Dr John Gay brings about 50 years experience working and living in Africa. Since his retirement in 2001, Dr. John Gay has been associated with the Episcopal Divinity School and Boston University. In 2003 he organized a tour of seminary students in South Africa and Lesotho, and also administered a consultation on contextual theology at the Episcopal Divinity School. John has worked on several research and development and study programs for the UNDP, World Bank, FAO, and UNICEF as well as providing technical assistant to several Southern African governments.
Up to his retirement in January 2001 John worked with the Sechaba Consultants on social and economic analysis in Lesotho, worked until March 1992 with the Transformation Resource Centre, as a missionary appointed by the American Episcopal Church. Transformation is an ecumenical organization working for peace, justice and economic development. Before joining Transformation, he worked as a consultant with development projects in Lesotho, as well as in Botswana, Ethiopia and Tanzania. His focus has been on helping people at the bottom of society express their knowledge, goals, problems and beliefs to those in governments and in foreign aid agencies that are planning their future and at the same time, trying to help local colleagues develop research skills of their own. In Lesotho, He worked with agricultural development projects.
Chairperson, social science division, Cuttington University College, Suacoco, Liberia, 1958-65, 1966-68, 1970-73, and dean of instruction, 1958-60, Dr. John served as a missionary for the Episcopal Church at Cuttington University College, with intermittent periods of teaching and studying in the United States. He was at first in charge of the entire academic program, but when a Liberian was appointed to the post of dean of instruction he moved to the position of chairperson of the social sciences division. During his time at Cuttington, he taught social science, conducted his own research, engaged in extension work in the surrounding communities, and supervised student research.
John taught at the National University of Lesotho in sociology and African studies, engaged in his own research and taught students how to be researchers, and for two years he was a Fulbright lecturer. During his first four years in Lesotho, before joining the University, he taught courses in the Anglican theological seminaries in Lesotho and South Africa, on a voluntary basis.
In 1986 John had a fellowship at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he studied the relation between social and economic development in Africa and new ideas in theology. Prior to that he had fellowships at Cambridge University (1975-76) and Stanford University (1965-66), where he wrote up research done in Liberia, and broadened his understanding of research methodology and findings from other research projects.
Dr. Gay has continued to assist with ongoing research at Sechaba Consultants, particularly in the areas of chronic poverty, small businesses and democracy, both in Cambridge and in visits to Lesotho, South Africa and Namibia in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005. John is still associated with the Afro barometer democracy study and the Southern African Migration Project. His experience and deeply understanding of the issues Africa now faces have brought him to the International Institute for Justice and Development where. John seat at the IIJD Advisory committee.