Diplomatic Progress in Somalia



The re-opening of the U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu, Somalia, is welcome news to many who have worked on U.S. policy issues in the Horn of Africa for decades. It represents not just a positive step in strengthening bilateral relations, but also a victory over those who would prioritize risk-aversion ahead of the actual work of diplomacy, which requires presence, relationships, and a multilayered understanding of the political and social dynamics that shape decision-making for partners on the ground. Achieving thoughtful policy goals in a climate as fractured and fragile as Somalia’s is a difficult task under the best of circumstances. Trying to do it from afar is nearly impossible...


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Ambassador Michelle Gavin served as U.S. Ambassador to Botswana from 2011 to 2014. Ambassador Gavin is a senior fellow for Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. She has over twenty years of experience in international affairs in government and non-profit roles.

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