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Michael M. Cernea  

Nonresident senior fellow in Foreign Policy

Michael M. Cernea is a nonresident senior fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution where he works with the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement. His current work focuses on internally displaced populations, climate change-caused resettlement, human rights and international development.

Prior to Brookings, Dr. Cernea worked at the World Bank, starting in 1974 as the Bank's first-ever sociologist and serving as its Senior Adviser for Social Policies and Sociology until 1997. He elaborated several of the World Bank's fundamental social safeguard policies, including the involuntary resettlement policy; some of these have been subsequently widely adopted by many other multinational and bilateral development agencies. He also carried out development work and field social research in several countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

Dr. Cernea's teaching activities include his current position as Research Professor of Anthropology and International Affairs at George Washington University; formerly, he was a Visiting Professor at Harvard University and a Resident Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, CA. Since 1992, he is also an appointed Honorary Professor of Resettlement and Social Sciences at Hohai University, Nanjing, China and in 2011 was also appointed as Emeritus Professor of Resettlement at China's Three Gorges University in Yichang.

For his scholarly contributions in sociology, Dr. Cernea was elected in 2012 as full member of Romania’s Academy of Sciences (Academia Română). The American Anthropological Association and the international Society for Applied Anthropology have honored his work on crafting public social safeguard policies with the Kimball Award for Public Policy (1998) and the Bronislaw Malinowski Prize (1995). Among Dr. Cernea's publications are more than 20 books and monographs on development issues, and numerous studies on social organization, land tenure systems, social methodologies for development. He developed the internationally-used analytical, predictive and diagnostic IRR Model on the "Impoverishment Risks and Reconstruction" in population displacement and resettlement. His books include Putting People First: Sociological Variables in Development (1985, 1991), Anthropological Approaches to Resettlement: Policy, Practice, Theory (ed. w. Scott Guggenheim, 1993), Social Organization and Development Anthropology (1996), and The Economics of Involuntary Resettlement (1999). Three of his books on resettlement have been translated and published in China; his recent book is Can Compensation Prevent Impoverishment? Reforming Resettlement by Investments and Benefit-Sharing (ed. w. H.M. Mathur).

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