Jonathan Gass

  • Trump’s Africa Surprise

    Africa has generally ranked near the bottom of US foreign policy priorities. Historically, two-term presidents have waited until their second term to establish their legacies on the continent, and many one-term presidents have neglected it altogether. US President Donald J. Trump has surprised many by bucking this trend.
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  • Will Missionary’s Death Be a Tipping Point for US Position on Cameroon Crisis?

    Charles Trumann Wesco, an American missionary from Indiana who moved to the Republic of Cameroon with his wife and eight children just two weeks ago, was killed on October 30 after being caught in cross-fire between Cameroonian security forces and separatist fighters.

    Wesco and his family were living in the suburbs of Bamenda, a large city in Cameroon’s Northwest Region that has been at the center of the country’s Anglophone crisis over the last two years.

    Wesco’s death came just one week after Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya, who has ruled the country with an autocrat’s grip since 1982, was reelected for a seventh term in an election marred by allegations of voter fraud, apathy, and, in places, outright fear.  

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  • Bello and Gass in Jeune Afrique on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement


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  • FIFA’s Own Goal: Soccer Federation Needs to Do More to Press Russia on LGBTI Rights

    From now until July 15, one million soccer fans will descend on Russia for the twenty-first Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup, 3.4 billion people will watch from virtually every country and territory on Earth, and Russia will profit from immense global attention, an economic boon, and the fame that comes from hosting the premier mega-event.

    Such reach puts a great deal of power and influence in the hands of soccer's global governing body. While FIFA has long used its influence to encourage governments to make the quadrennial tournament safer, more profitable, and more successful, its relative inaction in protecting and advancing fundamental human rights—specifically...

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  • Who are the winners and losers of Africa’s new free trade agreement?

    Last month, the leaders of forty-four African nations signed a framework agreement to form a continental free-trade zone that will encompass a billion people and up to $3 trillion of cumulative GDP. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) would be the largest free trade agreement since the founding of the World Trade Organization over twenty years ago, and seeks to create “a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments.” The agreement is an important stepping stone towards a continental customs union, pan-continental socioeconomic integration, and a more economically self-sufficient Africa.

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  • LGBT Rights at the Core of US Human Rights Agenda, says US Special Envoy Berry

    LGBTI rights sit at the very core of the United States’ human rights agenda, and diplomacy, in its many forms, “is an essential tool as we find a path towards greater inclusion,” according to Randy W. Berry, the US State Department’s first-ever Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons.

    Since the United States laid out its first-ever substantive strategy to promote the human rights of LGBT persons in a 2011 presidential memorandum, it has played a large role, along with its allies, in using public and bilateral diplomacy, as well as foreign aid, to promote and protect the rights of the global LGBTI community. However, while global change is underway, Berry admitted that “it is threatened by countervailing movements.”

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