In clear, engaging prose, Alexander reflects on her experiences from over a decade of international humanitarian aid work.Author Jonathan M. Katz notes: “In Chasing Chaos, Alexander takes us to a place where few outsiders can go, cracking open the rarefied world of humanitarianism to bare its contradictions – and her own – with boldness and humor.” Alexander has over 12 years of experience working with various NGO’s and UN operations.She received a Fulbright scholarship to research child soldiers in Sierra Leone in 2006; her research there was presented as expert evidence in the human rights case brought against former Liberian President Charles Taylor by the UN-backed Special Court.Alexander has also conducted research in places as fraught and far afield as Rwanda, Darfur, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Myanmar, South Sudan, Pakistan, Haiti and the Horn of Africa.Her candid – often irreverent – chronicle of aid work around the world provides a window into what happens after we see a crisis from afar, write a check or box up household goods, and hope that we have done good.
Jessica Alexander is an adjunct professor at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health, New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service, and the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs at Fordham University. She received a Masters of Public Health and Master of International Affairs from Columbia University in 2005. She is pursuing her Ph.D. at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, focusing her research on accountability in humanitarian action.
Previous Writer as Witness Texts
2014: The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media, by Brooke Gladstone
2013: Notes from No Man's Land, by Eula Biss
2012: The End of Country, by Seamus McGraw
2011: The Good Soldiers, by David Finkel
2010: The Moral Underground: How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy, by Lisa Dodson
2009: True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society, by Farhad Manjoo
2008: The Devil's Highway, by Luis Alberto Urrea
2007: The Ponds of Kalambayi, by Mike Tidwell
2006: Love in the Driest Season, by Neely Tucker
2005: Fragments of Grace, by Pamela Constable
2004: Newjack, by Ted Conover
2003: First They Killed My Father, by Loung Ung
2002: Savage Inequalities, by Jonathan Kozol
2001: Bad Land, by Jonathan Raban
2000: Almost a Woman, by Esmeralda Santiago
1999: My Own Country, by Abraham Verghese
1998: There Are No Children Here, by Alex Kotlowitz
WRITER AS WITNESS
STUDENT ESSAY COMPETITION
*Details will be posted soon regarding the 2015 WaW Student Essay Competition!
Read 2015 winner Andrea Lin's Writer as Witness Contest Essay: "It's a White-Washed Life."
Once you’ve read Chasing Chaos and have heard Jessica Alexander speak on Wednesday, September 9, you’ll have the opportunity to contribute your voice to the Writer as Witness Program.
Open to all College Writing students. Sponsored by the College Writing Program and AU Campus Store.
For more information, please contact John Hyman, Director of the College Writing Program, at email@example.com.
AU Store Discount
& Library Resources
Coming Soon: AU Library Resources for Chasing Chaos!
The AU Campus Store will be offering Chasing Chaos at a discount. Copies will also be available for purchase at the Campus Store during New Student Orientations, when you’ll have your first opportunity to talk with classmates about the text.