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John Campbell

Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies

Expertise

Nigeria, South Africa, U.S. policy toward Africa, HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Programs

Africa Program

Featured Publications

All Publications

Op-Ed

Nigeria's Leadership Crisis

Author: John Campbell
Business Day

"President Yar'Adua's periodic illness since 2007, beyond depriving Nigeria of its leading regional role," states John Campbell, "has also created a succession crisis that raises the stakes for military adventurism."

See more in Nigeria; Rule of Law

Video

South Sudan: New Nation Faces Unresolved Problems

Speaker: John Campbell

The independence of South Sudan is a call for celebration but many difficult issues remain unresolved, says John Campbell, Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies at the Council of Foreign Relations. The outstanding delineation of 20 percent of the Sudan-South Sudan border and questions regarding divisions of oil revenues between the two countries must now be addressed.

See more in Sudan

Current Projects

Nigeria Security Tracker

Director: John Campbell, Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies
January 1, 2012—Present

The Nigeria Security Tracker is an effort to catalog and visualize incidents of violence in Nigeria related to political, economic, and social grievances. This regularly updated, well-organized information captured through a rigorous survey of international and Nigerian press reports is intended to help policymakers understand with better precision the frequency, location, and types of violence that have continued to undermine Nigeria's stability.


Visit the Nigeria Security Tracker.

Roundtable Series on U.S. Strategic African Partners

Director: John Campbell, Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies
September 2009—Present

The United States has struggled to implement a coherent foreign policy toward sub-Saharan Africa even as strategic interests in the region have grown. Addressing issues of national security, development, trade, human rights, environment and natural resources requires stable, dependable and well-governed regional partners. However, corruption, poor governance, conflict, environmental degradation, widespread poverty and malnutrition, and HIV/AIDS continue to bring untold hardship to a large majority of the region's 800 million inhabitants and undermine core U.S. interests in democracy and development. The Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies Program Roundtable Series on U.S. Strategic African Partners seeks to foster discussion about how the United States can play a positive role in the region by strengthening the capacity of states to provide for their people and working with other African democracies on interests of mutual concern. The Africa Program has a special focus on Nigeria and South Africa because of their size and strategic importance.

Recent Activity from Africa in Transition

CFR Events

Guest Event ⁄ New York

Pathways to Freedom: Political and Economic Lessons from Democratic Transitions

Speakers:

John Campbell, Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow, Africa Policy Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria (2004-2007); Coauthor, Pathways to Freedom, Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, and Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program, Council on Foreign Relations; Coauthor and Coeditor, Pathways to Freedom, Terra Lawson-Remer, Fellow for Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy, Council on Foreign Relations; Coauthor and Coeditor, Pathways to Freedom

Presider:

Gideon Rose, Editor and Peter G. Peterson Chair, Foreign Affairs
June 19, 2013 5:30-6:00 p.m. - Cocktail Reception
6:00-6:45 p.m. - Discussion
6:45-7:15 p.m. - Cocktail Reception and Book Signing

This meeting is on the record.

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Roundtable Meeting

Realizing Democracy: Lessons from South Africa and Nigeria

Speaker:

John Campbell, Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy, Director, Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, Council on Foreign Relations
April 23, 2013

This meeting is on the record.

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Academic Conference Call

Nigeria on the Brink

Speaker:

John Campbell, Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies, Council on Foreign Relations

Presider:

Irina A. Faskianos, Vice President, National Program & Outreach, Council on Foreign Relations
April 6, 2011 12:00-1:00 p.m.

This meeting is on the record.

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Press/Panels

Video Interview

Crisis in Central African Republic: Three Things to Know

The violence in the Central African Republic has neighboring countries concerned as fierce fighting and a weak government threaten to propel the humanitarian crisis beyond the country's borders. John Campbell, CFR's Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies, highlights three things to know about the crisis and what is needed for peace.

