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Our Team

Leonardo Villalon

Leonardo Villalón

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Leonardo A. Villalón, coordinator of the Sahel Research Group, is Dean of the International Center and Professor of Political Science and African Studies at the University of Florida. From 2002-2011 he served as director of the university’s Center for African Studies. Villalón is a specialist on politics in the Francophone countries of the African Sahel, where he has lived, traveled and lectured extensively. Villalón’s research has explored religious involvement in the debates on democracy in Senegal, Mali and Niger. He is also interested in social change and electoral dynamics across the Sahelian region. From 2007-09, he held a Carnegie Scholars fellowship from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, for research on a project entitled: “Negotiating Democracy in Muslim Contexts: Political Liberalization and Religious Mobilization in the West African Sahel.” With Mahaman Tidjani Alou of LASDEL, Niger, he codirected a project analyzing religion and educational reform in Senegal, Mali and Niger. He is also codirector (with Daniel A. Smith) of the State Department-funded Trans-Saharan Elections Project, focused on six countries: Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad. He was the PI of a three year (2012-2015) Minerva Initiative grant for research on social change and political stability in the same six Francophone Sahelian countries, and of the OECD Cities and Borders program.
Renata Serra

Renata Serra

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Renata Serra is Senior Lecturer in the Center for African Studies at the University of Florida, as well as a core faculty member in the Master in Sustainable Development Practice program and member of the Management Entity of the USAID’s Livestock Systems Innovation Lab at UF, co-leading both the Policy and Gender Teams. An economist by training, she earned her PhD from Cambridge University (UK) in 1997. Her expertise focuses on agricultural and livestock policies, the political economy of reforms, gender issues and household decision-making, child labor, and social capital, with particular attention to countries in Franco-phone West Africa. Dr. Serra has done consultancy work for Catholic Relief Services, the International Cocoa Institute, Oxfam UK, DFID, SIDA, the World Bank, and Save the Children UK. She was convener and coordinator of the project on Development, Security and Climate Change in the Sahel, a collaboration between the MDP programs of the University of Florida, the Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, and Sciences Po Paris.
Abdoulaye Kane

Abdoulaye Kane


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Abdoulaye Kane holds a joint position between the Center for African Studies and the Department of Anthropology. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology in 2001 from the Amsterdam School for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Dr. Kane specializes in international migration and transnationalism with an emphasis on Senegalese migrants in Europe and in the United States. He has recently completed a book manuscript on the practice of transnationalism by the Haalpulaar migrants of the Senegal River Valley. He is the co-editor, with Todd Leedy, of African Migrations, Patterns and Perspective (Indiana University Press, 2013). He also co-edited, with Hansjoerg Dilder, and Stacey Langwick, Medicine, Mobility, and Power in Global Africa, Transnational Health and Healing (Indiana University Press 2012). He is currently working on a book manuscript exploring the building of Tijani transnational religious circuits connecting religious cities in Senegal, Fez, and satellite communities in France.
Fiona McLaughlin

Fiona Mc Laughlin


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Fiona Mc Laughlin is Professor of Linguistics and African Languages. She specializes in the sociolinguistics of urban language contact in the Sahel, as well as in the phonology and morphology of Seereer, Wolof and Pulaar, three Atlantic (Niger-Congo) languages spoken in Senegal. She has a secondary research interest in Islam and popular culture. Mc Laughlin has a PhD in linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a former director of the West African Research Center in Dakar and has taught at the Université Abdou Moumouni in Niamey, Niger, and at the Université Gaston Berger in Saint-Louis, Senegal.
Alioune Sow

Alioune Sow


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Alioune Sow holds a joint appointment in French and African Studies at the University of Florida. He is the Director of the France Florida Research Institute. His research interests include democratic transition and cultural forms in francophone West Africa, focusing especially on memoirs, theater and films in Mali, as well as migration and theater practices in France. His current book project entitled Transitional memoirs, examines the interplay between letters, politics and the cultures of memory in post military Mali and in the Sahel. His articles on confessions and testimonies in democratic Mali, refugee theater in Bamako, political intuition in autobiographies of childhood, Malian cinema and military, Malian television serials and democratic experience, have been published in Critical Interventions, Social Dynamics, African Studies Review, Biography. He has also edited special issues of Cahiers d’Etudes Africaines and Etudes Littéraires Africaines. Vestiges et Vertiges appeared with Artois Presses Université in 2011. Alioune Sow holds a PhD from the Sorbonne.
Sarah McKune

