The Atlantic Council today announced that J. Peter Pham had been named as director of the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, where he will oversee the Council’s expanding work on African political, security and economic issues. 

“Peter has a profound understanding both of African realities and their policy implications in Washington and Europe,” said Frederick Kempe, President and CEO. “Given the dramatic changes across Africa, his intellectual energy comes to our relatively new Ansari Africa Center at just the right time.” 

“Our vision for the Ansari Center is that it not only be a think tank, but also a ‘do tank,’” said Michael Ansari, the Center’s founder and a member of the Atlantic Council’s board of directors. “I am delighted that Peter Pham not only brings distinguished scholarly credentials, but also extensive real-world experience of Africa and the issues affecting the peoples and nations of the continent.” 

The Center’s acting director, Martin Kimani, has been named director at the Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism (CEWARN), an intergovernmental effort based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and targeted at mitigating and preventing violent conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa. He will remain at the Atlantic Council as a non-resident senior fellow, further expanding the Center’s reach.

Dr. Pham comes to the Council most recently from the National Committee on American Foreign Policy in New York, where he was senior vice president. He has also served as a professor and director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University. He also edits the peer-reviewed Journal of the Middle East and Africa. Earlier in his career, he was special assistant for Africa to Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyên van Thuân, head of the Vatican office in charge of human rights and development. He also served as senior foreign policy and national security advisor with responsibility for Africa issues on Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. 

A much-published writer, including several books on conflicts in Africa, Dr. Pham authors a weekly column on African security issues, “Strategic Interests,” for World Defense Review and is a frequent contributor to The National Interest Online and He has testified before Congress on a number of occasions, and provides frequent media commentary to, among others, CBS, PBS, CNN, the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, National Public Radio, the Voice of America, the BBC, and Radio France International. His op-eds have appeared in The Wall Street Journal and other major newspapers. 

Dr. Pham has served on the Senior Advisory Group of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) since its creation. 

The Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI), the Brenthurst Foundation, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation awarded Dr. Pham the 2008 Nelson Mandela International Prize for African Security and Development for his paper on “Imagining the Congo Secure and Stable.” 

The Atlantic Council launched the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center in 2009 to provide a fresh policy view on African issues to U.S. and European officials at a time when the continent’s rapid raised new security challenges and demanded closer examination. 


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