Africa Initiative Researchers

Negusu_AkliluNegusu Aklilu is currently working as a climate change advisor for DFID-Ethiopia where he moved after serving as director of Forum for Environment (FfE), a local NGO, for almost eight years. As director of the Forum for Environment and one of Ethiopia’s most influential environmental advocates, he provided strategic leadership for environmental awareness-raising campaigns. He serves as the editor-in-chief of Akirma: A Magazine on Environment and Development and coeditor of the Ethiopian Environment Review, which he launched in 2010. Aklilu has also successfully spearheaded and played key roles in national and international initiatives for conservation and sustainable use of environmental resources. He co-founded and currently co-chairs the Ethiopian Civil Society Network on Climate Change, which comprises 60 organizations, and co-chairs the United Nations Environment Programme’s Advisory Group on International Environmental Governance. He was selected as one of 13 Emerging Leaders of the Global Environmental Governance Project. In 2011, Negusu received The Yale World Fellowship award and spent the fall semester at Yale University.


Michael DenneyJ. Michael Denney is a scholar and a practitioner of international development. He focuses his research on  land governance, land-use planning, and value chain development, and the science-policy interface. Currently, he conducts research in Ethiopia, where he also actively participates in agricultural value chain projects. Michael has worked extensively for the Gambella Project at the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Environment Center and Network. He graduated with his BA from McGill University and his MSPA from the University of Massachusetts Boston. He is currently a doctoral student in Global Governance and Human Security at UMass Boston and an IGERT Fellow in the Coasts and Communities program.


wondemagegnehuWondwossen S. Wondemagegnehu was the head of Policy and Laws Directorate of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in Ethiopia before he joined UMass Boston in September 2013. At the EPA he was instrumental in the initiation and development of the Green Economy plan that has the intent to enable Ethiopia achieve a middle income status before 2025 with a zero net carbon emission. Wondwossen represented the country at various fora including the ongoing climate negotiations where he also served as co-chair to the open ended meetings of the parties to the UNFCCC regarding Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions and the reporting requirements in connection with them.  Between 2011 and 2013, Wondwossen was commissioned by the African Union Commission to support the team of African negotiators on the development of a global legally binding instrument on Mercury which culminated in the Minamatta Convention opened for signature in October 2013.


Jeremiah O. AsakaJeremiah O. Asaka is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Global Governance and Human Security at University of Massachusetts Boston. He holds a Masters in Environmental Studies from Ohio University. His thesis focused on climate variability adaptation among Kenya’s Samburu pastoralists and the influence of emerging technologies e.g. mobile phone technology on the same.  Mr. Asaka has written for New Security Beat blog of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program as well as Adelphi’s Environment, Conflict and Cooperation online platform among others. His current research interests include global environmental governance, environmental security and climate change adaptation in the developing world context and in particular, Sub-Saharan Africa.


samuelSamuel Urkato Kurke is a PhD candidate of Environment and Development Studies at Addis Ababa University (AAU). He attended a PhD exchange study in the Department of Resource and Agricultural Economics at Kangwon National University in South Korea. Currently, Samuel is attending a PhD exchange study in the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance of McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at Umass Boston. Samuel is an Associate Fellow of IGERT Program. He is able to be part of the IGERT program because of a Memorandum of Understanding between Addis Ababa University and UMass Boston.. He received his MSc degree from Mekelle University in 2010 in Economics (Development Policy Analysis), and has a BA degree in Economics from Hawassa University.