Wilson Center Projects
“Youth and Conflict in Africa: Towards a New Policy Approach”
Affiliated with the African Studies Center at Boston University, Marc Sommers is an internationally recognized expert on youth concerns in war and post-war countries. After serving as the headmaster of a girls’ school in Kenya and directing a Red Cross-sponsored community health program in New York, Marc earned his Ph.D. in anthropology from Boston University, choosing as his dissertation topic the plight of Burundi refugee youth who were hiding illegally in urban Tanzania.
In his career as an academic and practitioner, Sommers’ research continues to focus on African youth. He has taught at The Fletcher School, Tufts University and consulted for a wide array of agencies and institutes, carrying out assessment and evaluation work that largely focused on gender, education, child soldier, conflict negotiation, urbanization and coordination issues, in addition to youth.
His many publications include Fear in Bongoland: Burundi Refugees in Urban Tanzania (Berghahn Books, 2001), which won the 2003 Margaret Mead Award, and Stuck: Rwandan Youth and the Struggle for Adulthood (University of Georgia Press, 2012).
His research at the Woodrow Wilson Center contrasts the priorities of youth in war and post-war Africa with government and international agency responses to youth challenges.
B.A. (with Distinction) History, University of Michigan, 1981; M.A. Anthropology, Boston University, 1990; Ph.D. Anthropology, Boston University, 1994
- Stuck: Rwandan Youth and the Struggle for Adulthood (University of Georgia Press, in association with U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 2011)
- "Creating Programs for Africa's Urban Youth: The Challenge of Marginalization" (Journal of International Cooperation in Education 10(1), 2007)
- Islands of Education: Schooling, Civil War, and the Southern Sudanese (1983-2004) (International Institute for Educational Planning, UNESCO, 2005)
- Fear in Bongoland: Burundi Refugees in Urban Tanzania (Berghahn Books, 2001)
- Marley's War: Terror and Transformation in Sierra Leone (U.S. Institute of Peace Press, forthcoming).