Alden Young

2023 Templeton Fellow - Africa Program

Alden Young is a 2023 Templeton Fellow in the Africa Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Alden is also the Vice Chair and an associate professor of the African American Studies Department and a faculty member of the International Development Studies program of the UCLA International Institute. A political and economic historian of Africa, he is the author of “Transforming Sudan: Decolonization, Economic Development and State Formation” (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Young is particularly interested in the ways in which Africans participated in the creation of the current international order and has research interests on both sides of the Red Sea. He has done extensive fieldwork in Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates.

Young’s current research project examines how Sudanese intellectuals and businessmen conceptualized the rise of the Arab Gulf beginning in the 1970s and built economic, political, and labor relationships between Sudan and the Gulf region. He is also engaged in two collaborative research projects:    a study of post-partition conflicts in the Horn of Africa (e.g., Sudan-South Sudan and Ethiopia-Eritrea) with political scientist Michael Woldemariam, and a study of East African ideas of federation. Along with Nathalie Puetz of NYU Abu Dhabi, Young has been awarded a research grant by the Social Science Research Council to conceptualize the Red Sea as a region of study.

A frequent contributor to international media outlets such as Al Jazeera, Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Policy, Young is a non-resident fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and was a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study of Princeton University for the 2019–2020 term.


Alden Young is an associate professor of African American Studies at UCLA, where he also holds secondary appointments in the Sociology Department and the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability. Young is also a standing member of the faculty in the International Institute, where he teaches in the International Development Studies program. Alden Young is a 2023-2024 Templeton Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia as well as a non-resident fellow of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He has been a fellow of the Berggruen Institute and a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is the author of Transforming Sudan: Decolonization, Economic Development and State Formation (Cambridge University Press 2017), paperback release 2020. He has published numerous academic journals and writes frequently in popular forums like Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and Noema Magazine.