Catalyzing innovative research and instruction on global development.

The Robert A. and Ruth E. Polson Institute for Global Development supports theoretical and applied social science research. We fund projects and working groups that address issues ranging from economic inequality to discursive politics, contributing to Cornell’s leadership in global development. 

Established in 2001 within the Department of Global Development, the Polson Institute has enhanced and extended the efforts of the department members, creating space for collaboration within and between Global Development, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the Cornell University community. Through seminars, workshops, and grants we not only plant seeds for research and academic collaboration but contribute to educational opportunities for students outside of the classroom.

Since its inauguration in 2001, the Polson Institute has been helmed by a Director and Steering Committee drawn from the Department of Global Development. It works to support the research of faculty in the Department of Global Development and to help them build collaborations across and beyond the university through a series of programmatic initiatives that include, among others, a Small Grants Program, Research Working Groups, and a Visiting Faculty Program. 

 

Our Team

Fouad Makki
Fouad Makki

Director of the Polson Institute for Global Development; Associate Professor

Department of Global Development

Fouad Makki
Uneven and Combined Development
Nature and Modernity
State Formation and Development
Sarah Day
Sarah Day

Administrative Assistant

Department of Global Development

Sarah Day
Event coordination
Administrative support

Polson Steering Committee members

Philip McMichael
Philip McMichael

Professor Emeritus

Department of Global Development

Philip McMichael
Food regimes
Food sovereignty
Agrarian questions
John Sipple
John Sipple

Director of Graduate Studies; Professor

Department of Global Development

John Sipple
Pk-12 education
Sociology of communities
Policy
Scott Peters
Scott Peters

Professor

Department of Global Development

Scott Peters
Political theory & public philosophy
Community organizing & development
Oral history
Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue
Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue

Professor

Department of Global Development

Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue
Education, Development and Inequality
Population and Development
Sociological Research Methods
Jenny Goldstein
Jenny Goldstein

Assistant Professor

Department of Global Development

Jenny Goldstein
  • goldstein [at] cornell.edu
Political ecology
Digital geography
Southeast Asia

Ruth & Robert Polson

The Polson Institute for Global Development was named for Robert Polson (PhD, Wisconsin) and Ruth Polson (PhD, Cornell), former faculty of Cornell University and active community members. Robert Polson served as faculty member and Chair of the Rural Sociology department at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences during his 40-year Cornell career. During this time he acted as one of the founders of Cornell's International Agriculture Program. He was a respected leader in the Rural Sociology Society, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and the American Sociological Association. Ruth Polson taught English and Music at Ithaca High School while completing her MS and PhD in English Literature. The establishment of the Institute reflects the commitment of its benefactors: to the community and international connections forged through collegial research, teaching, and the study of social change.

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240K Warren Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
Phone: 607-255-1682
Fax: 607-254-2896

Stay Informed

The latest news, highlights and events with the Polson Institute

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News

Polson Institute to host food waste-reduction workshop
Cornell’s Polson Institute for Global Development will host “Reducing Campus Food Waste: Innovations and Ideas,” a lecture and workshop May 2-3 on campus.

News

Climate change expert Natalie Mahowald will deliver the keynote address on removing atmospheric carbon at the 2019 Polson Institute Future of Development symposium.

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News

The Cornell Alliance for Science’s Global Leadership Fellows program teaches teams how to function across differences, so that workers can thrive in a culture of trust and respect.
  • Department of Global Development

News

Renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs will present a lecture, “Reclaiming America’s Democracy,” on Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. in Statler Auditorium, Statler Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

  • Department of Global Development
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News

Cornell’s Polson Institute for Global Development held a symposium May 11 exploring how science and policy intersect in driving global sustainable development.
  • Department of Global Development

Seminar Series

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Seminar

Coup vs Fraud in Bolivia's 2019 Presidential Election: The Great Debate
Polson Institute for Global Development Seminar Bolivia’s 2019 presidential election led to a huge upheaval and radically different perceptions on whether the political dynamics at play represented a fraudulent election or a classic coup d'état...
  • Polson Institute
  • Polson Institute for Global Development
  • global development
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Seminar

Polson Institute for Global Development Seminar In this seminar, Holly Jean Buck will present on her research program which focuses on rural futures and participation in environmental future-making. After Geoengineering: Climate Tragedy, Repair...
  • Polson Institute
  • global development
  • Department of Global Development
Pat Mooney

Seminar

Polson Institute for Global Development Seminar Series The potential to harness new Hi-technologies such as Big Data, AI, robotics, gene editing, synthetic biology, etc. is obviously enormous. Yet, many social movements and civil society...
  • Polson Institute
  • Polson Institute for Global Development
  • Department of Global Development
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Seminar

Polson Institute for Global Development Seminar Series Well-meaning development interventions often have problematic and unintended long-term consequences. In this lecture, Dr. Copeland explores a characteristic instance of this by looking at...
  • Global Development
  • Department of Global Development
  • Polson Institute