Back to top

Daniel Esser Assoc Professor School of International Service

Send email to Daniel Esser
SIS - School of International Service
SIS - 221
Additional Positions at AU
Faculty Affiliate, Center for Latin American and Latino Studies
Faculty Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Center
PhD, Development Studies; MSc, Development Management (Distinction), London School of Economics and Political Science


Professor Esser is currently on research leave from American University to work on an externally funded project on the political economy of learning in aid organizations. He continues to serve as Chair (2021-23) of the American Association of Geographers' Development Geographies Specialty Group. The 2019 Distinguished Service Awardee of the AAG's Asian Geography Specialty Group and 2015 SIS Scholar-Teacher of the Year, Professor Esser has directed the SIS Olson Scholars program and taught in American University's Honors program for several years.

Professor Esser's research has been published in leading peer-reviewed journals such as World Development, Urban Studies, the Journal of Modern African Studies, the Journal of Social Policy, The Professional Geographer, Environment and Urbanization, Global Public Health, Third World Quarterly, Ethics & International Affairs, Communication Theory, and the Journal of Business Ethics, as well as in two Oxford Handbooks and other edited volumes. He has been a non-resident Fellow at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) in 2017-18; Academic Resident at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center in 2013; Drugs, Security and Democracy (DSD) Postdoctoral Fellow of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) in 2012-13; SPURS Research Fellow at MIT in 2003-04; and Carlo Schmid Fellow at the International Labour Office in 2001-02.

Professor Esser has acquired additional third-party funding from Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the British Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Mellon-MIT Program on NGOs and Forced Migration, the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung), and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). As a consultant, he has advised the World Bank, the OECD, USAID, the Federal Government of Germany, FLACSO, and CARE International on program planning and has led evaluations of multi-million donor portfolios. In 2006-08, he worked full-time as an International Civil Servant with UNESCAP in Bangkok and UNDP in New York.

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

AU Experts

Area of Expertise

Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Mexico, Mozambique, Peru, legitimacy, political crises, global health, cities, local governance, complex emergencies, post-conflict reconstruction, aid effectiveness, United Nations, development effectiveness

Additional Information

Daniel Esser's research has been published in leading academic journals, edited volumes, and several handbooks. He investigates effectiveness of international development in the context of local, national and global policies and programs, as well as political conflicts rooted in competing claims for legitimacy in fragile states such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Mozambique. His latest research focuses on the political economy of learning in bilateral aid organizations such as USAID, FCDU, and other foreign aid donors.

For the Media

To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Related Links