The Center for African Studies Welcomes Inaugural Postdoctoral Fellows

January 12, 2016

In 2014 the Center for African Studies received an anonymous gift to establish a Postdoctoral Fellowship program to support promising African scholars to spend 2-3 years at the Center, pursuing their scholarship, teaching, and receiving mentoring in the early phase of their academic careers. The Center was delighted to welcome Grieve Chelwa and Mekonnen Firew Ayano, the first of the Center’s Postdoctoral Fellows, to Cambridge on January 4, 2016.

Post Doctoral FellowGrieve Chelwa recently completed his PhD in economics at the University of Cape Town, where he focused on the economics of tobacco control in South Africa, Uganda and Zambia. Previously, Grieve was a researcher at the Center for Financial Regulation and Inclusion in Cape Town, where he worked on public policy issues in the Southern African region. Grieve also worked as a Management Associate for Citibank in their Africa Division, based in Johannesburg. Grieve obtained his Masters degree in economics from the University of Cape Town and his Bachelors degree also in economics from the University of Zambia. His home town is Lusaka but he has lived in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Kinshasa, Lagos and Nairobi.

As a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for African Studies, Grieve will conduct research on the economics of education in his native Zambia. He frequently blogs for the influential online blog Africa Is A Country and some of his writings have appeared in Quartz Africa.

mekonnen-firew-ayano.jpgMekonnen Firew Ayano has completed a doctoral degree at Harvard Law School, and will graduate in February 2016. Mekonnen holds an LL.M. degree from the American University in Cairo and an LL.B. degree from Addis Ababa University. His previous experience includes working as a legal counsel for the World Bank, as a judge in Ethiopia, and as a lecturer at Addis Ababa University.

Mekonnen’s doctoral studies at Harvard Law School focused on law and development, law and social change, legal theory, private law, and property. His dissertation, based on field research in a rural community in Ethiopia, examines institutional structures and processes that shape local customs governing rural land title and the resulting impact on the economy and society of rural Ethiopia. Through this work he explores the formalization of rural land title in the context of developing countries more broadly.

Mekonnen’s research and teaching interests include law and development, legal theory, private law, property, and land and agricultural policies. As a Postdoctoral Fellow, he intends to continue his research into current issues in law and social change, with a focus on the steadily intensifying process of globalization and its consequences for the economy and society of rural Africa.