About Eric James
Eric is an aid worker, social entrepreneur and university lecturer. He began his career in international development with USAID in 1995 and has since worked for a number of NGOs and consulted for the UN. His professional experience spans over twenty countries including Afghanistan, Albania, Burundi, East Timor, Iraq, Liberia, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. He has also taken on a number of roles in capacity building and organizational development.
His first book is based on these experiences working in disasters and conflict zones. It has been these experiences, as well as his early start as an Eagle Scout, that have made him a strong believer in human rights and in particular protecting children’s wellbeing and development.
He has earned degrees from the University of Illinois, the London School of Economics, Tuft’s Fletcher School and the University of Manchester where he earned his PhD in International Development. It was his primary research in Afghanistan, stemming out of his prior work there, that led to his second book about the country.
Eric is adept at crossing the gap between scholarship and practice. Previously, he taught at the University of Manchester's Institute of Development Policy and Management (now the Global Development Institute), Richmond University, DePaul University's (both the Program on Refugee & Forced Migration Studies and the School of Public Service) and at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs (where he co-directed an annual disaster response simulation).
He is also a certified trainer/facilitator in leadership and management. He was an Affiliated Expert of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) and a Research Fellow at the World Engagement Institute and currently he is a Board Member of RedR-USA. In 2020, he was recognized by Rotary International's Humanitarian STAR Award for his work in disaster relief and recovery.
His interest in improving the lives of others and in innovation led him to serve as an Advisor/Teaching Fellow at Singularity University in 2012. He also holds two patents for devices related to clean drinking water. Along with his prior work, it was these combined experiences that led to his third book on innovation.
Currently, he is the co-founder/executive director of Field Ready. He also regularly consults, starts innovative ventures and shares his knowledge with others with a deep passion for positive change.
Specialties: Working in difficult environments
Skills: Leadership and Management, assessments and start-ups, teaching and lecturing
Highest Degree: PhD in International Development
Courses Taught: Humanitarianism, Peace and Conflict, International Development, Security Studies and Leadership/Management
Media/Interviews: CBS, CNN, Fast Company, RoundTable and VOA, among others
Other Interests: Being outdoors, sailing and travel (nearly 90 countries so far)
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