Details

When

May 20, 2019
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Where

National Press Club
529 14th St NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20045 (Map)

The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to host a half-day conference on the evolving internal dynamics in the Horn of Africa region, and the ways in which these countries are affecting and being affected by events and conflicts in the broader Middle East. Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia face a myriad of security and development challenges, including instability in and migration from neighboring Middle Eastern countries. Meanwhile, the Horn of Africa region is emerging as a new battleground for competition among rising global powers in the Middle East and East Asia.

This conference will bring together experts and practitioners focusing on this complex region to explore prospects for productive U.S. engagement in the Horn of Africa, ways in which to promote human rights and the rule of law in these countries, and avenues to establish a coherent regional dialogue while balancing the Horn of Africa’s engagement with the outside world.

Additional speakers to be announced. Please check this page for updates.

Agenda:

1:00-2:15 | Panel I: Humanitarian and Security Challenges in Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia
Yoseph Badwaza
Senior program officer, Africa, Freedom House
Bronwyn Bruton
Director of programs and studies and Deputy Director, Africa Center, Atlantic Council 
Ambassador Makila James
Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Africa and the Sudans, U.S. Department of State
Susan Stigant
Director, Africa, United States Institute of Peace
Salem Solomon (moderator)
Correspondent, VOA News

2:15-2:45 | Coffee Break

2:45-4:00 | Panel II: Key Regional Players and Competition in the Horn of Africa
Elana DeLozier
Research fellow,Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP)
Yasmine Farouk 
Visiting scholar, The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Gonul Tol 
Director, center for Turkish studies, MEI
Michael Woldemariam 
Assistant professor of international relations and political science, Boston University

4:00 | Closing

Speaker Biographies:

Yoseph Badwaza
Senior program officer, Africa, Freedom House
Yoseph Mulugeta Badwaza is the senior program officer for Ethiopia at Freedom House. Prior to joining Freedom House, he was secretary general of Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO), Ethiopia’s foremost human rights organization. EHRCO was most known for its monitoring and reporting on human rights violations including extrajudicial killings, torture and illegal detentions perpetrated by government security forces throughout Ethiopia. Due to its critical reporting, EHRCO has been the target of government attacks since its establishment in 1991. When the government adopted the draconian Charities and Societies Proclamation in 2009 these attacks became more systematic and persistent causing Badwaza and other prominent Ethiopian activists to flee the country. As Badwaza relocated to the United States, he continues to be a leading voice for human rights protection and good governance in Ethiopia through advocacy, policy and research. In 2010, he won Human Rights Watch’s Alison Des Forges Award for extraordinary activism.

Bronwyn Bruton
Director of programs and studies and Deputy Director, Africa Center, Atlantic Council
Bronwyn Bruton is director of programs and studies and deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa center. She has authored a series of reports, journal essays, and special reports on the Horn of Africa. Her articles and editorials are regularly featured in prominent publications and she provides regular expert commentary on African political affairs for major international media outlets. Bruton held international affairs fellowships at the Council on Foreign Relations and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Prior to her fellowships, she managed the National Endowment for Democracy’s multi-million dollar portfolio of small grants and managed post-conflict political transition programs in Africa for the United States Agency for International Development.

Elana DeLozier
Research fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP)
Elana DeLozier is a research fellow in the Bernstein program on Gulf and energy policy at WINEP, where she specializes in nuclear weapons and proliferation, counterterrorism, and Gulf politics, particularly in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. She has spent seven years in the Middle East in both the Levant and the Gulf, where she worked as a political analyst and spearheaded training programs for new analysts. She has taught graduate courses on nuclear proliferation, Gulf politics, and counterterrorism at New York University in New York City and at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi. From 2006-2010, she served as the right hand to the commissioner of the NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau as well as an intelligence analyst on nuclear issues and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. She started her career at the Brookings Institution.

