Michelle D. Gavin is the Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. She was formerly the managing director of The Africa Center, a multidisciplinary institution dedicated to increasing understanding of contemporary Africa. From 2011 to 2014 she was the United States Ambassador to Botswana, and served concurrently as the United States Representative to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), prior to that she was a Special Assistant to President Obama and the Senior Director for Africa at the National Security Council, where she led major policy reviews of Sudan and Somalia, and helped to originate the Young African Leaders Initiative.
Earlier in her career she worked in the U.S. Senate, where she was the staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s subcommittee on African affairs, director of international policy issues for Senator Russ Feingold, and legislative director for Senator Ken Salazar. Gavin received an MPhil in international relations from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes scholar, and earned her BA from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where she was a Truman scholar. She serves on the board of directors of Points of Light and Emerging Public Leaders.