Princeton Lyman was a long serving US Diplomat who has become a leading expert on African politics and policy. He most recently served as President Obama’s special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan from 2011 to 2013; but before that had an extensive career in the foreign service that included stints as US Ambassador to Nigeria and to South Africa during the negotiations that lead to the end of Apartheid and the election of Nelson Mandela. And we do have an extensive conversation about his participation in those historic negotiations.
We spoke the day that news broke that Donald Trump was readying an executive order that would severely curtail refugee resettlement to the US, including from a number of Muslim majority countries. Princeton served as the top US official for refugee issues during the George H.W. Bush administration so we kick off discussing how those potential restrictions fit into the history of US refugee resettlement policy.
We then pivot to a longer conversation about his life and career, including his rather unique first name. It’s a good story — a classic one, actually.