Dan Connell is available for speaking engagements with or without an accompanying slide show. For information about fees and availability, contact the author directly.

1) ERITREAN REFUGEES AT RISK: WHY THEY FLEE & WHAT THEY FACE: Thousands of Eritreans have fled a repressive dictatorship over the past 15 years, making the once promising new nation one of the world’s largest per capita producers of refugees. To reach a safe haven they risk imprisonment in Eritrea’s medieval jails, kidnapping and torture by human traffickers, anonymous deaths on perilous desert and sea crossings, and more.

Then comes the struggle to gain refugee status from countries looking to lock them out. Yet still they come. This 45-60 minute presentation draws on recent research in North America, Europe, Israel, Est and South Africa, and South and Central America to put a human face on the crisis, map its corridors, and explore options to deal with it.

2) REDEEMING THE FAILED PROMISE OF ERITREA: In the mid-1990s, Eritrea was a bright spot on the African horizon. Despite the impact of 30 years of war with Ethiopia, from which it won its independence in 1991, the continent's newest nation seemed to be a model of multi-ethnic and religious harmony, growing gender equality, corruption-free administration, and debt-free development.

But with the Isaias Afwerki government refusing to implement a Constitution, postponing national elections, arresting critics by the thousands, shutting down the press, and banning independent parties and nongovernmental organizations, it has turned into a highly repressive police state from which tens of thousands have fled. This 45-minute talk traces the arc of Connell’s experiences with the independence movement from the 1970s to the present and sketches out what is needed to recapture the democratic impetus with which it began.


Dan Connell, a visiting scholar at Boston University’s African Studies Center and a retired senior lecturer in journalism and African studies at Simmons College, has written about Eritrea for nearly 40 years. He is the author or editor of ten books, including Against All Odds: A Chronicle of the Eritrean Revolution (1997), Conversations with Eritrean Political Prisoners (2005), and a Historical Dictionary of Eritrea (2010). He is currently working on a book on the Eritrean refugee crisis.

Connell has given lectures, readings, and slide shows at more than 150 public forums in the U.S., Europe, Africa and the Middle East, including:

  • African Studies Association (2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014)
  • Center for Strategic & International Studies (2004)
  • Chatham House, London (2007, 2012)
  • Clark University (2002)
  • Cornell University (2004)
  • JFK School of Government, Harvard University (2004, 2006)
  • Oxford University (2014)
  • Pretoria University Law School (2008, 2009, 2011, 2014)
  • Rutgers University (2002)
  • Ryerson University, Toronoto (2013)
  • Simmons College (2003, 2006, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
  • University of Cape Town (2005)
  • University of San Diego (2001)
  • University of London (2014)
  • University of Texas (2008)
  • University of Winnipeg (2011)
  • University of Witwatersrand (2005)
  • World Affairs Council (1999, 2003)

See CV for details.