Marc Sommers

2003 Margaret Mead Award Recipient

Marc Sommers is the recipient of the 2003 Margaret Mead Award. Sommers is recognized for his book, Fear in Bongoland: Burundi Refugees in Urban Tanzania (2001), an ethnography of Burundi refugee youths living clandestinely and in fear of ethnic genocide in Dar es Salaam. Sommers exemplifies Mead’s tradition of making anthropology meaningful and accessible to a broadly concerned public, as evidenced by the wide range of nominating letters which attest to the value of his “insight into the mechanisms by which fear and violence are maintained and transmitted across generations.” As one nominators observes, Sommers’ work is “immensely readable and of interest to a wide audience—to those interested in the world or urban alienation, to those trying to understand African cities, to those working with and for refugees and other crisis affected populations, to those with a love of Africa and to those who recognize the critical importance of youth to development and our future.” Sommers received his Ph.D. in anthropology from Boston University in 1994. Since 1995, he has been a research fellow at the Boston University’s African Studies Center, a Youth at Risk Specialist for CARE USA, and an international consultant on humanitarian and postwar concerns.