Sarah McKune


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Sarah McKune is an Assistant Professor in the Center for African Studies and in the Department of Environmental and Global Health in the College of Public Health and Health Professions. She holds a B.A. in French and Sociology from Wofford College, an MPH from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Ecology from the University of Florida. Prior to work in academia, McKune spent nearly a decade in development, working on various global health projects, including HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, maternal and child health, nutrition, and food security, much of this work occurring with NGOs throughout West Africa. Her doctoral research investigated the perceived risk of climate change on adaptation and livelihood vulnerability of pastoralists in eastern Niger. She held a postdoc at UF with the Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security program of the CGIAR to improve social equity of program benefits, particularly among women, in Kaffrine, Senegal, as well as sites in Kenya and Nepal. Her research utilizes mixed methodologies, both quantitative and qualitative in nature, and seeks to explain the complex, system dynamics that affect child growth and nutritional outcomes, including factors such as household hygiene and sanitation, livestock ownership, climate change, and gender dynamics within the household. She serves as the Health and Human Nutrition Cross Cutting Theme leader for the USAID Feed the Future Livestock System Innovation Lab (LSIL) at UF, which aims to improve the nutrition of children under five and pregnant and lactating women through increased consumption of animal source foods. She has ongoing work in Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Niger.
Sebastian Elischer

Sebastian Elischer


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Sebastian Elischer is an Associate Professor of African Politics at the University of Florida. Prior to joining UF, Dr Elischer was Assistant Professor of comparative politics at the Leuphana University Lüneburg (Germany) and a research fellow at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg. He holds a PhD in comparative politics from Jacobs University Bremen (Germany), a dual MA from the Free University of Berlin and the George Washington University in Washington DC, and a BA from the University of Wales/Aberystwyth (UK). He is the author of Political Parties in Africa: Ethnicity and Party Formation published by Cambridge University Press in 2013. His work has appeared in Democratization and Foreign Affairs. Elischer’s current research focuses on the extent to which Sahelian states (Niger, Mali, Mauritania, and Chad) have tried to supervise the influx and the practice of Salafi communities since independence. The project is funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation.

Benjamin Soares


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Benjamin Soares is the Director of the Center for Global Islamic Studies. He is a scholar of Islam and Muslim societies in Africa whose research focuses particularly on religious life from the early 20th century to the present. He has conducted research in Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sudan, as well as among West African Muslims in Europe and Asia. In recent work, he has looked at the connections between changing modalities of religious expression, different modes of belonging, and emergent social imaginaries in colonial and postcolonial West Africa. In addition to ongoing interests in religious encounters and religion, media, and the public sphere, he is studying contemporary Muslim public intellectuals in Africa. He is a co-editor of Africa, the journal of the International African Institute (London), and he also co-edits the International African Library book series (Cambridge).

Olivier Walther


Email - UF faculty page - Personal website
Olivier J. Walther is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Florida. He received his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Using social network analysis, his research and teaching has focused on cross-border trade, cross-border cooperation and terrorism in West Africa. Fluent in English and French, Professor Walther spent part of his youth in West Africa and has worked in Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Ghana, Benin and Mauritania. His work combines geographic information systems, social network analysis, statistical analysis and qualitative interviews. His current research project funded by the OECD Sahel and West Africa Club studies political insecurity and transnational insurgencies in West Africa. Professor Walther has received support for his work from the United Nations World Food Programme, the European Commission, the OECD, the European Spatial Planning Observatory, the research funds of Luxembourg and Denmark, and the Carlsberg Foundation. Dr Walther is the Africa Editor of the Journal of Borderlands Studies and is on the executive committee of the African Borderlands Research Network (ABORNE).

