Faculty Joined by U.S. Senator, KSP Alumnus at Brookings
Two St. Lawrence University faculty were joined by a U.S. Senator and Kenya Semester Program alumnus to discuss the state of elections and democracy in Africa on Sept. 20 at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C.
Matthew Carotenuto, professor of history, and Kristin McKie, assistant professor of government and African studies, discussed the state of elections and democracy in Africa along with U.S. Sen. Christopher Coons of Delaware. Coons took part in St. Lawrence’s Kenya Semester Program in 1984 and is now a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as well Senate Judiciary, Appropriations, Small Business and Entrepreneurship committees.
Carotenuto said Sen. Coons greeted he and McKie in Swahili when he arrived and spoke pointedly about the power of off-campus study in his own life and how his career is a great indicator of where these experiences can lead students long after graduation.
“It was inspiring to hear how Sen. Coons puts his foundational experience to work in the Senate as a leading member of the Foreign Relations sub-committee on African Affairs,” said Carotenuto who also is a KSP alumnus.
In 2015, St. Lawrence University began collaborating with the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C., as part of its Africa Security Initiative. The initiative brings together the expertise of St. Lawrence faculty and student interns with Brookings scholars. Faculty from St. Lawrence work alongside Brookings scholars and experts from the Institute’s Africa Growth Initiative in its Global Economy and Development Program.
In November 2015, McKie took part in a panel discussion on the Great Lakes Region of Africa. In April 2016, Abye Assefa, associate professor of sociology and African studies, participated in a panel discussion at Brookings regarding the security situation in Ethiopia and how it relates to the broader region. In July 2016, Carotenuto took part in a discussion on President Obama’s policy legacy for African security and development. McKie participated in a panel discussion in May 2017 that addressed conflict, famine and security in Africa today, and Carotenuto discussed Kenya elections in July 2017.
“Evaluating the health of democracy across Africa provided a broad opportunity to connect electoral politics to security, legal and civil society debates from across the world’s second largest continent,” Carotenuto said. “Drawing on research in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia, SLU faculty were able to engage an influential audience of policy makers in Washington D.C. on a variety of issues impacting African affairs and U.S. African relations.”
The collaboration with Brookings also funded a St. Lawrence University student internship in D.C. This summer, Namarig Kram ‘18 of Coons Rapids, Minnesota, a government and history major and African studies minor, served as St. Lawrence’s summer 2018 intern at Brookings. Together with Brookings Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon, she co-wrote “The State of African Security” as part of her internship.
For more information, visit St. Lawrence’s African studies program.