Ben Shepherd

ben_shepherdBen Shepherd is a leading specialist on African politics and conflict, policy formulation and applied analysis. He has a broad range of experience across West and Central Africa, with a particular focus on the DRC and wider Great Lakes region.

He has significant direct experience of bridging the gap between cutting-edge academic insight and real-world, practical policy advice, notably as the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) specialist on Central Africa and African conflict (2004-2011). He was a Research Fellow in International Relations at the London School of Economics (2009-10) and is currently Consulting Fellow to the Africa Program at Chatham House.

Ben has degrees from the University of Cambridge and the University of Bristol.

Dr Marco Jowell

marcoMarco Jowell has substantial experience and expertise in international affairs, policy analysis, project management and African politics. He is a leading expert in the politics, political economy and security dynamics of East and Central Africa with a broad background in policy advice with governments, international organisations (including a range of UN agencies), international and local NGOS, and the private sector.

Marco has held positions with the United Nations Group of Experts for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was Senior Research Analyst at the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), was head of applied research at the International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC) in Kenya and was Director of Research for the Great Lakes Centre for Strategic Studies (GLCSS) in Rwanda.

Marco has a PhD in Politics & International Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, as well as an MSc in African Politics also from SOAS.

Nick Bates

nick_bates_new Nick Bates was a British government official for 37 years until 2011 (27 in the Diplomatic Service and 10 with the Department for International Development). For most of his career he was involved in analysis and reporting of the political and conflict issues in the countries and regions where he worked; mainly on the Middle East (Egypt, Sudan, Oman and Iraq) and eastern Africa (Great Lakes, the Horn). He used this deep understanding to work in teams on conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict development, reconstruction and reconciliation.

In his later years as senior adviser at DFID he focused additionally on the Great Lakes region, analysing the multiple interconnected local and regional conflicts and the opportunities for stabilisation and development through the promotion of trade within a growth agenda.

Nick has also been part of several expert and advisory panels focussing on informal trade and conflict minerals in East and Central Africa.