Adib Bencherif


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Dr. Adib Bencherif is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Sahel Research Group at the University of Florida. He is a Research Fellow with the Centre FrancoPaix of the Chaire Raoul-Dandurand for diplomatic and strategic studies at the University of Québec in Montréal (UQAM). Adib is also affiliated with the Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche sur l'Afrique et le Moyen-Orient (CIRAM) at Laval University, the Centre d'études et de recherches  internationales (CÉRIUM) at the University of Montreal (UdeM) and the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS). Adib holds a B.A. from the School of International Relations in Paris, an M.A. in International Relations from Laval University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Ottawa. His research focuses on security issues and political violence in the Sahel, with a focus on the narratives and representations of Tuareg political elites in Mali and Niger. He is the author of several peer-reviewed articles published in Terrorism and Political Violence, Mediterranean Politics, The Canadian Journal of African Studies, Cahiers d'études africaines and Politique Africaine. He is fluent in French and English and proficient in Spanish, Arabic and Tamashek.

Macodou Fall

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Macodou Fall is a PhD student and a teaching assistant at the University of Florida Center for Global Islamic Studies. He holds a B.A and an M.A in English from Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar and another M.A in African Studies from Ohio University. Macodou is interested in the study of Islam, Ajami literature, traditional religions, and popular culture in West Africa with a focus on the Senegalese Sufi Brotherhood, Muridiyya. His research project seeks to explore the Murid urban associations’ (Dahiras) various teaching methodologies, which also include singing, praise singing, and the interpretation of Murid texts (qasidas) via use of Wolofal (Ajami Wolof). Macodou is fluent in Wolof, French, and English and has taught Wolof at Ohio University.

Jamie Fuller


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Jamie Fuller is a doctoral candidate in the department of Anthropology at the University of Florida. She received her B.A. in Anthropology, and her M.A. in African African-American Studies from the University of Kansas. Her research ethnographically explores the kinship building practices of Senegalese women living in the United States and their families at home across social media applications such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. Specifically, she asks how women orchestrate care from a distance using the communicative affordances of these apps to understand how they intervene in women’s lives to produce feelings of co-presence, obligation, and love. As more women move independently of male relatives, they encounter new opportunities and expectations linked to their gendered embodiment. By asking how female migrants employ affordances in producing culturally appropriate forms of communication, her research points to how kinship and obligation, key to the transfer of remittance funds between people in migration contexts, reemerge despite the structural dynamics of an increasingly global and dynamic transnational labor force. Highlighting this, her research sheds light on the sociality of mobility, remittances, obligation, and gendered embodiment.

Frédérick Madore

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Frédérick Madore is a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for African Studies at the University of Florida. He completed his PhD in History at the Université Laval (Canada) in 2018. His research is comparative and explores Islam and Muslim societies in postcolonial francophone West Africa. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, and Togo, focused on Islamic activism among youth and women, their appropriation of (new) media, and Muslim politics. Madore is developing an innovative digital archive database containing archival materials, newspaper articles, Islamic publications, photographs, and bibliographical references related to Islam in Burkina Faso. He is also the author of La construction d’une sphère publique musulmane en Afrique de l’Ouest (Presses de l’Université Laval/Hermann, 2016) on Islam in Burkina Faso.

Matthew Pflaum

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Matthew Pflaum is a PhD student in Geography advised by Dr. Walther. He holds an MSc in African Studies & International Development from the University of Edinburgh and an MPH in Global Health/infectious Disease from Emory University. Mr. Pflaum is examining pastoralist violence, mobility, and food security in Mali’s central Mopti region. He is interested in the central Sahel region around Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Niger, and Mali, and the transnational dynamics of violence, particularly the intersections of communal violence and violent extremism and their outcomes. He is also interested in ethnicity, language, borders, governance, security, resources, and policies. Mr. Pflaum has spent time in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Vietnam.
 
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Research Associates

Oumar Ba

Oumar Ba

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Oumar Ba s Assistant Professor of Political Science at Morehouse College. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Florida in 2017. He also holds a M.A in political science from the University of Florida, a M.A. in political science from Ohio University, a M.A. in African Studies from Ohio University, a B.A. in international studies from The Ohio State University, and a B.A. in Geography from Université Cheikh Antra Diop in Dakar.
His research focuses on the politics of international justice, the global governance of atrocity crimes, and the destruction of cultural heritage in conflict. Languages: Pulaar, Wolof, French, and English.
Mamadou Bodian

