Kitchen, 89, a former African studies expert, died in Washington, D.C. on March 20, 2010.
Kitchen was born in Fossil, Oregon on June 28, 1920. She studied journalism and political science at the University of Oregon, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the first woman editor of the Oregon Daily Emerald campus newspaper. She then joined the editorial staff of the Reader’s Digest for two years. Mrs. Kitchen worked as a political analyst for the Office of Strategic Services in Egypt during the latter years of World War II and the early postwar period. From 1951 to 1958, she served as an intelligence researcher for the Department of State’s Division of Research for the Near East, South Asia, and Africa. She was editor of the Washington-based monthly journal Africa Report from 1960 to 1968, and of the fortnightly African Index from 1978 to 1982.
From 1981 until mid-1996, she was the Director of the African Studies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she published 191 issues of CSIS Africa Notes, a monthly briefing paper series which had subscribers in more than 40 countries. During her 15 years as the Program’s director, she hosted some 200 CSIS African Studies conferences and roundtables (including at least 35 “conversations” with African heads of state).
She has authored, coauthored, or edited 11 books, and her articles on African political dynamics and the U.S. policy-making process have appeared in periodicals worldwide. At various times, she was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Ford Foundation’s Study Group on Southern Africa, the Institute of International Education’s South African Education Program, the Advisory Council of the African Development Foundation, the U.S. African Studies Association, and the governing council of the United States-South Africa Leader Exchange Program (USSALEP). In 1985-1986, she served as consultant to the Secretary of State’s bipartisan Advisory Committee on South Africa.
In addition to several years of residence in Egypt and extensive travel in both North and sub-Saharan Africa, she lived in Iran from 1969 to 1972.
Her 1944 marriage to Jeffrey Kitchen ended in divorce in 1985. Survivors include son Jeffrey Kitchen Jr. of Washington, D.C., daughter Lynn Kitchen, M.D. of Frederick, Maryland, son and daughter-in-law Erik and MaryAnn Kitchen of McLean, Virginia, and granddaughter Jennifer Kitchen.
(Editor’s Note: This obituary was contributed by Jeffrey Kitchen Jr.)