Staff and Affiliates
Marc Sommers is an internationally recognized youth, peacebuilding and conflict expert. An Africanist and applied anthropologist, he also has expertise on gender, CVE, governance, education, social inclusion, urbanization, refugee, and development issues. He has provided strategic advice, and carried out research and evaluation work, in 22 war-affected countries. Dr. Sommers has written 9 books, received 4 book awards, and is a member of the UN Advisory Group of Experts for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security.
One of Marc’s areas of specialty is conducting extended monitoring and evaluation research on training efforts that feature the provision of negotiation, communication, and peacebuilding skills. His approach features trust-based, qualitative field research methods that examine prominent local and national conflicts, how such conflicts normally are addressed, and whether and how training efforts have impacted conflict negotiation and resolution processes.
Marc served for several years as Senior Conflict Advisor for the State Department, where he focused on peacebuilding efforts in Africa. He also worked as Senior Research Advisor for the IGAD Center of Excellence for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism in Djibouti (seconded by the State Dept.). Marc taught for many years at The Fletcher School (Tufts University), and was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace. He also was a Bellagio Center Fellow in 2019, where he worked on his forthcoming book, Marley’s War: Youth, Terror & Pop Culture in Sierra Leone.
Marc’s latest book is Trust-Based, Qualitative Field Methods: A Manual for Researchers of Violent Extremism. His latest report is Youth and the Field of Countering Violent Extremism.
Based in the Washington, DC area, he currently works as a consultant. Among his current consultancies is serving as Global Advisor – Youth and Peacebuilding for UNHCR, where he is providing strategic and technical advice for a regional peacebuilding program for youth from South Sudan.