Christopher Williams

  • BA, Boston College
  • MA, Georgetown University
  • PhD (candidate), Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy


Christopher Williams is a doctoral candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He is also a visiting lecturer and researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he teaches classes on South African foreign policy and international politics. His research interests include foreign policy decision-making and the foreign and security policies of African states. His dissertation examines South African peacemaking in Africa during the Nelson Mandela Administration, with a particular focus on how South Africa’s own negotiated transition impacted its later conflict resolution efforts. With support from Harvard’s Program on Negotiation and the Fletcher School, Chris has conducted extensive archival research throughout South Africa.

Awards, Fellowships, and Grants
  • Program on Negotiation, Next Generation Grant, Harvard Law School (2014)
  • Fletcher Summer Fund Research Grant (2014 and 2015)
  • Scaife Foundation Award (2014 and 2015)
  • Fletcher PhD Scholarship (2012-2013, 2013-2014)

Terror Threats and Turmoil: A Bad Time for US-South African Relations
“Behind South Africa’s Reluctance to Champion Gay Rights on the Continent,” The Conversation (July 10, 2015)
“Behind the Public Spat between South Africa’s Government Ministers,” The Conversation (August 2, 2015).
“Why Mbeki’s contested articles have a role to play in South Africa’s history” The Conversation (February 9, 2016)
• Reviewed Work: The Crisis of South African Foreign Policy: Diplomacy, Leadership and the Role of the African National Congress by Matthew Graham, South African Journal of International Affairs (forthcoming)

Conference and Discussion Papers
  • Foreign Policy from the Inside Out: Understanding the Influence of South Africa’s Transition on the Mandela Administration’s Conflict Resolution Strategies in Africa.

Additional Information

Peer-Reviewed Publications “Peacemaking from the Inside Out: How South Africa’s Negotiated Transition Influenced the Mandela Administration’s Regional Conflict Resolution Strategies.” South African Journal of International Affairs 22, no. 3 (2015): 359-380. At:

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