It is with frightening disbelief and deep sadness that we announce the death of Professor Margaret Aderinsola Vogt who died in the late hours of Tuesday 23 September 2014. To many of us the late Margaret Vogt was a teacher, mentor, Sister, benefactor, and above all a friend. As a first class academic and researcher, her books and writings on civil wars in West Africa particularly that in Liberia, served as the Roseta Stone that other scholars on the subject like Funmi Olonisakin, Abiodun Alao, Ismail Rashid, Comfort Ero and Adekeye Adebajo, among others built on. It was also through her inspirational efforts that the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs established a Strategic Studies unit. After a wonderful career at the Nigerian Institute for International Affairs (NIIA), she later went on to work in other strategic institutions in Nigeria, including serving as the Director of Studies at the Command and Staff College, Jaji, the Nigerian War College and the Institute for Strategic Studies, Kuru, also in Nigeria. The late Professor Vogt later moved to the International Peace Academy in New York, where she headed IPA’s Africa Programme.
Professor Vogt has the unique distinction of being, perhaps the only person that has worked very closely with virtually all, key international organisations working on Africa. She was the Chief of Staff of the African Union Commission Chairperson shortly after the transition of the Organisation of African Unity into the new African Union. Prior to that, she had assisted in the conceptualization and facilitation of the adoption of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mechanism on conflict management.
With the United Nations, she worked as Deputy Director of the Africa I Division in the Department of Political Affairs at the United Nations Secretariat and later as the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General at the United Nations Political Office for Somalia. Her last assignment at the United Nations was as Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Central Africa. She no doubt blazed the trail as one of very few African women to have occupied some of the highest offices of the United Nations in Africa.
Although in the last few years she had major challenges with her health, she bore it with remarkable candour and grace. She played down her deteriorating health condition and continued serving the interest of the continent to the very final days of her life. Her passion had always been that Africa is not a problem to be solved, but a voice to be heard, and she raised her own voice high above most others who saw the continent as a basket and hopeless case. She was deferential without being obsequious in debate; she was a true and courageous African, a captivating and electrifying intellect, a trustworthy friend and wonderful host. We at the ALC join the family in saluting her memory, not only for what she was able to accomplish during her life, but for what she would still have been had she been left undisturbed to continue her onward match to the hall of fame.
Rest well, our sister, our benefactor and our friend.