Dr. Keith Jennings is a human rights and democratic development specialist. He currently serves as the National Democratic Institute’s (NDI) Senior Associate and Regional Director for Southern and East Africa. Over the past decade, he has represented NDI in a wide range of programming, working on governance, rule of law, health systems strengthening, extractive industries, civil society, political party and election observation programs in over 40 countries. Dr. Jennings has managed several of NDI’s largest programs, having served as the Institute’s Country Director in Ghana, Indonesia, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa and Zambia.
Dr. Jennings is the founder of the African American Human Rights Foundation, a national network of African Descendant human rights activists especially concerned with economic, social and cultural rights. The Foundation has hosted the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Racial Discrimination during his visits to the United States and supported the participation of African descendent peoples in preparatory meetings for the World Conference on Racism held in Durban, South Africa in 2001. In 2004 and 2008, the Foundation, in coordination with the NAACP National Voter Fund, coordinated briefings for members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) international observation missions to the U.S. Presidential elections. Under Dr. Jennings’ leadership, the Foundation has sponsored the King Holiday Human Rights Prayer Breakfast for the past 10 years and sponsors an annual Human Rights Symposium at the King Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dr. Jennings received his PhD from Clark Atlanta University and his BA from Fisk University. He has lectured nationally and held appointments as adjunct professor at American University, Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse School of Medicine, where he taught courses on foreign policy, health and human rights, world politics, comparative politics and Black politics. Dr. Jennings has written numerous popular and scholarly articles on black politics, human rights and democratic development. He is also a frequent media commentator on foreign affairs. Dr. Jennings is a 2005 recipient of the Interfaith Alliance’s Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award and a 2006 recipient of the National Center for Human Rights Education, Human Rights Defenders Award.