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Radio Interview

Press Conference USA / Africa Conflicts

Carol Castiel hosts Chief of VOA's Hausa Service, Leo Keyen and Ambassador John Campbell, former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, currently Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, about the root causes and implications of the conflicts in South Sudan and the Central African Republic as well as the ongoing insurgencies in Mali and Northern Nigeria.

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Video Interview

Boko Haram and the Foreign Terrorist Organization Designation

Thousands have been killed since Nigeria's militant Islamist group Boko Haram launched its uprising in 2009. Nigeria is resource rich and Africa's most populous country. In the last three years, Boko Haram has killed 358 people according to the government, but others estimate the true figure to be more than 1,500. Based largely in Nigeria's northeast, the militant group and its off-shoot Ansaru, has been fighting for more than four years to try to carve an Islamic state in this multi-religious and multi-ethnic country.

Joining John Rees in the studio to discuss this is Dr Olawale Ismail, Head of Research International Alert, and joining us on the phone from Washington is Ambassador John Campbell, former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, expert on US policy toward Africa and author of a new book should United States fear Boko Haram? On the phone from Nigeria we have Mausi Segun, Nigeria Researcher for Human Rights Watch and to complete our panel we have Dr David Lowe, lecturer in law, security and terrorism, at Liverpool John Moores University.

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Radio Interview

Insecurity and the Arms Trade in West Africa

Although the recently signed Arms Trade Treaty has raised hopes that arms trafficking will wane in West Africa, the CFR's John Campbell is more cautious. He thinks everything rests upon how the treaty is implemented in a region still characterized by weak administrative and institutional capacities. An interview with John Campbell.

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Article

Is Mugabe a Classic Strong Man?

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has been officially named the winner of elections held Wednesday. GPS Intern Inesha Premaratne speaks with John Campbell, senior fellow for Africa Policy Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former ambassador to Nigeria, for his take on the results and what they mean for Zimbabwe.

Radio Interview

Nigerian Terrorist Group Accused Of Killing Students

Renee Montagne talks with former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell about recent school attacks in Nigeria. The group believed to be behind them is called Boko Haram. Campbell is Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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Video Interview

Why U.S. Is Lagging in Pushing Investment in Africa

Former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell discusses President Barack Obama's first trip to South Africa as U.S. president and why the U.S. is lagging behind other countries in pushing investment on the African continent. He speaks with Mark Crumpton on Bloomberg Television's "Bottom Line." (Source: Bloomberg)

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Article

How to tackle Nigeria’s woes, by U.S. ex-envoy, Campbell

John Campbell argues that alienation of the North of Nigeria is a huge challenge for the presidential elections in 2015, money influence will be tested again at polls, and he claims that the region is being engaged, Ambassador Adefuye affirms this.

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Video Interview

On The Line: Land Reforms in Africa

Land reform in Africa is not just about righting a historical wrong. Today, it is also about food security, about political and economic corruption, and in many cases about fundamental human rights. This week's episode of "On the Line" tackles some of these complicated issues. GUESTS Ambassador John Campbell: Former US Ambassador to Nigeria; Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies, Council on Foreign Relations. Obang Metho: Executive Director, Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia. George Ayittey: Economist; President, Free Africa Foundation.

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Bio

John Campbell is the Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York. Rowman & Littlefield published his book, Nigeria: Dancing on the Brink. The second edition was published in June 2013. He writes the blog "Africa in Transition" and edits the Nigeria Security Tracker.

From 1975 to 2007, Ambassador Campbell served as a U.S. Department of State Foreign Service officer. He served twice in Nigeria, as political counselor from 1988 to 1990, and as ambassador from 2004 to 2007. Ambassador Campbell's additional overseas postings include Lyon, Paris, Geneva, and Pretoria. He also served as deputy assistant secretary for human resources, dean of the Foreign Service Institute's School of Language Studies, and director of the Office of UN Political Affairs.


From 2007 to 2008, he was a visiting professor of international relations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was also a Department of State mid-career fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University. Prior to his career in the Foreign Service, he taught British and French history at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia.

Ambassador Campbell received a BA and MA from the University of Virginia and a PhD in seventeenth century English history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.