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Charles Cadwell
Institute Fellow
  • Profile
  • Outside Affiliations
  • Charles Cadwell is an Institute fellow in the Center on International Development and Governance at the Urban Institute, a center he led from 2007 to 2019.

    An international development expert and lawyer with 30 years' experience in economic reform, deregulation, research oversight, and nonprofit leadership in the US and developing countries, Cadwell joined Urban in 2007. His work focuses on governance reform, aid effectiveness, and the production and application of policy research to real-world development problems. Current projects include integrating political economy insights into large donor projects in Moldova, Nepal, and Kenya, supporting development of a foreign aid strategy for the government of Indonesia, and collaboration on ways that smart cities in India, Indonesia, and Vietnam can better apply technology to improving health outcomes in urban areas.

    Cadwell has also worked in the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, the Office of Advocacy at the US Small Business Administration, in private law practice, and—in the pre-internet era—in the export information business. From 1990 to 2006, Cadwell was director of the IRIS Center in the Department of Economics at the University of Maryland. IRIS conducted research on economic development and reform in developing countries, working with reform leaders in more than 70 countries to understand and improve governance and economic policies.

    Cadwell is a graduate of Yale College and the National Law Center at the George Washington University. He has been an adjunct professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University.

    Research Areas
    Global issues
    Nonprofits and philanthropy
    Opportunity and ownership
    Evidence-based policy capacity
    International development and governance

    Outside Affiliations
    Local Public Sector Alliance
    Board member
    Center for Values in International Development
    Board member
    Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3/4G District of Columbia

    Urban experts are permitted and empowered to work and affiliate with outside organizations, whether serving on boards, volunteering their time, or providing advice and counsel. And Urban welcomes visiting scholars, nonresident or affiliated fellows who work for other organizations. These outside affiliations enrich our perspectives and our learning environment. We also require all paid and unpaid experts to disclose their affiliations to Urban leadership and follow rules governing their engagement to ensure transparency for audiences and independence of experts.