Daniel G. Maxwell

Daniel G. Maxwell

Feinstein International Center, Tufts University
114 Curtis Street, Suite 4800, Somerville, MA 02144
Research/Areas of Interest:

Humanitarian action; Resilience, livelihoods, food security, and the measurement of food security; Food assistance; Emergency preparedness, information systems, and contingency planning


  • M.S., Cornell University
  • Ph.D., Development Studies and Economic Sociology, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • B.S., Wilmington College


Daniel Maxwell is the Henry J. Leir Professor in Food Security, a courtesy appointment with the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy; the program director of the Master of Arts in Humanitarian Assistance (MAHA) at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and Fletcher; and the research director at the Feinstein International Center at The Friedman School. Maxwell leads the research program on food security and livelihoods in complex emergencies. In 2016-2017, he served as the Acting Director of the Feinstein International Center. His recent research focuses on the re-emergence of famines in the 21st century and the politics of analyzing and declaring famine, as well as food security and resilience programming and measurement, and livelihood systems under stress.

Prior to joining the faculty at Tufts, Dan worked in East and West Africa for two decades in humanitarian agencies and research institutes in Uganda, Ghana and Kenya. His most recent position prior to joining the faculty at Tufts was deputy director for eastern and central Africa for CARE International.

He is the author, with Nisar Majid, of "Famine in Somalia: Competing Imperatives, Collective Failures," (Oxford University Press, 2016). He is the co-author, with Chris Barrett of Cornell University, of "Food Aid After Fifty Years: Recasting Its Role," (Routledge, 2005), and co-author with Peter Walker, of "Shaping the Humanitarian World," (Routledge, 2009). He teaches humanitarian action, humanitarian policy, and food insecurity in situations of crisis and chronic vulnerability.

Areas of expertise

Economic Development
Human Rights
Humanitarian Affairs
International Environment & Energy
International Law & Organizations
International Politics
Negotiations & Conflict Resolution
Political Development

Professional Activities

  • Deputy Regional Director: CARE-International, East/Central Africa Regional Management Unit
  • Country Representative for Uganda: Mennonite Central Committee
  • Regional Program Coordinator: CARE-International, East/Central Africa Regional Management Unit
  • Program Assistant: Quaker United Nations Office
  • Dairy Extension Officer, Mara Region: Government of Tanzania and Mennonite Central Committee
  • International Studies Association (ISA)

Other Affiliations

  • Action Learning Network for Accountability and Perform and (ALNAP): 2017-2019
  • International Scientific Committee—Action Contre la Faim (ACF): 2014-2016
  • Emergency Review Committee—Integrated Phase Classification Analysis: 2014–present
  • Resilience Measurement Technical Working Group—FAO/Food Security Information Network: 2013-present
  • Action Learning Network for Accountability and Performance (ALNAP) (Member of Board of Directors)
  • International Association of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (PHAP)
  • International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA)
  • African Studies Association (ASA)

Courses taught

Selected Publications and Presentations


Daniel Maxwell and Nisar Majid. 2016. "Facing Famine: Somali Experiences in the Famine of 2011.Food Policy. Vol. 65 (December) pp. 63-73.

Daniel Maxwell and Nisar Majid. 2016. Famine in Somalia: Competing Imperatives, Collective Failures, 2011-2012. New York: Oxford University Press.

Daniel Maxwell, Bapu Vaitla, and Jennifer Coates. 2014. "How Do Indicators of Household Food Insecurity Measure Up? An Empirical Comparison from Ethiopia." Food Policy. 47: 107-117.

Daniel Maxwell, John Parker, and Heather Stobaugh. 2013. "What Drives Program Choice in Food Security Crises? Examining the ‘Response Analysis’ Question." World Development 49(Sept): 68-79.

Helen Young and Daniel Maxwell. 2013. "Participation, Political Economy and Protection: The Governance of Food Aid in in the Darfur Region of Sudan." Disasters 37(4): 555-578.

"Market Information and Food Insecurity Response Analysis." Food Security. Vol. 1(2) pp.151–168.

"Measuring Food Insecurity: Can an Indicator Based on Localized Coping Behaviors be Used to Compare Across Contexts?" Food Policy Vol. 33(6), pp.533-540.

"Global factors shaping the future of food aid: Implications for the World Food Programme." Disasters, Special Supplement on the Sudan Food Aid Forum (forthcoming).

"Towards A Global Food Aid Compact," (co-author) Food Policy (2006).

Maxwell, Daniel G. "Why Do Famines Persist?: A Brief Review of Ethiopia 1999-2000." IDS Bulletin 33, no. 4 (2002): 48-54.

Maxwell, Daniel G and Ben Watkins. "Humanitarian Information Systems and Emergencies in the Greater Horn of Africa: Logical Components and Logical Linkages." Disasters 27, no. 1 (2003): 72-90.

Maxwell, Daniel G and Catherine Longley. "Livelihoods, Chronic Conflict and Humanitarian Response: A Review of Current Approaches." Natural Resource Perspectives 89, (2003).

Maxwell, Daniel G and Laura Hammond. "The Ethiopian Crisis of 1999-2000: Lessons Learned, Questions Unanswered." Disasters 26, no. 3 (2002): 262-279.


Daniel Maxwell and Nisar Majid. Famine in Somalia: Competing Imperatives, Collective Failures, 2011–12. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Shaping the Humanitarian World. Series on Global Institutions. London: Routledge. (with Peter Walker).

Maxwell, Daniel G and Christopher Barrett. Food Aid After Fifty Years: Recasting Its Role. Routledge, 2005.


Maxwell, Daniel G. "The Importance of Urban Agriculture to Food and Nutrition." In Annotated Bibliography on Urban Agriculture, eds. Wietse Bruinsma and Wilfrid Hertog, ETC Urban Agriculture Programme, 2001.