Daniel Maxwell

  • Henry J. Leir Professor in Food Security
  • Director, Master of Arts in Humanitarian Assistance (MAHA) Program at The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the Fletcher School of International Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

Daniel Maxwell, PhD, is a professor and director of the Master of Arts in Humanitarian Assistance (MAHA) Program at The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the Fletcher School of International Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Over the past thirty years, he has combined the leadership of food security, livelihoods and humanitarian programming with applied research and teaching. He has managed or advised programs at grass roots, national, and regional levels with focus on strategic planning, program analysis and design, and monitoring and evaluation in livelihoods, food security, and resilience, emergency preparedness and response, and in humanitarian policy. Over this time he has led inter-disciplinary applied social science research on famine, food security, livelihoods systems under stress and the humanitarian system—demonstrated by a strong track record of peer-reviewed publications, and by the impact of his research on policy and practice. Maxwell's research interests include famine, food security, livelihoods; food aid; humanitarian programs in assistance and protection; emergency preparedness, information systems and contingency planning; humanitarian policy; governance and human rights. His teaching has focused on humanitarian action, humanitarian policy, livelihoods, and food security in crises.

Watch His Address at the 2016 World Health Summit


  • Ph.D., 1995, Development Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • M.Sc., 1986, Adult Education and International Agriculture, Cornell University
  • B.Sc., 1977, Agricultural Sciences, Wilmington College

Research Activities

Research Grants: 2006–2015

  1. Planning from the Future in Humanitarian Action. DANIDA/ Swedish MOFA (PI). 2014-2016. Review of the humanitarian “landscape” through multiple case studies, and recommendations for the World Humanitarian Summit
  2. Measuring Resilience in Somalia. SomRep (PI). 2014-2016. Collaboration with an NGO consortium in Somalia to measure resilience
  3. Lessons Learned from the Somalia Famine. Gates Foundation, USAID/OFDA (PI). 2013-2016.  Retrospective analysis of the causes, impacts and lessons learned from the Somalia famine of 2011-2012.
  4. Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium. DFID/UKAID (PI). 2012–2017.  Longitudinal study of livelihood recovery and service provision in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  5. Integrated Famine Response. UNICEF–Somalia (PI).  2011–2012.  Technical assistance to UNICEF during the Somalia famine
  6. Food Security Response Analysis CIDA (PI).  2011–2012.  Concurrent analysis of the ways in which agencies determine how to respond to food security crises, given a new range of options
  7. Livelihoods Change over Time (II) SIDA (PI). 2011–2013.  Longitudinal study of livelihoods and change in Tigray
  8. Assessment Capacity Support (ACAPS) Assessment Capacity Project (Co-PI). 2010–2012.  Study of the use of evidence in humanitarian response
  9. Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security International Research Institute  (Co-PI).2010–2011.  Review of climate change and humanitarian action. Was intended to lead to further collaboration but did not
  10. Disaster Risk Reduction  USAID (Co-PI). 2009–2013. Study of disaster risk reduction activities in three countries
  11. Livelihoods Change over Time (I) World Vision (PI). 2008–2010.  Qualitative and participatory study of livelihoods in Tigray
  12. Targeting in Complex Emergencies World Food Programme (PI).  2007–2009. Commissioned study for WFP on targeting practices in conflict situations
  13. Corruption in Humanitarian Assistance Transparency International (PI).  2007–2009.  Commissioned study for TI on corruption in humanitarian response
  14. Review of South Sudan Program WFP (PI). 2006–2007. Commissioned study for WFP on its South Sudan program

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