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Robin Broad Research Professor-in-Residence and Professor Emerita SIS: Environment, Development and Health

Doctor of Philosophy; Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; Princeton University.
Master in Public Affairs; Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; Princeton University.
Bachelor of Arts; Economics, Environmental Studies (double major); Williams College.

Dr. Robin Broad, Professor of International Development, established and heads SIS’s International Development Program’s two unique professional tracks: Rethinking Globalization & Development, and Environment & Development with a focus on social, environmental, and economic accountability. She came to AU with a wide range of professional experiences – from international economist in the US Treasury Department and US Congress to work with civil-society organizations in the Philippines and El Salvador.

Among the highlights of her work:

• Latest book: The Water Defenders: How Ordinary People Saved a Country From Corporate Greed (Beacon Press, March 2021) received Duke University’s Juan Mendez Human Rights Award and was chosen as a best book of 2021 by Foreign Affairs and by the Progressive. Also available in paperback (March 2022) and audio, as well as a Philippine edition(Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2021) and a Spanish-language edition (Grano de Sal Press, 2022).

• Recipient of John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2018)

• Recipient of the International Studies Association's J. Ann Tickner Award (2016) for “high-quality, pioneering scholarship that pushes the boundaries of the discipline with a deep commitment to service, especially teaching and mentoring.”

• Recipient, American University’s Green Teacher of the Year and the recipient of four other awards from SIS for her teaching and scholarship.

• An active "scholar participant" in the movement to create a more just and sustainable economic globalization, she is currently on the Boards of Directors of Focus on the Global South and Earthworks, an Associate Fellow at Vermont Law School’s New Economy Law Center, and a Fellow at the Samdhana Institute.

• Conducted extensive fieldwork in the Philippines and elsewhere in Southeast Asia and in El Salvador, and elsewhere in Central America.

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

Building on training in development economics and ecology, Dr. Broad’s work has evolved to what she terms “trans-disciplinary” research. Her lens is also multi-level, moving from local to national to global – with specific foci related to the following sub-fields:

  • The public and private structures of global economic governance.
  • The impact of these structures of governance on people, their environments, and wellbeing.
  • The social movements that are challenging the current structures of global economic governance.

Dr. Broad’s current research centers on socially, environmentally, and economically responsible policies for extractives/mining (with a focus on El Salvador and other countries that have put in place mining regulations) and for agriculture (with a focus on the Philippines and basic, subsistence grains).


Selected Publications

Dr. Broad is widely-published across a variety of academic and policy journals (including Journal of Peasant Studies, World Development, University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, Review of International Political Economy, & Foreign Policy) and media outlets including The New York Times and the Washington Post as well as a variety of popular publications. See cv (pp. 6-21) for a comprehensive list.  See links from this Profile for details on her most recent release as well as pre-2021 books.

  • “From Extractivism towards Buen Vivir: Mining Policy as an Indicator of a New Development Paradigm Prioritizing the Environment,” with SIS Phd student Julia Fischer-Mackey, Third World Quarterly (2017).
  • “Corporate Bias in the World Bank Group's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes: A Case Study of a Global Mining Corporation Suing El Salvador,” University of Pennsylvania International Law Journal 36 (2015).
  • “Poorer Countries and the Environment: Friends or Foes?” with John Cavanagh, World Development, 72 (2015).
  • "The Development and Agriculture Paradigms Transformed: Reflections from the Small-Scale Organic Rice Fields of the Philippines," with John Cavanagh, Journal of Peasant Studies, 39 (2012).
  • “Research, Knowledge, and the Art of ‘Paradigm Maintenance’: The World Bank’s Development Economics Vice-Presidency (DEC),” Review of International Political Economy 13 (2006).


SIS-OR The Water Defenders Book Event


Robin Broad, John Cavanagh : Busboys and Friends! Virtual Dinner with Andy Shallal Book Event


International Solidarity Campaign with the anti-mining struggle in El Salvador

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

See cv (p. 4) for full list of External Awards and AU Awards.

Dr. Broad’s external awards include:

  • John Simon Guggenheim Fellow (2018)
  • North American Labor History Conference’s Bernath Award for the Support and Discussion of American History, Diplomacy, and Foreign Affairs (2016). 
  • International Studies Association’s J. Ann Tickner Award for “high-quality, pioneering scholarship that pushes the boundaries of the discipline with a deep commitment to service, especially teaching and mentoring” (2016).
  • First runner-up for the $50,000 Canadian Lionel Gelber Prize for the “best [English-language] book in the field of international relations”.
  • Finalist, World Hunger Year, for best book.
  • Council on Foreign Relations: Life Member.
  • Council on Foreign Relations, International Affairs Fellow.
  • Henry Luce Foundation, Fellow.

Grants and Sponsored Research

See cv (p. 4) for a comprehensive list.

Dr. Broad’s grants include:

  • Fulbright Specialist Roster Candidate (2016-2023).
  • Ford Foundation, Consultant and Grantee.
  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Grant for Research and Writing in International Peace and Cooperation, two-time awardee.
  • Henry Luce Foundation-funded “Grant to Isolated Southeast Asian Scholars Program.”
  • National Science Foundation, Research Grant.

AU Experts

Area of Expertise

Globalization; development; environment; World Bank Group, IMF, WTO; corporate social responsibility; mining, trade and investment fair trade; international labor rights; grassroots social movements; El Salvador; Philippines; right to water

Additional Information

Prof. Robin Broad is an expert in the political economy of development. Her latest research and advocacy work focus on “responsible mining policy” in El Salvador, the Philippines, Ecuador, and Costa Rica; on investor-state disputes at the World Bank Group’s arbitration venue; and on “pro-water” social movements and government policies around the world. Prior to coming to AU, Prof. Broad served at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, as the senior economist for then-Rep. Charles Schumer, at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and with civil-society organizations in the Philippines and El Salvador. After receiving the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, she co-authored The Water Defenders: How Ordinary People Saved a Country from Corporate Greed (Beacon Press, 2021). Prof. Broad is also the author, coauthor, and editor of books that include: Development Redefined: How the Market Met Its Match (Paradigm Publishers, 2009); Global Backlash: Citizen Initiatives for a Just World Economy (Rowman and Littlefield, 2002); Plundering Paradise: The Struggle for the Environment in the Philippines (University of California Press, 1993); and Unequal Alliance: The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Philippines (University of California Press, 1988). Prof. Broad is widely published in publications including The Journal of Peasant Studies, Third World Quarterly, Foreign Policy, World Development, World Policy Journal, The Nation, the New York Times, The Washington Post, Triple Crisis, and The Hill. She has been quoted in the New Yorker and the Financial Times, among others.

For the Media

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

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