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Ambassador John Campbell, PhD

Ambassador John Campbell, PhD

Ambassador John Campbell is the retired United States Ambassador to Nigeria. As the chief of mission from 2004 to 2007, Ambassador Campbell led one of the largest U.S. embassies in Africa with the presence of many federal agencies. He participated in the formulation of policy and led in its implementation in the Africa country then of greatest strategic importance to the United States. He coordinated U.S. observation of the national elections in 2007.

From September 2009 until his retirement in September 2021, Ambassador Campbell was the Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, New York, and Washington, D.C. Ambassador Campbell wrote articles and op-ed pieces, contributed chapters to larger studies and published four books, Nigeria: Dancing on the Brink in 2010 (updated edition in 2013), Morning in South Africa (2016), and Nigeria and the Nation State: Rethinking Diplomacy with the Post-Colonial World (2020).

He also (co-authored with Matthew Page Nigeria: Everything You Need to Know, published in by Oxford in 2018. His case studies on Nigeria and South Africa were published in 2013 in a Council on Foreign Relations study of democratic transitions, Pathways to Freedom. Among other publications is a Council on Foreign Relations Special Report, U.S. Policy to Counter Nigeria’s Boko Haram. His Nigeria case study was published in The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Security (2013). In 2016, he published “Boko Haram and Nigerian State Weakness” in John Harbeson, ed., Africa in World Politics. He wrote a daily blog, “Africa in Transition,” and managed the Nigeria Security Tracker and the Sub-Saharan Security Tracker.

Ambassador Campbell regularly made scholarly presentations and served on academic panels and conducted roundtables for Council members. He consulted with the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and agencies within the U.S. intelligence community. The British, Canadian, Danish, German, and Norwegian governments have also consulted him, as have private companies and non-governmental organizations. He regularly lectured in academic and government settings. He served on the board of the American University of Nigeria from 2008 to 2020.

Ambassador Campbell holds a PhD in British History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an MA in European History from University of VA, and a BA from the University of Virginia.