OGDEN -- Weber State University professor John Mukum Mbaku has been named a nonresident senior fellow for the Brookings Institution, based in Washington, D.C.
Mbaku becomes one of 200 or so experts who, through the nonprofit institution that has been hailed as one of the world's most influential think tanks, will be called on to conduct research and advise policymakers and world leaders.
"This is a huge honor," said Cliff Nowell, acting chairman of the John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics.
"Brookings fellows are people at the top of their profession. It's for people who have serious academic and public policy accomplishments. They are producing materials used by the most important decision makers in the world."
Mbaku's area of specialty is the economic and political transformation of Africa, and the continent's transition to democratic governance.
Originally from Cameroon, Mbaku has conducted extensive research on Africa, producing more than 80 journal articles and authoring or coediting more than 20 books, Nowell said.
"The quality and quantity of what he produces makes an impact on world leaders," he said.
Mbaku was asked to serve the one-year Brookings nonresident fellowship after being nominated by a peer and could be nominated for additional terms.
"As an economist, you aspire to something like this," said Mbaku, a WSU professor since 1991. "It's very prestigious to be affiliated with the Brookings Institution. I'm excited about it. It's an opportunity to do a lot of work and meet a lot of people."
Mbaku already is editing a book for Brookings, and this summer will co-host an international conference in Washington, D.C., on Africa's Nile River. His association with Brookings will allow him to bring in experts from Africa. After the conference, he will help write a book based on research presented at the conference.
"We are going to design the book to be accessible to ordinary people and to policymakers," Mbaku said.
David Malone, accountancy department associate professor and acting department chairman, said the fellowship will give Mbaku the resources to do important research.
"A lot of people don't really understand what an academic job is," Malone said.
"Besides teaching, the role is the pursuit of knowledge through our discipline. This gives Doctor Mbaku access to resources that will allow him to perform his role at a much higher level."