Meet our staff



Professor Tim Allen

Tim Allen is the Director of the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa. He is also a Professor of Development Anthropology and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.  Tim has training as a historian and development economist.

He works at the intersections of accountability, criminal justice, social healing, health care, international development and humanitarian assistance. He has conducted research on the Uganda / South Sudan border since the 1980s; and has also researched in many other African countries, including Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ghana. Much of his work has focussed on issues of humanitarian crisis, including mass forced displacement, armed conflict and the ways in which populations manage in extreme circumstances

Tim joined the LSE in 1997.




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 Margaret Ainley

Post-Docotoral Researcher

Maggie is what some have called a reluctant academic.  Driven by an inordinate sense of purpose to better understand the nature of leadership and governance on the African continent and in her home country Kenya, she recently undertook her PhD studies in International Relations at the London School of Economics.  Her thesis; ‘A Re-Imagining of the State in Africa’ sought to move away from the traditionally state-centred analysis of politics and state in Africa, focusing instead, on the role of ideas in shaping state formation processes on the same.

Prior to joining the LSE, Maggie worked as a research consultant at the Institute for Security Studies and thereafter, joined the Kenya Institute of Governance where she led a series of nationwide workshops on Collaborative Leadership and Dialogue in Kenya in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme.   This programme was aimed at supporting the transformation of Kenya’s leadership.  Bringing together key leaders in government, civil society and the public sector, it developed effective and holistic strategies for managing and resolving differences while building inclusive processes that advance governance.   
Maggie is an ESRC scholar and currently, a post-doctoral researcher at the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa at the LSE.





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Grants Programme Officer and CPAID ODA Impact Officer

*Position Vacant






Gemma Edom

Projects Associate

Gemma Edom is the Projects Associate at the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa.

Gemma has recently completed a BSc in Social Anthropology at LSE, where her dissertation investigated moralised hierarchies in aid interventions across Uganda.

Prior to joining FLCA, Gemma held positions in fundraising and grants across the third and public sectors. Gemma has also worked as a researcher on projects in Zimbabwe, South Africa and in the UK. 

Gemma joined LSE in April 2018.





Martha Geiger
Manager, Centre for Public Authority and International Development and Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa

Martha Geiger is the CPAID and FLCA Centre Manager at the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa in the Institute of Global Affairs (IGA) at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Martha holds an MA in Geography and International Development from the University of Guelph in Canada.

Martha gained valuable research, project management, and leadership experience in Canada, UK, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Botswana. Prior to joining LSE, she worked as a senior research associate at the University of Bristol where she led a study in Ethiopia investigating socio-economic factors affecting animal owning communities. Martha has also held research-focused roles at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the World Wildlife Fund. 

Martha joined LSE in the summer of 2016. 




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Stephen Johnson
Programme Officer, Programme for African Leadership

Stephen Johnson is the Programme Officer for The Programme for African Leadership at the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa, a networking and skills development initiative for LSE post graduate students from Africa.

He has previously worked as a research coordinator in Johannesburg, South Africa for a civil society organisation focused on researching and assessing government performance and governance quality across the continent. His research focused on defence, security and political instability. He has also worked for higher education institutions in South Africa and the United Kingdom including the University of Cape Town, King’s College and Birkbeck College.

Stephen joined LSE in November 2017.




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Yovanka Paquete Perdigao
Communications and Events Officer

Yovanka Paquete Perdigao is the Communications and Events Officer at the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa. She holds an Msc  in Violence, Conflict and Development from SOAS, University of London.

Prior to joining the FLCA, Yovanka worked in programming, fundraising and communications at the Africa Centre, Africa Research Institute and the Royal African Society.  Interested in lusophone literature, migration issues and politics of memory, Yovanka has written a number of fiction and non-fiction pieces, which have been featured on the Guardian, Brittle Paper, AFREADA, etc. She regularly edits and translates literary works as a freelancer. Yovanka speaks French and Portuguese fluently.

Yovanka joined LSE in November 2017.





Syerramia Willoughby
Communications and Events Manager
Editor, Africa at LSE blog

Syerramia Willoughby is the Editor of the Africa at LSE blog and Communications and Events Manager at the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa.

Prior to working at the FLCA, Syerramia worked for nine years as a radio journalist for BBC Africa and BBC Radio. 

Syerramia joined LSE in May 2011.







CPAID researcher Grace Akello

 Dr Grace Akello

Dr Grace Akello is a Ruth Glass Memorial Fellow in the Department of International Development and FLCA Visiting Professor.

She will spend the next four months at LSE working as part of research team in the Centre for Public Authority and International Development.

Dr Akello is a medical anthropologist and an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Gulu University in Uganda where she convenes that master of medical anthropology course.

