Gérard Prunier was born in Paris and studied both in France and in the US. After serving in the French Army he emigrated to Canada and later went to Africa as a Canadian aid worker, serving in Uganda. He fled the country in 1972 during the fighting which followed the attempt at overthrowing Idi Amin Dada. He became a political refugee in Tanzania where he survived by driving trucks. After traveling widely throughout Eastern Africa for several years he went back to Europe and completed a PhD on the expulsion of the Asians from Uganda which he had witnessed back in 1972 .
Gérard Prunier joined the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in 1984 and wrote extensively on East African contemporary history and politics, with a particular focus on conflicts. Over the last thirty years he has written around 170 articles and eight books in four languages. His main books in English have been The Rwanda Crisis (London/Hurst.New York/Columbia U. Press.1995), Darfur : an Ambiguous Genocide (London/Ithaca.Hurst/Cornell U. Press.2005) and From Genocide to Continental War:The “Congolese” Conflict and the Crisis of Contemporary Africa (London/Hurst.2009). The book was co-published by Oxford University Press America in New York under the title Africa’s World War: Rwanda, the Congo and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe. He is at present finalizing a book tentatively called Understanding Contemporary Ethiopia: the Meles Zenawi Legacy. It should be published by Hurst and Co in 2013.
Gérard Prunier worked as Director of the Centre Français des Etudes Ethiopiennes in Addis Ababa between 2001 and 2006. He retired from CNRS at the end of 2009 and became a political and business consultant on East and Central African matters. He is a Fellow of the Atlantic Council and his next work will be a history of statelessness in Somalia since the fall of the Siad Barre regime.