Dr. Joseph Sany joins USIP as the vice president of the newly established Africa Center. Dr. Sany has been working at the forefront of peacebuilding with civil society, governments, businesses, and international organizations in Africa for over 20 years.

In his most recent role at FHI 360, Dr. Sany provided technical leadership in the design and implementation of multi-year, multi-million-dollar peacebuilding and civil society development programs in several countries in Africa and Asia. He led the organizational and institutional capacity development strategy of many civil society organizations in Africa. He also advised the design, implementation, and dissemination of the annual USAID Civil Society Sustainability Index that assesses the civil society sector and operating environment in 75 countries, including 32 in Africa.

Prior to his work at FHI 360, Dr. Sany advised international organizations and development agencies including the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, USAID missions, and the Economic Community of Central African States on peacebuilding and development strategies. He led several peacebuilding and civil society program assessment and evaluation missions in more than 20 countries in Africa. In addition, he has worked with USIP staff to expand and establish the U.S. State Department-funded USIP/ African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program as a gold standard of civilian-led pre-deployment curriculum training on the continent. Sany has a rich experience moderating high-level, multi-stakeholder policy dialogues and collaborative actions at the national level in several countries in Africa, including Djibouti, Mali, and Senegal, among others.

Dr. Sany has researched, taught peacebuilding courses, and published scholarly articles on peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and civil society, including the book, “Reintegration of Ex-Combatants: A Balancing Act.” He currently writes about African development and politics in the blog African Praxis. He is fluent in English, French, and West African Pidgin English and holds a doctorate in public policy and a master's in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University.

Publications By Joseph

On Ukraine, Africa Needs a Clearer U.S. Message

On Ukraine, Africa Needs a Clearer U.S. Message

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

By: Heather Ashby, Ph.D.;  Joseph Sany, Ph.D.

As democracies rally to defend an international rules-based system against Russia’s brutal attack on Ukrainians, the United States should forge an alliance with African partners by committing with them now to resolve the Ukraine crisis in a way that makes that system fairer and more inclusive. One early step is for U.S. and other policymakers to highlight the core of this conflict: The 44 million Ukrainians are fighting to govern themselves freely within their internationally recognized borders — a cause that is viscerally real to billions of people across Africa and the “global south.”

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

Countering Coups: In Africa, Use Investment to Build Rule of Law

Countering Coups: In Africa, Use Investment to Build Rule of Law

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

By: Joseph Sany, Ph.D.;  Thomas P. Sheehy

Policymakers are urgently seeking ways to reverse the erosion of democracy in fragile states exemplified by the past year’s surge in military coups in and around Africa’s Sahel region. To halt this decline, it’s vital to listen to African voices urging that international partners make the most of a powerful pro-democracy tool: increased foreign investment built upon the rule of law.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceFragility & ResilienceGlobal Policy

Countering Coups: How to Help Rebuild Democratic Rule

Countering Coups: How to Help Rebuild Democratic Rule

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

By: Joseph Sany, Ph.D.;  Aly Verjee;  USIP Staff

The past year’s surge in coups around Africa’s greater Sahel region highlights the need for the United States, other democracies and African governments to improve past practices that often have been ineffective in preventing armed seizures of power and in reversing them when they occur. Many Sahel countries have suffered repeated coups—a warning that we need to strengthen the ways that we shape our efforts at restoring democracy. USIP experts suggest that these transitions must become periods for broad, national dialogues to set agendas for change that can make strengthen democracy and interrupt cycles of failed governance.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global PolicyDemocracy & Governance

A Sixth Coup in Africa? The West Needs to Up Its Game.

A Sixth Coup in Africa? The West Needs to Up Its Game.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

By: Joseph Sany, Ph.D.

The government of Guinea-Bissau says it survived an attempted coup d’état yesterday, just days after Burkina Faso suffered the fifth coup in nine months around the greater Sahel. These upheavals cement this African region as the most pronounced center of a global crisis: Poor and authoritarian governance is breeding extremism and transnational criminality, igniting violence and undermining efforts to build democracies. Following last year’s military power grabs in Chad, Mali, Guinea and Sudan, the new crises highlight widening risks to security — for the 135 million people of the Sahel region, and ultimately for Europe and the United States. They also point to changes needed in U.S. and international policies.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Despite High Stakes in Ethiopia, China Sits on the Sidelines of Peace Efforts

Despite High Stakes in Ethiopia, China Sits on the Sidelines of Peace Efforts

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

By: Joseph Sany, Ph.D.;  Thomas P. Sheehy

Since November of 2020, Ethiopia has been suffering from a deadly internal conflict that has claimed an estimated 50,000 lives and displaced over two million. The United States, the African Union and others in the region have attempted to secure a cease-fire between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) but have made little headway. In contrast, China has remained mainly on the sidelines of peacebuilding efforts even though Ethiopia — the second most populous country in Africa — is a centerpiece of its Africa policy. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global PolicyPeace Processes

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