Her research interests focus on the interplay between culture, health and illness particularly during conflict, complex emergencies and natural disasters. Her work has been published in a range of journals including Social Science and Medicine and Intervention. 




LSE Visiting Fellow, Michael Amoah

Dr Michael Amoah

Dr Michael Amoah specializes in African Politics, International Politics of Africa, Foreign Policy, Conflict and Security. He also has interests in International Political Economy, Development Studies and International Development. 

His publications include ‘Nationalism Globalization, and Africa’ (Palgrave Macmillan 2011) and 'A Decade of Ghana: Politics, Economy and Society 2004-2013' (Brill 2015). His forthcoming research monograph is entitled ‘The New Pan-Africanism: Globalism and the Nation-State in Africa’ (I B Tauris 2018).





Karin Barber

Professor Karin Barber

Karin Barber is a Centennial Professor in Anthropology. Her research focuses on Yoruba oral literature, popular theatre and print culture, and she has also done wider comparative work on popular culture and the anthropology of texts. Her most recent books are Print Culture and the First Yoruba Novel (2012) and A History of African Popular Culture (2018).





Dr Rochelle Burgess

Dr Rochelle Burgess is a community health psychologist who specialises in community mobilisation in global health, with an emphasis on gender, ethnicity and power dynamics. Over the past 10 years her projects have focused community participation, gender and mental health in South Africa. Previous projects include work on HIV in Kenya, South Africa and Swaziland. Her current research interests include: the role of health systems in supporting community mobilisation; Structural violence and mental health in post-conflict settings; and transformative research methods in global health.




Fatima El-Issawi

Dr. Fatima el Issawi

Dr. Fatima el Issawi is a Senior Lecturer in Journalism at the University of Essex; her research focuses on the intersection between media, politics and conflicts in transitional contexts to democracy in North Africa. She is the Principal Investigator for the research project “Media and Transitions to Democracy: Journalistic Practices in Communicating Conflicts- the Arab Spring” funded by the British Academy Sustainable Development Programme, looking at media’s effect in communication conflicts, taking Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt as case studies. Since 2012, Fatima has been leading empirical comparative research projects on the interplay between media and the political change, funded by Open Society Foundation and the Middle East Centre/LSE, covering Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Algeria.

Fatima’s expertise crosses journalism, public communication, policy and academia. She has over fifteen years of experience as international correspondent in conflict zones in the MENA region. She is the author of “Arab National Media and Political Change” looking at the interrelations between Arab journalists and politics in the post uprisings North Africa.




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 Dr Anna Macdonald

 Dr. Anna Macdonal joined the International Development department in 2013 as an LSE Fellow. She holds a BA in modern history from the University of Oxford; an MSc in the Theory and History of International Relations from the LSE and a PhD in War Studies from King’s College London.

Anna's research interests are in conceptions of law, justice, statehood and social order in central Africa. She is currently in receipt of a Leverhulme British Academy research grant and also works as a research fellow on the DFID-funded Conflict Research Programme (CRP), which examines violence and political markets in Africa and the Middle East and the new ESRC-funded Centre for Public Authority and International Development (CPAID).  Her recent research has been published in Development and ChangeAfrica, and the International Journal on Minority and Group Rights



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Dr Rebecca Tapscott

Dr Rebecca Tapscott is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, focusing on the relationship between violence and governance in illiberal democratic regimes.

Her current project examines strategic unpredictability as a non-traditional mode of state governance in Uganda through a study of citizens’ lived experiences of (in)security. Rebecca also has extensive field experience, having worked since 2010 on projects in Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, Niger, and Nepal, for several development non-government organizations and research projects.

Rebecca holds a PhD from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and previously worked as a researcher for the Justice and Security Research Programme at the LSE.



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Professor Leonard Wantchekon

Professor Leonard Wantchekon is a Centennial Professor at LSE for 2018-2019 academic year. He is a Professor of Politics and International Affairs and associated faculty in the Economics department at Princeton University.  His research is broadly focused on political and economic development, particularly in Africa.  His specific interests include institutions and governance, education and human capital externalities, democratization, clientelism and redistributive politics and the long-term social impact of historical events. 

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the founder the African School of Economics (ASE), which opened in Benin in September 2014.

For a full profile of Professor Wantchekon, please visit the IMF website for a Finance & Development article entitled “Ground Breaker.”






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Don’t miss Deborah Posel’s lecture titled, “ Whiteness in Abundance: the Order of Things in the Late 19th Century”……

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Dr. Michael Amoah’s new book, ‘The New Pan-Africanism: Globalism and the Nation-State in Africa’ examines the conce……

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