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Africa Matters: A Perspective on U.S.-Africa Relations 

  • 06:00 PM
  • 970-476-0954

Africa Matters: A Perspective on U.S.-Africa Relations 

Geopolitical Series

with Monde Muyangwa and moderator Peter Matlon

August 8, 2018

Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; program from 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Hotel Talisa | Vail*

The United States has a long and complex history of engagement with Africa. This engagement has largely been driven by “negative” framing about Africa, including as a pawn in geo-strategic battles, particularly the Cold War, and as the location of many conflicts and humanitarian crises. This view and narrative of the continent have tended to obscure opportunities for stronger and mutually beneficial U.S.-Africa relations.
In this presentation, Monde Muyangwa will map the historical trajectory of U.S.-Africa relations and speak to the current state of affairs; highlight key political, economic, and security developments and trends in Africa; and assess the challenges and opportunities offered by these developments to address why Africa matters.
Monde Muyangwa, Ph.D. is the Director of the Africa Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center where she leads programs designed to analyze and offer practical, actionable options for addressing some of Africa’s most critical, current, and over-the-horizon issues; foster policy-focused dialogue about and options for stronger and mutually-beneficial U.S.-Africa relations and challenge the dominant narrative about Africa by enhancing knowledge and understanding about the continent in the United States. The Africa Program’s areas of focus are inclusive governance and leadership; conflict management and peacebuilding; trade, investment and sustainable development and Africa’s evolving role in the global arena.
Prior to joining the Wilson Center, Monde served as Academic Dean at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) at the National Defense University from 2002 to 2013. In this capacity, she oversaw all curriculum and programs at ACSS including in the areas of security studies, counter-terrorism and transnational threats, civil-military relations, defense economics and resource management and conflict management. She also served as Professor of Civil–Military Relations at ACSS from 2000 to 2003. From 1997 to 2000, she worked as Director of Research and then Vice President for Research and Policy at the National Summit on Africa. From 1996 to 1997, she worked as Director of International Education Programs at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico. She also previously served on the Advisory Council of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, a project of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. Monde has also worked as a development and gender consultant and on a wide range of development projects in southern Africa in the areas of education, housing, health, and nutrition. Currently, she serves on the Board of Trustees at Freedom House.
Monde holds a Ph.D. in International Relations and a B.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Oxford, as well as a B.A. in Public Administration and Economics from the University of Zambia. She was a Rhodes Scholar, a Wingate Scholar and the University of Zambia Valedictory Speaker for her graduation class.
Peter Matlon, Ph.D. has pursued a career in international development, with a particular focus on African agriculture. He was privileged to live and work in Africa for more than 25 years. His work included teaching, research and research management within international agricultural research centers, directing food security activities for the United Nations Development Program, and serving as Managing Director for Africa Programs of The Rockefeller Foundation, based in Nairobi, Kenya, from which he retired in 2007. Since his retirement, he has been a member and chair of numerous boards for both US and African-based organizations and is currently an adjunct professor of Applied Economics and Management in Cornell University’s Dyson School.
Before his retirement, Matlon also served on a number of global advisory panels including the United Nations Millennium Program Hunger Task Force and the InterAcademy Council Panel on African Agriculture. He chaired the United Nations Inter-Agency Working Group on Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems and was Executive Secretary of the Impact Assessment and Evaluation Group of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
Matlon earned a Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Cornell University in 1977, a Masters in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University in 1971, and a BSFS degree from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1967.

Note: The doors will open at 5:30 p.m.; the program begins at 6 p.m.
* Guests can utilize the complimentary resort parking at Hotel Talisa: Use the first entrance at the parking structure (there will be a Vail Symposium banner there) and tell the attendant you’re attending the Vail Symposium program. Valet parking is available for a discounted rate of $15 (let the valet know you’re attending the Symposium event); you can also stay after the event and have dinner or drinks at Gessner’s and your valet parking will be validated. 

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