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Wendy Wolford

Acting Director
Wendy Wolford


Wendy Wolford was named Cornell's vice provost for international affairs in March 2018 and began serving as acting director of the Einaudi Center in July 2018. She is the Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Professor of Global Development in the Department of Development Sociology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Her research addresses issues within and between the political economy of development, agrarian studies, social mobilization, land reform, and political ecologies of conservation.

Wolford came to Cornell in 2010 and 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 was co-leader of a three-year theme project on contested global landscapes at Cornell’s Institute for the Social Sciences.

As vice provost, she provides strategic leadership for global engagement and internationalization; oversees and manages Cornell’s global partnerships; and supports, facilitates, and coordinates global activities for colleges, faculty, staff, and students, including risk assessment, travel and safety. She chairs the university’s Internationalization Council, International Gift Review Committee, International Travel and Response Team, and the provost’s Working Group on Public and Global Activities. She also partners with Cornell units and divisions on globally focused teaching, learning, research, institutional data collection, and more.

Wolford is the author or editor of numerous books and articles, including To Inherit the Earth: The Landless Movement and the Struggle for a New Brazil (2003) with Angus Wright; This Land Is Ours Now: Social Mobilization and the Meanings of Land in Brazil (2010); and Governing Global Land Deals: The Role of the State in the Rush for Land (2013) with Jun Borras, Ruth Hall, Ian Scoones, and Ben White. She also co-edits the Cornell University Press series “Land: New Directions in Development, Territory and Environment” with Michael Goldman and Nancy Peluso.

Wolford received her BA in economics and international development from McGill University (1994) and her PhD (2001) in geography from the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining Cornell, she was a faculty member in geography at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (2001-10) and a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University (2004-05). 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.