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Robert Kevlihan (2009)

SIS PhD Kevlihan

Originally from Dublin, Ireland, I am both a practitioner and scholar of development and international relations, with over 15 years experience researching, teaching and working in Europe, North America, Africa and Asia. My research focuses on human security and the nexus of governance, development and security, with particular reference to state-building and development. My management experience includes leadership roles in both donor organizations and operational NGOs overseeing humanitarian, governance and conflict prevention programming. My first book, entitled "Aid, Insurgencies and Conflict Transformation: When Greed is Good" was published in 2013 as part of Routledge's Security and Conflict Management Series edited by Fen Olser Hampson, Chester Crocker and Pamela Aall. I have also published a number of book chapters as well as single and co-authored pieces. Journals include Nations and Nationalism (co-authored with Donnacha Ó Beacháin), Ethnopolitics, African Studies Review (co-authored with Andrea Lari), The European Journal of Development Research and Irish Studies in International Affairs. Where possible, I also look for opportunities to publish in practitioner relevant outlets and have published short pieces on the Insight on Conflict website, as well as Humanitarian Exchange (published by the Humanitarian Practice Network of the UK's Overseas Development Institute, and Education Action, published by ActionAid UK. Forthcoming articles include work to be published in International Studies Quarterly (co-authored with Karl De Rouen Jnr and Glen Biglaiser), Disasters and Studies in Transnational States and Societies.

My experience at SIS

I had the good fortune to pursue my Ph.D. at the School of International Service at American University between 2003 and 2009. My first two years were spent full-time on campus in Washington, D.C, with the remaining time spent in field work and research overseas. My time on campus provided me with the opportunity to distill thoughts, ideas and theories into a manageable but ambitious research program while also providing my with a supportive intellectual environment in which to learn. For me, one of the strengths of the SIS Ph.D. program was that all Ph.D. candidates were guaranteed the same funding for the first three years of the program. This, together with the relative small number of doctoral students in any given cohort, created strong and collaborative bonds between Ph.D. candidates that I value to this day. The large and diverse faculty at SIS also provided ample opportunities for us to seek out and find strong and committed mentors and diverse Ph.D. committees that reflected our often quite different research interests. Even after moving overseas, SIS remained my intellectual home, with my doctoral committee providing the anchor and support I needed to see my dissertation through to a successful conclusion.

Current Position: Executive Director, Kimmage Development Studies Centre, Dublin, Ireland

Curriculum Vitae

My LinkedIn profile

My Academia profile

Selected Publications


  • Rob Kevlihan (2013), Aid, Insurgencies and Conflict Transformation, When Greed is Good London: Routledge Studies in Security and Conflict Management series, Series editors: Fen Osler Hampson, Chester Crocker and Pamela Aall. Blog post on the book available here ; abstract available here.

Peer Reviewed Articles

Book chapters

Practitioner focused work

Book Reviews
  • Rob Kevlihan (2008), Review of Adeeb Khalid, Islam after Communism, Religion and Politics in Central Asia, Berkeley, 2007 (University of California Press), in Totalitarianism and Democracy, vol. 5, no. 1, pp135-137.