Africa Matters is a blog that follows the news and offers analysis of African affairs. Our aim is to delve deeper into the issues of African politics and development. We don’t presume to be experts, and we don’t presume to have all the answers—we are just trying to ask the right questions.

Monday, June 11

New contributors

Some days ago, three new names appeared under the ‘Contributors’ heading just to the right of here. And you may have even noticed unfamiliar bylines turning up beneath some recent posts. Today, though, we’d like to officially welcome the three new contributors to Africa Matters. Please allow us to introduce Julia, Lawrence, and Shelby:

Shelby is a graduate of Emory University in Atlanta. She has been in Liberia for six months working with an international human rights organization. Prior to this she worked with a Nigerian human rights organization in Abuja, following activities of the Nigerian legislature. Shelby enjoys fried plantains, Liberian English, and third-hand copies of The New Yorker that occasionally find their way into her hands.

Lawrence studied African affairs at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. He spent a year living in Dakar, Senegal, and his thesis looked at whether the U.S. media’s coverage of Darfur affected foreign policy. Lawrence currently works at Burson-Marsteller, a public relations firm in Washington, DC, doing corporate responsibility consulting. In the fall, he’s off to the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in New York, where, ironically, he’ll be living in Little Senegal.

Julia graduated from Stanford University, where she focused on poverty reduction and conflict resolution in Africa. Previously, Julia has worked on a natural resource management project in Ghana; more recently, she has been working for the International Crisis Group, first in Brussels and now in Washington, DC, with occasional research trips to Africa. In her capacity with ICG she works full-time as a policy analyst for the ENOUGH project, a campaign to confront genocide and mass atrocity worldwide; their initial focus is on the conflicts in eastern Congo, northern Uganda, and Darfur.

We’re really excited to have these three new posters join us at Africa Matters—they bring with them such a wide and interesting range of experiences, and we’re looking forward to reading what they have to write. We hope that expanding the site like this will lead to more consistent content, plus we’re eager to have a more diverse set of perspectives and areas of interest represented on the blog.

... Also, while we’re introducing people, we realized we never properly introduced ourselves. So, here goes:

Derek has been living in Nairobi, Kenya, since January, working on the promotion of democracy and good governance in South Sudan. Derek is also interested in Somalia and West Africa, especially pertaining to issues of conflict, elections, and democracy at large.

Caitlin and Aaron are the co-founders of Africa Matters. Caitlin graduated from Stanford in 2006. She is interested in economic development, education, and environmental issues in Africa. Caitlin hopes to work to improve international development effectiveness through evaluation and accountability. Caitlin lives in Nairobi.

Aaron is based in Kampala, Uganda, where he works for an organization that assists conflict-affected communities around the country. Generally, Aaron is interested in U.S. policy toward Africa, particularly regarding democratization, foreign aid, conflict intervention, and the intersection of the three. He, too, is foraging for copies of The New Yorker.

So that’s who we are. We’d like to reiterate that any opinions expressed on this site are ours alone; we neither represent nor aim to advance the positions of our employers or anyone else. But we will do our best to keep an eye on the news from around Africa and to continue passing on interesting stories and thoughts of our own.

Thanks for reading.

- Aaron, Caitlin, and Derek