid Muzalia

Dr Godefroid Muzalia is a Professor at the Department of History-Social Sciences at the Institut Supérieur Pédagogique (ISP) in Bukavu and Director of the Groupe d’Etudes sur les Conflits et la Sécurité Humaine (GEC-SH). As Director of GEC-SH, Godefroid has worked with RVI on the Usalama and Research Collaboration projects in the DRC.

Guma Kunda Komey

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.

Haile Menkerios

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.

Hala Al Karib
RVI Trustee

Hala Al Karib is the Regional Director of the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA). Born and raised in Sudan and later Canada, she currently lives in Uganda.

Helen Epstein

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.

Hussein Abdullahi Mahmoud

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.

Isabel Fonseca

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

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

Jacob Akol is a veteran Sudanese journalist and director of the Gurtong Trust ( 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).

Jama Musse Jama

Dr Jama Musse Jama is an ethno-mathematician. He holds a PhD in African Studies specialising in Computational Linguistics of African Languages and has authored several books, including on traditional African games and education. A cultural activist, Jama is the founder of Hargeysa Cultural Centre, a long-term partner of RVI, and the annual Hargeysa International Book Fair.

Jason Stearns

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.

Jean Omasombo Tshonda

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.

Jean-Francois Darcq

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

Jean-Paul Kimonyo

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

Jérôme Tubiana is a researcher specializing in conflicts and migration across the Sahara and Horn of Africa contexts.

Jillian Luff

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

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.

John Ashworth

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

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.

John Olander

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

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.

John Ryle

John Ryle is co-founder and former Executive Director of the Rift Valley Institute and Legrand Ramsey Professor of Anthropology at Bard College, NY.

Jok Madut Jok

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

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 Gardner

Judith Gardner is a specialist in gendered, qualitative research in violent conflict-affected contexts. She has worked for over twenty years as a development practitioner in Africa and Yemen. She was the lead research and author of the RVI study on the Impact of War on Somali Men, and co-authored the book Somalia, The Untold Story: the war through the eyes of Somali women.

Judith Verweijen

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

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.

Kenneth Anderson

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.

Kenneth Menkhaus

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.

Khalif Abdirahman

Khalif Abdirahman is a Senior Field Researcher on the LSE Conflict Research Programme, Somalia.

Kjetil Tronvoll

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.

Koen Vlassenroot

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.

Kuyang Harriet Logo

Kuyang Harriet Logo is a PhD Fellow at the Institute for Peace, Development and Security Studies, University of Juba, where she also teaches graduate courses in International law and International Human Rights Law. She has a law degree from Makerere University in Uganda and a Masters in Democratic Governance and the Rule of Law from Ohio Northern University in the USA.

Kwame Anthony Appiah

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). 

Laura Hammond

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.

Laura James

Laura M. James is Senior Middle East analyst at Oxford Analytica, a global political risk advisory firm. She was previously an affiliated lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge, an expert working with the African Union High Level Implementation Panel and Senior Economic Adviser with DFID Sudan.

Lealem Mersha

Lealem Mersha is a research consultant based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Leben Nelson Moro
RVI Trustee

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.

Lee Cassanelli

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.

Leif Ole Manger

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.

Lindsay Nash

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

Lindsey Hilsum

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.

Lucy Hannan

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.

Luka Biong Deng

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.

Luke Patey

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.

Magdeldin Elgizouli

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

Maggie Ray

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

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.

Malte Sommerlatte
Marco Jowell

Dr Marco Jowell is a Research Analyst with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK Government. He was the Director of RVI's UNICEF Uganda Course in 2018 and the Co-Director of Studies of RVI’s Great Lakes Field Course in 2019 and 2020.

Margie Buchanan-Smith
RVI Trustee

Margie Buchanan-Smith is a freelance consultant with over thirty-years working experience in Sudan, particularly in Darfur, South Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia undertaking policy research on livelihoods, food security and humanitarian aid.

Mark Duffield

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.

Markus Hoehne

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.

Mary Harper
RVI Trustee

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.

Mathew Pagan

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

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.

Michel Thill

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

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 was an RVI trustee from 2009–2018.

Munzoul Assal

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).

Murithi Matiga

Murithi Matiga is the International Crisis Group's Project Director for the Horn of Africa. A former journalist, Murithi covered East Africa in the Guardian and served as a Contributing Op-Ed Writer to the International New York Times. He has been an editor and columnist with the Kenyan Sunday Nation.

Nada Mustafa Ali

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).

Nicki Kindersley

Nicki Kindersley holds a PhD in History from the University of Durham, and was a research associate in the History and Politics Faculties at the University of Cambridge. She currently teaches at the University of Cardiff. She specialises in the history of migration, political economy and armed labour in South Sudan and its borderlands.

Nimo-ilhan Ali

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’.

Nisar Majid

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.

Nuruddin Farah

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).

Peter Adwok Nyaba

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

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.

Philip Enever Winter

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).

Rashid Abdi

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.

Richard Hamish Tristram

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

Richard Rottenburg is Professor of Science and Technology Studies at WiSER, Wits University, Johannesburg (South Africa).

Robert ffolkes

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

Roger Middleton

Rosalind Marsden

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

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.

Sally Healy

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.

Sharath Srinivasan

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.

Suliman Baldo

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.

Susan D. Page

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.

Terrence Lyons

Terrence Lyons is 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.

Tobias Hagmann


Tobias Hagmann is a Senior Program Officer at swisspeace in Basel, Switzerland and a Fellow with Somali Public Agenda. He has worked as an academic, research consultant and team leader on various basic and applied projects focusing on state formation, armed conflict and natural resource management in the Horn of Africa.

Toby Fenwick-Wilson

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.

Tom Odhiambo

Tom Odhiambo is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Literature at the University of Nairobi. He holds a PhD from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, where he was also a Research Fellow between 2003 and 2007. His numerous publications reflect his interests in Kenyan Popular Culture and Fiction; Masculinity and the Family in Kenya; Gender and Sexuality in Urban Kenya.

Tymon Kiepe

Tymon Kiepe is Policy and Research Manager at Open Ownership, an organisation dedicated to increasing transparency over who owns and controls companies across the world. Between 2012 and 2018, Tymon worked with RVI contributing to many aspects of the Institute's development, in particular RVI's information management systems and publications outputs.

Ulf Terlinden

Ulf Terlinden is the Director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation Horn of Africa Unit in Nairobi, Kenya. A political scientist specialising in governance and conflict, he has worked in the Horn of Africa and East Africa for over twenty years, including with the European Union and Interpeace.


Ushari Ahmad Mahmud

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

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).

Willy Nindorera

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.