Mamadou Bodian

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Mamadou Bodian received his Ph.D. from the University of Florida  and is a founding member of the Sahel Research Group. He is a Researcher in the SIPRI Sahel and West Africa Programme. Mamadou was also a Project Coordinator for the Trans-Saharan Elections Programme (TSEP) at the University of Florida. From 2008 to 2009, he served as a Senior Researcher in the Project Office 'Islam Research Programme' at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Senegal, a project sponsored by Leiden University and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has been acting as an expert for Freedom House (Mali) since 2015, Variety of Democracy (Mauritania) since 2015, and Afrobarometer (Senegal) since 2018. Languages: Diola, Mandingue, Wolof, French, English.
Dan Eizenga

Daniel Eizenga

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Daniel Eizenga is a Research Fellow at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies based at the National Defense University in Washington D.C. At the Africa Center, he is responsible for conducting policy-relevant research advancing understanding of pressing security challenges facing Africa. His research primarily focuses on countering violent extremism in the Sahel and the intersecting roles of civil-military relations, traditional institutions, and civil society across various regime trajectories of African states. Prior to joining the Africa Center, he was a postdoctoral fellow with the Centre FrancoPaix at the Université du Québec à Montréal and a Research Associate with the Sahel Research Group. He has presented his research to and collaborated with several academic and government institutions in both the United States and Canada, including the Canadian Forces College, the Joint Special Operations University, Special Operations Command Africa, the Royal Military College in St. Jean, Québec, the George C. Marshall Center, the United States Institute of Peace, and Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center at the Presidio in Monterey. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Florida and he has conducted extensive fieldwork in the Francophone African Sahel, primarily in Burkina Faso, Chad and Senegal.
Abdourahmane Idrissa

Abdourahmane Idrissa

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Abdourahmane Idrissa is Senior Researcher in the African Studies Centre at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. His doctorate in political science, with a concentration on democratization and political Islam in Africa, was obtained at the University of Florida. Idrissa’s research expertise ranges from issues of states, institutions and democratization in Africa to Salafi radicalism in the Sahel and current projects on the history of state formation in Africa, with a focus both on the modern (Niger) and premodern eras (Songhay). Idrissa is the founder of EPGA a think tank in political economy in Niger, training students and coordinating projects based on methodologies of political economy analysis focused on migration, youth employment and demography. He is also associated with the Niamey based social science laboratory LASDEL and is on the editorial board of the African Studies Quarterly, at the University of Florida. He is the author of the book The Politics of Islam in the Sahel : Between Persuasion and Violence (Routledge, 2017). Together with Samuel Decalo he has recently published a completely new edition of the Historical Dictionary of Niger.
Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim

Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim

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Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim is Senior Analyst Sahel based in Dakar for the International Crisis Group. His work covers Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso. He received his Ph.D in Political Science from the University of Florida, where he was also a research assistant for the Minerva Initiative project on Institutional reform, social change and stability in the Sahel. His research interests relate to political economy, Islam, and humanitarianism in the Sahelian countries. He has a background in Sociology, Islamic Jurisprudence, and Management, with degrees from the Islamic University of Say and Abdou Moumouni University of Niamey. Ibrahim is also an alumnus of the Fulbright Program. He worked for four years with Islamic NGOs in Niger, including two years as the Executive Director of the Niger-office of Albasar International Foundation. He is a co-founder of the NGO Project Global Health. Languages: French, English, Arabic, and Hausa.

Marjatta Eilittä

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Marjatta Eilittä is the Deputy Director for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems.  She received her Ph.D. in Agronomy with a minor in Food and Resource Economics from the University of Florida.  Her research was on soil fertility and green manures in tropical smallholder systems. She consequently worked 12 years in agricultural development in West Africa, mainly from a base in Ghana, but with regional responsibilities, including in the Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Northern Nigeria, and Senegal.  Her work covered soil fertility, crop production and inputs, national and regional policies, and value chain development. From 2011 to 2013 she led a USAID-funded project on regional trade in staple commodities and livestock, which sparked her interest in trade networks and corridors as well as the neglected role of regional trade, particularly between the Sahel and the coastal countries, in the regional food security.
Tatiana Smirnova

Tatiana Smirnova


Email - Personal Website
Tatiana Smirnova served as a Research Assistant Scientist in the Department of Geography at the University of Florida in 2019-2020. She worked on the project "Foreign interventions and transnational insurgencies in the Sahara-Sahel" funded through the Sahel and West Africa Club at the OECD. Dr. Smirnova completed her PhD in social anthropology at EHESS in Paris. She has worked as a Program Assistant at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City in 2007 and as a Human Resource Officer at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands in 2009. More recently, Dr. Smirnova has worked as an international consultant for Transparency International, Search for Common Ground, and the Danish Refugee Council in Niger. Fluent in French, English, Russian and Hausa, Dr. Smirnova has applied social network analysis to the study of the Boko Haram insurrection in the Lake Chad region.
 
