Episode #21 - August 1st, 2020


During this episode we cover a wide range of topics on issues facing the African continent. Through our discussions with Susan Stigant, Director of Africa Programs at the US Institute of Peace, you will learn about the current state of Sudan, one year after they overthrew the dictator, Omar al-Bashir. Also, in conversations with Rain for the Sahel and Sahara, we cover the COVID-19 pandemic in the region, and the work of this organization to build resiliency through education and training.


Susan Stigant: Susan Stigant is the director of Africa Programs at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) where she oversees programming in South Sudan, Nigeria, Sudan, CAR, DRC, Tanzania and Kenya and with the African Union. Susan’s thematic focus is on the design and implementation of inclusive constitutional reform and national dialogue processes. She has and continues to advise government officials and civil society actors on inclusive processes in Sudan, South Sudan, Libya, Somalia and elsewhere. Susan also serves as co-chair of USIP's national dialogue working group. Prior to joining USIP, she managed constitutional development, citizen engagement and election observation programs with the National Democratic Institute (NDI). From 2005-2011, she served as program director with NDI in South Sudan, where she supported the implementation of the peace agreement. She also worked with the Forum of Federations on comparative federalism and with the research unit of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament in South Africa.


Rebecca Black: Rebecca recently returned to the US after 25 years with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Most recently, she was Mission Chief in Cambodia, managing a diverse assistance portfolio with emphasis on governance and health. Prior to that, she served as Mission Chief in Mali during a period of turmoil following a Coup d’Etat and rebel take-over of the northern two thirds of the country. She also co-led a $2.5 billion assistance program in Afghanistan, and managed economic development and urban environment programs in India, South Africa, and Eastern Europe. Rebecca has a Masters in City Planning from MIT. Susan Fine: Susan began her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer and ultimately spent 30-years with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), including two years as Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator responsible for development policy and representing the U.S. in multilateral forums. Susan led USAID’s technical and logistical support to Southern Sudan’s 2011 self-determination referendum. As Mission Director for Senegal and the Sahel she guided a ground-breaking resilience program in Niger and Burkina Faso. Susan holds a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. Susan is based in Sunapee, NH and serves as a Senior Associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


Susan Fine: Susan began her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer and ultimately spent 30-years with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), including two years as Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator responsible for development policy and representing the U.S. in multilateral forums. Susan led USAID’s technical and logistical support to Southern Sudan’s 2011 self-determination referendum. As Mission Director for Senegal and the Sahel she guided a ground-breaking resilience program in Niger and Burkina Faso. Susan holds a Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. Susan is based in Sunapee, NH and serves as a Senior Associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


Katherine Kolios: Katherine’s experience spans education, sexual and reproductive health, nutrition, and malaria prevention. She joined RAIN in 2017 having lived, worked, and studied in Francophone communities throughout Africa, South America, and Europe. Katherine has experience working in the field and in headquarters of organizations large and small. Currently, she leads RAIN’s strategic planning, serves as the liaison between Niger and U.S. operations, and ensures RAIN has the resources needed to implement programs effectively in tandem with community partners. She is a graduate of Brandeis University’s Health: Science, Society and Policy program. For more information, visit their WEBSITE.


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