Dr Virginie Baudais
Dr Virginie Baudais is a senior researcher with expertise in the Sahel and West Africa. She worked for two United Nations peacekeeping operations, in Côte d’Ivoire and Mali, as a Political Officer and she is currently conducting field research in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. Her expertise includes development, governance, humanitarian protection and security in the central Sahel.
Benjamin N. Lawrance, Ph.D.
Professor of History at the University of Arizona
Benjamin N. Lawrance was the Conable Chair in International Studies at Rochester Institute of Technology. He has conducted field research in West Africa since 1997 and published extensively about political and social conditions. He has served as an expert witness in the asylum cases for over 130 West Africans in the US, Europe and Canada which have involved human trafficking, citizenship, statelessness, female genital cutting, gender issues, gender identity, ethnic and religious violence, and witchcraft accusations.
Dr Bruce Whitehouse
Dr Whitehouse conducted twelve months of ethnographic research in Brazzaville, Congo between 2003 and 2006. His book Migrants and Strangers in an African City, published in 2012 by Indiana University Press, examines the lives of Brazzaville’s population of immigrants from the western Sahel region. More recently, Dr Whitehouse has carried out fieldwork in Bamako, Mali, where he was a Fulbright scholar (August 2011-June 2012) and visiting lecturer at the University of Bamako. He has published articles analyzing the Malian state and the reasons for its sudden collapse in 2012. He is also fluent in Banbara and French and speaks elementary Modern Standard Arabic.
Laura Young, JD, MPH
Laura is a US-trained human rights lawyer based in Nairobi, Kenya who works across sub-Saharan Africa as a consultant on governance and human rights for USAID, the UN, governments, and international NGOs. Laura has published numerous articles and reports focused on conflict dynamics, gender, minority rights, transitional justice, migration, health, and other human rights issues in the African context. Laura has provided expert input for immigration and asylum cases in both the US and UK, focused on LGBT, FGM/C, domestic violence, trafficking, access to health services (including mental health and HIV), ex-combatants, ethnic minorities, disability access, police protection, and other key issues.