I am an Africa security analyst based in Washington, DC focusing on dynamics of armed conflict, human security, weak/failed states, and theater security cooperation. Most recently, I’ve been a Research Analyst at CNA, although I’m away on another research assignment until the fall of 2013. Before joining CNA, I worked at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) supporting conferences and workshops designed to strengthen the U.S. relationship with the future political and military leaders of African countries and create conditions for better civil-military relations. I previously worked at the RAND Corporation, where I supported projects on counterinsurgency, security sector reform, weak/ failed states and nation-building. I have a M.A. in Security Studies from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a B.A. in International Relations from Carleton College. While at Carleton, I received the David L. Boren National Security Education Program Scholarship and the Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellowship. I am currently a PhD candidate in War Studies at Kings College London, where my dissertation focuses on the challenges inherent in South Sudan’s efforts to integrate non-statutory armed forces into the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) while simultaneously demobilizing 90,000 soldiers from the SPLA. My published work has appeared in the The Atlantic, RUSI, World Politics Review, Christian Science Monitor, Naval War College Review, and Journal of International Peace Operations.
My interest in Africa has developed from multiple sources over several years – first as a member of the African diaspora (Yay Trinidad!), then through my undergraduate research on Afro-Brazilian political mobilization and the evolution of the dialogue on race in Brazil during the 20th century, and finally through my language studies in French, Portuguese, and Arabic which contributed to my career focus on Africa. I started this blog at the urging of my family – especially my sister, who is one of my mentors and many sources of inspiration. She blogs at A Life More Ordinary.
Lesley on Africa will cover African politics and security, and occasionally, my reflections from travels on the continent. The opinions expressed in this blog are mine alone, and do not reflect the views of any organization with which I am affiliated.
You can follow me on twitter or reach me by email at lesleyonafrica [at] gmail [dot] com.