Research Director, Area Studies and International Law; Head, Africa Programme
Alex Vines

Contact information


Alex Vines has been head of the Africa Programme at Chatham House since 2002 and in 2008 became director for Regional Studies and International Security. In 2012 Alex was appointed director for Area Studies and International Law.

He chaired the UN Panel of Experts on Côte d’Ivoire from 2005 to 2007, and was a member of the UN Panel of Experts on Liberia from 2001 to 2003. He was also a member of the Commonwealth Observer Group to Ghana in 2016.

Alex has also been a UN election officer in Mozambique and Angola, and served as a consultant for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

He worked at Human Rights Watch as a senior researcher on business and human rights, is a senior lecturer at Coventry University, and works on editorial and advisory Boards for the South African Journal of International Affairs, Africa Review (journal of the African Studies Association of India), and Journal of Southern African Studies.

Alex was awarded an OBE in 2008 in recognition of his work including founding and developing Chatham House’s Africa programme.

Areas of expertise

  • Political risk in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Emerging powers in sub-Saharan Africa
  • UK and EU policy toward Africa
  • Extractive industries and investment in Africa

Past experience

2012 - Research Director, Area Studies and International Law, Chatham House
2002 - Head, Africa Programme, Chatham House
2013 -Fellow (Hon.), Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos
2012-2013Visiting Lecturer, Peace Studies, University of Bradford
2009 -Senior Lecturer (previously Lecturer), Department of International Studies and Social Science; and Director of the African Studies Centre, Coventry University (2014-16)
2008-2012Director of Regional and Security Studies, Chatham House
2005-2007Member, later Chair, UN Panel of Experts on Côte d'Ivoire
2001-2003Member, UN Panel of Experts on Liberia
2002-2010Senior Researcher, Business and Human Rights, Human Rights Watch (part-time)
1999-2002Associate Fellow, British-Angola Forum, Chatham House
1993 - 2002Researcher/Senior Researcher, Arms and Africa Divisions, Human Rights Watch
1997MacArthur NGO Fellow, Department of War Studies, King's College, University of London
1994-2000Research Associate, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford
1994Electoral officer, UNOMOZ, Mozambique
1992Electoral officer, UNAVEM II, Angola
1990-1993Africa Analyst, Control Risks
1990Consultant, Centre for Southern African Studies, University of York
1989Research Assistant, National Museums and Monuments, Masvingo, Zimbabwe

Graduate Scholar, British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya