African Studies Scholar Talks Eritrean Youth on NPR


The African Studies Center, an affiliated regional center of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, was featured in an April 21 episode of the NPR program “All Things Considered.”

The segment, entitled “To Escape Military Service, Thousands Of Young Eritreans Flee To Europe,” consisted of a conversation between NPR host Robert Siegel and Dan Connell, a visiting scholar at the Center.

In the interview, Connell said:

“The the original program, set up in the mid-1990s, called for 18 months of conscription. But after they fell into a border war with Ethiopia in the late 1990s, the president extended it indefinitely. And at this point, they have no idea how long they’ll serve…you have thousands of people who are coming out every month from Eritrea. And when you go into the camps and you look at the population, more than half are between 16 and 24. So they are losing a generation. They’re losing a workforce. They’re losing the rank-and-file of their own military, and I think this is producing a crisis inside Eritrea as well.”

You can hear the entire interview here.

The ASC is federally funded under Title VI as a National Resource Center to promote language and area studies in Africa. Learn more here.