Imara Ajani Rolston is a doctoral student based in the Department of Social Psychology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His doctoral research is a critical exploration of the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s (NMF) use of the Community Dialogues as both an HIV/AIDS prevention and social cohesion building methodology in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Beyond AIDS prevention and addressing xenophobia and racial injustice, Mr Rolston’s scholarship is particularly focused on the contribution of Community Dialogues in reshaping the responsiveness of municipalities in order to ensure basic human rights and greater access to essential services and resources. It is through this prism that Mr Rolston explores the ways in which strategic grassroots dialogue and community organizing aimed at addressing significant contextual challenges like HIV/AIDS and xenophobia can in turn serve to enhance grassroots democratic practice and potentially contribute to the evolving global democratization discourse.
Mr Rolston brings over 12 years of professional experience to his doctoral studies. His experience ranges from restorative justice focused youth work in Toronto, Canada with Peacebuilders International to the development and management of large scale regional gender justice and women’s rights programs in the Horn and East Africa with Oxfam. He has also spent a number of years working on multilateral and bilateral AIDS intervention frameworks and national programs including the Global Fund to Fight Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM). Aside from his professional work, Mr Rolston is an emerging film maker, using film to explore the history of race and racial inequity in Canada. His first film An(other) Antilles was funded and supported by Black Artists in Dialogue (BAND) and featured in the TD Banks 2013 Then & Now Black History Month Festival.
Mr Rolston’s doctoral research has had a direct impact on the work of global and local NGOs employing Community Dialogues. He has published online articles on Xenophobia in South Africa and currently sits on the board of Greenpeace Africa.