Richard Dowden is Director of the Royal African Society. His critically acclaimed book Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles is published by Portobello.
Richard first went to Africa in 1971 as a volunteer teacher. He spent nearly two years in Uganda – years that coincided with the first two years of Idi Amin’s rule. Richard says:
‘It was an ominous introduction to Africa but I loved it. Had I not been forced to leave at the end of 1972 I would probably be there still.’
He did not return to Africa until 1983 and in the meantime became a journalist. For the next 20 years Richard travelled to Africa continuously and has visited and written about almost every country on the continent.
From his base in London, Richard’s trips to Africa have sometimes taken himto a single country for a few days and sometimes on extended journeys through several countries. Richard worked for the Times until 1986 when he became Africa Editor of the Independent and in 1995 took the post of Africa Editor at The Economist. He also made three television documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4 on Africa.
Alex de Waal is Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation, and a research professor at the Fletcher School, Tufts University. Formerly he was program director at the Social Science Research Council, fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, director of Justice Africa, and also acted as regional advisor (on the Horn of Africa) to SSRC’s Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum. He has served as senior advisor to the African Union on Sudan.
Alex received a DPhil from Oxford in 1988, has published eleven books, has been listed as one of the “100 top public intellectuals” by Prospect and “27 brave thinkers” by Atlantic Monthly. He has published two books in the African Arguments series – Darfur: A New History of a Long War (with Julie Flint), and AIDS and Power: Why There is No Political Crisis—Yet.
Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem (1962-2009) was a co-founder of the African Arguments series. He was the most prominent pan-Africanist of his generation, serving as General Secretary of the Pan African Movement and later as director of Justice Africa. His “Thursday Postcards” provided some of the most vibrant and independent commentary on African current affairs. Tajudeen’s commitment to frank and vigorous debate on all aspects of African political life remains an inspiration for the series.