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Staff

isabelle

ISABELLE WALTHER DUC

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Isabelle Walther-Duc is Program Assistant at the Sahel Research Group. She is in charge of the communication of the Sahel Research Group including publishing of the weekly newsletter, social media and updating SRG’s website. Isabelle holds a Master in Sociology from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and a Master in European Studies from the University of Southern Denmark. In her previous jobs, Isabelle has worked as social worker, office manager and French teacher. Isabelle’s interests lie in international issues and global dynamics. Her interest for Africa started when, as a student, she regularly traveled to Africa in countries such as Morocco, Mauritania, Niger and Mali. These travels as well as the various countries where she subsequently lived allowed her to develop her multicultural and interpersonal competencies. Languages: French, English, German and Danish (elementary knowledge).

Luke Whittingham

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Luke Whittingham is a Research Assistant at the Sahel Research Group. They received their Masters in French Studies from the University of Washington, and their joint BA in French and Spanish from the University of Washington. They are in charge of the communication of the Sahel Research Group including publishing of the weekly newsletter, social media and creating SRG’s new website for the next year. They also help edit forthcoming publications by Sahel Research Group colleagues. Their research focuses on ethnographic film and visual culture surrounding queer communities in Senegal and Burkina Faso. They're interested in trans/queer community knowledge and kinship and how these oppressed identities manifest in an exclusively West African way.
Languages: Dutch, English, French, Korean, Spanish, Wolof (elementary knowledge).


Our Network

Mamadou Cissé

Mamadou Cissé

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Mamadou Cissé was a visiting scholar with the Sahel Research Group in the Spring 2015. He holds a doctorate in linguistics from the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO) in Paris, a master’s degree in English and a bachelor’s degree in French as a Foreign Language. He also holds master’s degrees in international relations and in classical Arabic from INALCO. As a translator and interpreter, he revived the teaching of Wolof at INALCO. After a decade spent in Paris, Mamadou Cissé held posts in Japan and Niger before settling in Dakar, Senegal, where he teaches at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop. His most recent work focuses on general linguistics, lexicology, terminology and linguistic arrangements in Africa, as well as on the writing of African languages in the Arabic script (Ajami). He has written and co-authored several books, including Modern Wolof Tales (Harmattan, 2000), French-Wolof Dictionary (Asiathique, 2004), Wolof Proverbs and Dictions (Présence africaine, 2014), and the Wolof translation of The French Language Worldwide (International Organization for the Francophonie, 2014). Mamadou Cissé speaks Wolof, Pulaar, Serer, French, English, Arabic and Japanese.

Awa Doucoure

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Awa Doucoure is a doctoral student in the Department of Political Science at Gaston Berger University in Senegal. She is also teaching assistant at the Virtual University of Senegal. She is a World Bank Robert S. McNamara scholarships visiting fellow for a research stay in African Studies Center and Sahel Research Group, with Professor Villalon, from April 2017 to January 2018. Her research interests are definition and implementation of public policies. For her dissertation, she is focusing on public policy reform in Higher education initiated by the Senegalese government which aims to develop its human capital in order to provide quality human resources capable of having a direct influence on national productivity. Languages: Wolof, French, English.
Ladiba Gondeu

Ladiba Gondeu

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Ladiba Gondeu is a Chadian social anthropologist specializing in civil society, religious dynamics, and project planning and analysis. He is also very active in the Chadian Peace and Reconciliation Initiative. From 2008-2012 he taught in the Sociology department at the University of Ndjamena. In the Spring 2013 semester he was a visiting scholar at the University of Florida, hosted by the Sahel Research Group as part of the Minerva Initiative project. He is the author of L’émergence des organisations islamiques au Tchad. Enjeux, acteurs et territoires published by L’Harmattan in 2011:  He is currently completing a doctoral thesis at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris, on the promotion of Republican values in the management of communal land in the Chadian portion of the Niger basin.
Jean Alain Goudiabye

