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Former ambassador to address U.S. policy in Horn of Africa

by Jeanne Baron

Sept. 26, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of Dr. David H. Shinn.
KALAMAZOO--An expert on the Horn of Africa and China-Africa relations will give a free, public talk at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, on the Western Michigan University campus.

Dr. David H. Shinn, an adjunct professor in the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University since 2001 and a 37-year veteran of the U.S. Department of State, will speak on "U.S. Policy Toward the Horn of Africa" in Room 2028 of Brown Hall.

Shinn served as ambassador to Ethiopia from 1996 to 1999, ambassador to Burkina Faso from 1987 to 1990 and coordinator for Somalia during the international intervention in the early 1990s. He also served three years as director for East African Affairs, developing and implementing American policy for 12 countries in East Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean.

In addition, Shinn was deputy chief of mission in Mauritania, Cameroon and Sudan; a U.S. foreign service officer, with assignments at embassies in Lebanon, Kenya and Tanzania; and a desk officer for Somalia, Djibouti, Uganda and Tanzania.

He has earned three State Department Superior Honor awards, including one for his work as deputy mission chief at the U.S. embassy in Sudan, where he supervised a large mission during a severe local famine, a terrorist attack, and three changes of government as well as managed two efficient and casualty-free evacuations of American staff during a period of high tension.

Shinn speaks around the world on the Horn of Africa and China-Africa relations. His articles on those topics have been published extensively in academic and policy journals, and a book he co-wrote on China-Africa relations is due out in early 2012 from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Shinn's lecture is being hosted by the WMU Center for African Development Policy Research and co-sponsored by WMU's Light Center for Chinese Studies; the departments of Economics, Geography and Political Science; Office of Diversity and Inclusion; and Haenicke Institute for Global Education.

For more information, contact Dr. Sisay Asefa at or (269) 387-5556.