Assistant Professor of Justice and Rule of Law
Dr. Catherine Lena Kelly is an assistant professor responsible for overseeing the Africa Center’s portfolio on justice, rule of law, and governance and integrating these considerations into academic programming, research, and outreach. Her work focuses on citizen security, party politics and democratization, the rule of law and stabilization, and transnational organized crime.
Prior to joining the Africa Center, Dr. Kelly was an advisor at the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative and collaborated with teams in Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Mauritania, and Somaliland. As a postdoctoral fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, she designed and taught courses on contemporary Africa and democracy, and at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute, Dr. Kelly taught the West Africa course and co-taught the governance and religion modules in the Area Studies course. She has been awarded numerous fellowships and grants, including a Mellon/American Council of Learned Societies Public Fellowship, a West Africa Research Association grant, and two U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship for the Wolof language and doctoral research in Senegal. Her work has been published extensively in policy and academic journals.
Dr. Kelly holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in government from Harvard University, a Graduate Certificate in international politics (Europe, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding) from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and a B.A. summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis.
Areas of Expertise
Rule of Law, Democratization and Governance, Stabilization of Fragile States, Preventing Violent Extremism, Program Design, Monitoring and Evaluation, West and Central Africa, Transnational Organized Crime
American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, 2019
Democracy in Africa, August 23, 2019
The Washington Post Monkey Cage blog, April 3, 2018
“Senegal’s Leadership through Soft Power from Senghor to Sall” in African Foreign Policies in International Institutions,” Jason Warner and Timothy Shaw, eds.
Comparative Politics, Volume 50, 2018
American Evaluation Association 365, March 30, 2017
Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, November 2017
American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, May 2017
International Legal Assistance Consortium, 2017
Journal of Religious and Political Practice, Volume 2, 2016
The Washington Post Monkey Cage blog, April 3, 2016
American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, November 30, 2015
Electoral Studies, Volume 32, 2013
Africa in Transition, Council on Foreign Relations, March 27, 2013
Journal of Democracy, Volume 23, July 2012
African Futures, Social Science Research Council, July 12, 2012
Cahiers du Réseau multidisciplinaire d’études stratégiques, winter 2006
Into Africa podcast, October 17, 2019
October 8, 2019
Voice of America (VOA) Africa, July 15, 2019