Department of National Security Affairs
Naval Postgraduate School
United States of America
Letitia Lawson worked in Africa with leaders in government, civil society and the security forces to elucidate, and advance mutual understanding of, pressing civil-military relations issues. Most recently these have included election security in the Democratic Republic of Congo, national reconciliation in Mali, and national security planning in Cote d’Ivoire. These more practical undertakings inform, and are informed by, my research and teaching. In both theory and practice she attempt to clear a middle path between ‘Afro-optimism’ and ‘Afro-pessimism’ -- both of which suffer from a historicism – by highlighting and explaining internally-driven incremental progress occurring within existing economic, social and institutional constraints in the region.
Letitia Lawson recent research and practical engagement have focused on pathways of internally-driven institutional reform. I am now engaged in a long-term comparative study of post-Cold War economic transformations in East Africa, seeking to map the country-specific interaction of formal and informal institutions with public and private agents in the production of national and sub-regional economic growth and development.