Professional Position: Professor of Political Science
Company: Davidson College
Location: Davidson, NC
Ken Menkhaus, Ph.D. is a professor of political science at Davidson College in North Carolina, providing courses focused on international and comparative politics as well as the nonprofit sector. Prior to his tenure at Davidson, Ken taught for two years at The American University in Cairo, Egypt, from 1989 to 1991. In 1993-1994, he served as special political advisor to the U.N. Operation in Somalia, was a visiting civilian professor at the U.S. Army Peacekeeping Institute in 1994-1995 and was awarded a visiting scholar position at the U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute in 2011-2012. In 2004, he received a U.S. Institute of Peace grant for his research on armed conflict in the Horn of Africa.
Much of Ken’s professional work has been in applied settings. He serves as a consultant for the United Nations, the World Bank, U.S. government, non-governmental organizations, policy research and advocacy groups, and the private sector. This work includes country risk analysis, conflict assessments, project monitoring and evaluation, and political economy assessments. He is a Senior Fellow with the Rift Valley Institute, where he directed their annual Horn of Africa course from 2008 to 2014.
One of Ken’s teaching passions is the course Philanthropy and the Non-Profit Sector, which includes a grant-giving exercise requiring students to review grant applications from local non-profits and disburse $10,000 in grant awards. With the award money generously provided by Doris Buffett's Learning by Giving Foundation, his course served as a prototype for her Foundation's support to teaching effective giving at 35 other American universities. Ken received his B.A. at Xavier University and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in International Studies.
Diagnosed with ALS in 2018, Ken brings his vast expertise and knowledge of both public policy and the nonprofit sector while providing unique perspective as a person living with ALS.