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Our directors

Rachel Beatty Riedl

Incoming Director

Rachel Riedl headshotRachel Beatty Riedl is the Einaudi Center's incoming director and John S. Knight Professor of International Studies and professor in the Department of Government

Her research interests include institutional development in new democracies, local governance and decentralization policy, and authoritarian regime legacies, with a regional focus in sub-Saharan Africa.

Her newest book—From Pews to Politics: Religious Sermons and Political Participation in Africa, coauthored with Gwyneth McClendon—was published in September 2019. Authoritarian Origins of Democratic Party Systems in Africa (2014), her previous book, won the African Politics Best Book Award.

Riedl is currently a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Nantes and a Fulbright scholar. Previously, she was director of the Program of African Studies and an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University.  


Wendy Wolford

Acting Director

Wendy Wolford headshotWendy Wolford is the Einaudi Center's acting director and Cornell's Vice Provost for International Affairs. She is the Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Professor of Global Development in the Department of Development Sociology.

Wolford came to Cornell in 2010. She has served as the faculty director for economic development at the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, where she co-led CARE-Cornell and Oxfam-Cornell collaborations.

She spent 2016-17 as a Fulbright scholar in Mozambique and Portugal and is currently working on a book on the politics of inequality and rural development in Brazil and Mozambique.

Wolford is the author or editor of numerous books and articles, including This Land Is Ours Now: Social Mobilization and the Meanings of Land in Brazil (2010) and To Inherit the Earth: The Landless Movement and the Struggle for a New Brazil (2003), coauthored with Angus Wright.

In 2019 she won a Distinguished Career Award from her professional association.