PPRI Meets Alex de Waal

by tuftsigl
Feb 27

Adrienne Larson (A16) is a sophomore in the Poverty and Power Research Initiative


A number of PPRI students recently met with Professor Alex de Waal, a Fletcher professor and executive director at the World Peace Foundation. De Waal’s expertise is in the Horn of Africa, foreign military aid and intervention, and human rights. Professor De Waal took an active role in the reconciliation process in the aftermath of the Sudanese civil war, serving as a senior advisor to the African Union mediation team for Darfur. In addition, he has published extensively on foreign aid and foreign intervention missions in human rights crises, notably in Rwanda, Somalia, and Sudan. We spoke with him to gain new insight into our Ethiopia research papers, as he has valuable expertise of the country and regional issues.


PPRI members are currently investigating the recent political regime change in Ethiopia, the country’s electoral system, and Ethiopia’s role as a large recipient of foreign aid. Ethiopia recently welcomed a new presidential administration under Hailemariam Desalegn, preceded by former president Meles Zenawi who had ruled Ethiopia for almost seventeen years through September 2012. Professor De Waal expressed his optimism regarding the regime change, explaining that it was unlikely the administration of President Desalegn would upset the stability that former president Zenawi sustained in the country for nearly two decades. Moreover, Professor de Waal characterized Desalegn's style of leadership as more collaborative, whereas Zenawi was more authoritative and direct. De Waal also spoke of Ethiopia’s recent growth both as an economic and political leader in its region. He has traveled to Ethiopia extensively since the 1980’s and noted that infrastructure has significantly improved over the past few decades, particularly in Addis Abba. De Waal predicts that Ethiopia will continue to progress economically, and will remain a major foreign aid recipient because of the favorable international reputation of its government.


We really appreciated meeting with Professor De Waal, as his insights provided us a more informed perspective on the current state of Ethiopia. Our meeting no doubt will enhance the final insights of our research papers. 


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