Yasmine Farouk
Visiting scholar, The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Yasmine Farouk is a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Her previous research and publications cover Egyptian and Saudi foreign policies, international relations in the Arab world, and social participation in policy and constitution making. Prior to joining Carnegie, Farouk was based in Egypt where she taught political science. She previously worked at the office of the Egyptian prime minister after the 2011 revolution supporting civil society participation in the national dialogue and constitution making processes. From 2016 to 2017, she was the director of research at Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding, a think tank and training center affiliated with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Farouk was a fellow of the French Ministry of Defense, Stanford University, the American University in Cairo (AUC Forum), and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She was also a consultant for the UNDP working on the Arab Human Development Report. At Carnegie, Farouk’s research focuses on Saudi Arabia and regional foreign relations.

Ambassador Makila James
Deputy assistant secretary for East Africa and the Sudans, U.S. Department of State
Makila James is an American diplomat who has been a career Foreign Service Officer within the U.S. State Department. James has served as deputy assistant secretary for East Africa and the Sudanese since September 17, 2018. Prior to taking up these responsibilities, she was on the faculty of the National War College and served as the director of the international student management office at the National Defense University (2016-2018).  Beginning in 1988, she has had a series of postings and roles related to the Caribbean and Africa, leading to her being the director of the office of Caribbean affairs from 2009 to 2012. She then served as the United States Ambassador to Swaziland from 2012 to 2016. James has also held a variety of positions in Washington and overseas, including her role as the deputy director of the office of southern African affairs (2007-2009), and principal officer of the Consulate General in Juba, Southern Sudan (2006-2007).

Susan Stigant
Director, Africa, United States Institute of Peace
Susan Stigant is the director of Africa programs at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) where she oversees programming in South Sudan, Nigeria, Sudan, CAR, DRC, Tanzania and Kenya and with the African Union. Stigants’s thematic focus is on the design and implementation of inclusive constitutional reform and national dialogue processes. She has and continues to advise government officials and civil society actors on inclusive processes in Sudan, South Sudan, Libya, Somalia and elsewhere. Susan also serves as co-chair of USIP's national dialogue working group. Prior to joining USIP, she managed constitutional development, citizen engagement and election observation programs with the National Democratic Institute (NDI). From 2005-2011, she served as program director with NDI in South Sudan, where she supported the implementation of the peace agreement.  She also worked with the Forum of Federations on comparative federalism and with the research unit of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament in South Africa.

Salem Solomon
Correspondent, VOA News
Salem Solomon is a multimedia digital journalist with the Voice of America’s Africa Division. She covers the latest news from across the continent, and she also reports and edits in Amharic and Tigrigna. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Poynter.org and Reuters. She researches trends in analytics and digital journalism.

Gonul Tol
Director, center for Turkish studies, MEI
Gönül Tol is the founding director of MEI’s center for Turkish studies. She is also an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Institute for Middle East Studies. After three years of field research in Germany and the Netherlands, she wrote her dissertation on the radicalization of the Turkish Islamist movement Milli Gorus in Western Europe. She was also an adjunct professor at the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University. She has taught courses on Islamist movements in Western Europe, Turkey, world politics, and the Middle East. She has written extensively on Turkey-U.S. relations, Turkish domestic politics, and foreign policy and the Kurdish issue. She is a frequent media commentator.

Michael Woldemariam
Assistant professor of international relations and political science, Boston University
Michael Woldemariam’s teaching and research interests focus on African politics, particularly the dynamics of armed conflict, the behavior of rebel organizations and self-determination movements, and post-conflict institution building. He has special expertise on the Horn of Africa region, where he has traveled extensively and conducted fieldwork. His first book, Insurgent Fragmentation in the Horn of Africa: Rebellion and its Discontents, was released by Cambridge University Press in 2018. It examines the causes and dynamics of rebel fragmentation in contemporary civil wars through a close examination of the Ethiopian and Somali conflicts. Research on this topic and others has been published (or is forthcoming) in Terrorism and Political Violence, the Journal of Strategic Studies, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, Journal of Eastern African Studies, and a number of edited volumes. Woldemariam has been a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Bradley Foundation, the Truman National Security Project, and a research specialist with the Innovations for Successful Societies program at Princeton University. In addition to his scholarly work, Woldemariam has consulted with a variety of international organization’s on peace and security issues in the Greater Horn of Africa region.

 

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