Alex de Waal is the Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation. Considered one of the foremost experts on Sudan and the Horn of Africa, his scholarly work and practice has also probed humanitarian crisis and response, human rights, HIV/AIDS and governance in Africa, and conflict and peace-building. His latest book is The Real Politics of the Horn of Africa (Polity Press, 2015).

In 1988, he received a D.Phil. in social anthropology at Nuffield College, Oxford for his thesis on the 1984-5 Darfur famine in Sudan. The next year he joined the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, only to resign in December 1992 in protest for HRW's support for the American military involvement in Somalia. He was the first chairman of the Mines Advisory Group at the beginning of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. He set up two independent human rights organizations, African Rights (1993) and Justice Africa (1999), focusing respectively on documenting human rights abuses and developing policies to respond to human rights crises, notably in Rwanda, Somalia and Sudan. From 1997 to 2001, he focused on avenues to peaceful resolution of the second Sudanese Civil War. In 2001, he returned to his work on health in Africa, writing on the intersection of HIV/AIDS, poverty and governance, and initiated the Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa.

Following a fellowship with the Global Equity Initiative at Harvard (2004-06), he worked with the Social Science Research Council as Director of the program on HIV/AIDS and Social Transformation, and led projects on conflict and humanitarian crises in Africa (2006-09). During 2005-06, de Waal was seconded to the African Union mediation team for Darfur and from 2009-11 served as senior adviser to the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan. He was on the list of Foreign Policy’s 100 most influential public intellectuals in 2008 and Atlantic Monthly’s 27 “brave thinkers” in 2009.

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Publications by Alex de Waal

(617) 627-2239

Bridget Conley is the Research Director of the World Peace Foundation and Assistant Research Professor at The Fletcher School. At WPF, she is the lead researcher on the Mass Atrocities  program, and editor of How Mass Atrocities End: Studies from Guatemala, Burundi, Indonesia, the Sudans, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Iraq (Cambridge University Press 2016). She has published on issues related to the 1992 – 1995 war in Bosnia, mass atrocities and genocide, and how museums can engage on human rights issues. She previously worked as Research Director for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience, where she led the Museum’s research and projects on contemporary threats of genocide, including curating an exhibition, From Memory to Action: Meeting the Challenge of Genocide Today. She received a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Binghamton University in 2001.

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Publications by Bridget Conley

(617) 627-2243

Dr. Samuel Perlo-Freeman is a Fellow at the World Peace Foundation, and Project Manager for the WPF project on Global Arms Business and Corruption. He was previously Senior Researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). From 2007 to 2016 Sam worked at SIPRI on issues of military expenditure, arms industry and arms trade, and in particular was head of the SIPRI Military Expenditure project from 2009 to 2016. In this capacity, he recently completed a project to extend SIPRI’s unique military expenditure database backwards in time from 1988 to the 1950s. He is a regular contributor to the SIPRI Yearbook and presents regularly on issues of arms and military expenditure at conferences and workshops worldwide. Previously he was a Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of the West of England, working mostly in the field of defence and peace economics. He holds PhDs in Mathematics and Economics, and is the author of numerous publications on defence and peace economics, development economics, arms industry and trade, and mathematics.

Lisa Avery is Associate Director of the World Peace Foundation. Lisa was previously employed as Administrative Specialist, Purchaser and Executive Assistant at Good Earth Teas in Santa Cruz, California, and graduated from Framingham State University as a Liberal Arts major.   She is currently enrolled at Northeastern University where she is pursing a Master's Degree in Nonprofit Management.

(617) 627-2255


Headshot Aditya SarkarAditya Sarkar is Researcher with the World Peace Foundation. He received a MALD degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (2016) where he studied human security, migration and issues of gender in conflict. He studied law at the National Law School of India University in Bangalore, India and is qualified as a lawyer in India as well as a solicitor in England and Wales. He previously worked as a lawyer with Linklaters LLP in London and as a researcher with the Ministry of Commerce in India. At Linklaters, he was part of the International Development Practice which advises governments, NGOs and private sector companies on issues of governance and accountability. His current research looks at political mobilisation and rights-claiming among refugees and migrant labour.

(617) 627-2255

Research Assistant 2016-2017:

Headshot Allyson HawkinsAllyson Hawkins is a graduate student at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where she is pursuing a master's in Human Security and Gender in the Middle East. Prior to Fletcher, Allyson spent two years in Tunisia teaching English with AMIDEAST, learning Arabic at the Bourguiba Institute for Modern Languages, and traveling. She also worked for Layalina Productions, Inc., a DC based nonprofit that produces award winning films and television series that aim to bridge the divide between the Arab world and the United States. At Layalina, Allyson served as Coordinating Producer and Production Supervisor for "Yemeniettes," a documentary that follows a team of teenage girls as they strive to break barriers of traditional Yemeni society through entrepreneurship. She spent the past summer in Jordan learning more about the issues facing urban Iraqi and Syrian refugees in Amman through working with the Collateral Repair Project. Allyson is originally from New Hampshire, and holds a BA in Government from Smith College in 2011.

Xiaodon Liang headshotXiaodon Liang is a Research Assistant at the World Peace Foundation for the Global Arms Trade and Corruption project and a PhD student at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He previously worked at the National Bureau of Asian Research and Dealogic, an analytics firm. He holds a master's degree from The Fletcher School and an undergraduate degree from the London School of Economics.

Past Research Assistants:

2015 - 2016
Saskia Brechenmacher
Aditya Sarkar

Clint Shoemake
Lauren Spink

Roxanne Krystalli
Lauren Kitz

Mario Patino
Jennifer Keene