Leonardo Villalón

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Jean Alain Goudiaby is a sociologist and professor at the Université Assane Seck de Ziguinchor (Senegal). His research interests focus around higher education policy in Africa, academic mobility, university governance, and pedagogy. He is the author of L’université et la recherche au Sénégal à la croisée des chemins, published by Academia-L'Harmattan, 2014. He is a member of the Réseau d'Etude sur l'Enseignement Supérieur (RESUP), the Association pour la Recherche sur l’Education et les Savoirs (ARES), and projet DEMOSTAF. He currently serves as Director of Pedagogy and of University Reform, as well as a member of the Laboratory on Economic and Social Sciences at the Université Assane Seck de Ziguinchor. He was a visiting scholar at the University of Florida and the Sahel Research Group from March to April 2016.
HANE_Fatoumata_web

Fatoumata ("Kiné") Hane

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Fatoumata (“Kiné”) Hane is a social anthropologist with a specialization in health and medical anthropology. She received a Ph.D. from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in 2007. She was a visiting scholar with the UF Sahel Research Group in September 2013 and returned for the second time in September 2015. She is currently the head of the department of Sociology at the University of Zinguinchor in Senegal, where she works primarily on questions of gender-based violence in conflict settings in Africa. She has carried out a number or research projects in public health policies and governance notably related to tuberculosis and HIV infection in Senegal. She is also the director of a research group on civil governance (LAREG : Laboratoire de recherche et d’études sur la gouvernance), the Senegalese section of Transparency International.
Zekeria Ould Ahmed Salem Denna

Zekeria Ould Ahmed Salem

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Zekeria Ould Ahmed Salem is Associate Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. Prior to joining Northwestern, he was Professor of Political Science at the University of Nouakchott, Mauritania. He is also Research Associate at the Centre d’études et de recherche internationales-Sciences-Po. He earned his Ph.D. from the Université de Lyon, France in 1996. For 2005-2007, he served as General Secretary respectively at The Ministry of Higher Education, and The Ministry of Rural Development in Mauritania. In 2010-2011, he was the very first Mauritanian scholar to be granted the U.S. Fulbright Program Senior Scholar Fellowship to the University of Florida, where he was affiliated with the Sahel Research Group. Subsequently, he was granted two research fellowships respectively at the Paris Institute of Advanced Study and the Nantes Institute of Advanced Study. His research interests are in politics, religion and social transformation with a special focus on Mauritania and North Africa.
Bakary Sambe

Bakary Sambe

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Bakary Sambe is an Assistant Professor in the Center for Religious Studies of the Université Gaston Berger in Saint-Louis, Senegal, where he also serves as Coordinator of the “Observatory on Religious Radicalism and Conflict in Africa.” He was a visiting scholar with the Sahel Research Group in March and April 2014. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations from the Institute of Political Studies of the Université Lumière Lyon 2 and a Masters degree in Arabic Languages and Civilizations. He has been a visiting scholar at The Institute of African Studies (Mohammed V University, Morocco) and a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations (ISMC) of the Aga Khan University, London. Dr. Sambe is the author of numerous publications on relations between Arab North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, and on religious dynamics in the Muslim Sahel. He has published a report entitled Overview of religious radicalism and the terrorist threat in Senegal. Dr. Sambe is a native speaker of Wolof, fluent in French, Classical Arabic, Maghrebian and Levantine Arabic dialects, and good English.
Antoinette Tidjani Alou

Antoinette Tidjani Alou

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Antoinette Tidjani-Alou is a professor of French and Comparative Literature at the Université Abdou Moumouni in Niamey, Niger, where she is also member of a research group on “Literature, Gender and Development.” In 2011-2012, she was a senior Fulbright fellow in the Center for African Studies, University of Florida, where she was affiliated with the Sahel Research Group. She has published widely on issues of culture and gender in the Sahel, and has served as president of the International Society for the Oral Literatures of Africa. Her 2012 lecture to the Library of Congress entitled: "The Secret Faces of Women from the Nigerien Sahel: Agency, Influence and Contemporary Challenges" is available here.
 
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