Staff

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Susan Cook
Executive Director

Sue Cook is the Executive Director of the Harvard University Center for African Studies. Trained as a linguistic anthropologist and comparative genocide scholar, Sue has worked extensively in South Africa (with the Royal Bafokeng Nation), Cambodia (with the Cambodian Genocide Program), Botswana, Ethiopia, and Rwanda. She has held academic appointments at Yale, Brown, and the University of Pretoria. Her interests include mine-community relations in Africa, traditional leadership, urban language varieties, and sports and development. She is the author of The Business of Being Bafokeng: Corporatization in a Tribal Authority in South Africa, Performing Royalty in Contemporary Africa (with Rebecca Hardin) and Genocide in Cambodia and Rwanda: New Perspectives (ed.).

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Margie Jenkins
Executive Assistant

Margie Jenkins coordinates the Center’s events as well as provides assistance to the Executive Director.  She brings over 30 years’ experience as a senior administrator in independent schools to our team. Having served as Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life at schools in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and Virginia, she brings a great deal of experience in planning and coordinating programs and events.  Margie holds a B.S. from Northwestern University and completed graduate studies in education at UMass Amherst and Fairfield University.

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Maggie Lopes
Associate Director

Maggie Lopes is the Associate Director for the Center for African Studies. She currently oversees the Center’s operations, including finances, project planning and human resource management. Maggie worked for the Namibian Ministry of Education on information and communication technology (ICT) programs, and later, as the Namibia Country Director for WorldTeach. She was subsequently appointed as WorldTeach’s Director of Programs, overseeing programs in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific Islands. Maggie holds an MSc in Development Management from the London School of Economics and a B.S. in International Business and Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis.

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Candace Lowe
Financial Associate

As the Finance/Staff Assistant, Candace oversees the Center’s financial processing as well as providing essential administrative support to the team.  She comes to the Center with 15 years of office management experience in the financial and non-profit academic sectors.  Born in Barbados and raised in Cambridge, Candace is a longtime resident of the city.  She studied liberal arts at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

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Lerato Motaung
Project Manager, South Africa Office

Lerato Motaung is the project manager at Harvard University’s Center for African Studies Johannesburg Office. Lerato is an experienced sustainability specialist and corporate executive who has worked in both corporate South Africa and civil society organizations. Lerato studied at Johnson C. Smith University in the United States where she qualified in Political Science and Governance. In her career she has served as a non-executive director of Sci-bono Discovery Centre and the Maths Centre for Professional Teachers. She was also a trustee of the Letsema Sizwe and Letsema Khanyisa Black Economic Empowerment Employee Benefit Trusts. Upon her return to South Africa from the United Stated, Lerato recently launched Civics Academy, South Africa’s new civic education initiative in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela and Hanns Seidel Foundations which aims to facilitate young people’s constructive involvement in democracy.

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Nthatisi Quella
Student Support & Outreach Officer

Nthatisi Quella is the Center for African Studies’ Student Support Officer. Originally from Lesotho, Nthatisi has a decade’s worth of experience in secondary and higher education in Africa, student programming, and evaluation. Nthatisi is responsible for the administration of the Center’s student grants, internship programs, Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships, and student group support. She holds a Bachelor of Education degree from the National University of Lesotho, and a Master of Education and Curriculum Development degree from the University of the Witwatersrand’s School of Education in Johannesburg.

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Tricia Reinken
Communications Assistant

Tricia Reinken serves as the Communications Assistant for the Center for African Studies. In this role, she assists in the management of various communications platforms, including website updates, oversight of the social media strategy, and marketing material creation. Tricia holds a Bachelor’s degree from Bentley University in Media & Culture and Business Studies.

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Rosaline Salifu
Events and Fellows Officer

Rosaline Salifu serves as the Events and Fellows Officer for the Center for African Studies. Coming from Ghana, West Africa, Rosaline studied International Development at Brandeis University and has extensive experience in student events programing. Prior to coming to the US, Rosaline lived and worked in Japan and Ghana coordinating and managing educational programs for students and international trainees. With interests in educational events management and international students counseling, we are thrilled to have Rosaline coordinating all Center affiliated events and programs.

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Mbessin Sonko
Communications Officer

Mbessin Sonko is the Communications Officer for the Harvard University Center for African Studies. In this role, she facilitates the planning and implementation of the Center’s strategic communications objectives, including stakeholder engagement and outreach, website and digital content management, media relations, reputation management, and marketing. Prior to joining the Center, Mbessin was Senior Account Executive at Weber Shandwick, a global public relations agency. In that capacity, she worked across public affairs and social impact practices to provide strategic communications support to government, non-profit, foundation and corporate organizations. Mbessin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Affairs from Northeastern University.

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Adhana Asfaw
Student Programs Intern

Adhana Asfaw serves as the program assistant intern for Student Programs. She assists in a wide array of tasks supporting the different grants and programs offered by the Center for African Studies. Adhana previously worked at Lebone II College of the Royal Bafokeng in Rustenburg, South Africa, an internship program sponsored by the Center. She is currently an undergraduate at Harvard College, and hopes to pursue a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology.