Stephen was awarded the OBE in 2010, “for services to Africa and higher education”. In the same year, despite his inability to observe disciplinary parameters and his reputation as underground and ‘arthouse’, the International Studies Association at its 50th annual conference awarded him the title Eminent Scholar in Global Development, an award previously won by Mahmood Mamdani, Dipesh Chakrabarty and Ali Mazrui. At the same time, the University of Johannesburg elected him Honorary Professor of Humanities.

Stephen has been twice been Dean at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London – where he also holds the Chair in International Relations. He has held senior positions at other British universities and been Honorary Professor at the University of Zambia; twice Visiting Fellow at Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford; and held visiting appointments at African, American, European, New Zealand, and Taiwanese universities. He has given the Maurice Webb lectures in Durban, South Africa; the Chapman lecture in Auckland, New Zealand; the Hans Singer lecture in Bonn, Germany; and the Kenyon Institute lectures in East Jerusalem, and the Palestinian cities of Ramallah and Nablus.

Formerly an international civil servant with the Commonwealth Secretariat, Stephen helped pioneer modern electoral observation at the Zimbabwean independence elections and has worked throughout Africa on diplomatic and academic assignments. He lived in Zambia from 1980 to 1985, at a time when the ANC had its exile headquarters in Lusaka. He remains active in diplomatic work and is the only academic member of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office ‘Ginger Group’ on Africa. He has also worked closely with the UK Ministry of Defence, has consulted for the US State Department and other governments, and been active in several plausibly-named ‘back channel’ diplomatic manoeuvres in Africa, China, and the Middle East.

As the firstborn son of refugees from war-torn China, Stephen grew up in New Zealand and was highly active in the country’s literary renaissance of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and in the idealistic student protests of the day – becoming national student President in 1973. He was prominent as a young editor and publisher of poetry and newspapers before leaving New Zealand in 1976 for graduate studies at King’s College in the University of London. Stephen has published 28 scholarly books, 5 volumes of poetry, and 2 novels. To this day, he conducts a multi-national philanthropic martial arts project with a special emphasis on Africa. He has been a model for Savile Row suits and lives in Pimlico with his wife, the literary scholar Dr Ranka Primorac, one Fender Stratocaster guitar, and too many watches.