Mesfin Bezuneh is an agricultural economist with interests in food production and food security, resource and rural development economics, and environment and sustainable systems in agricultural sector. He earned his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Virginia Tech in 1985, and is currently Professor of Economics at Clark Atlanta University (CAU). He has over 20 years field experience in Africa and the Caribbean working on development issues as research economist, coordinator of Agricultural Research and Extension Project of USAID, lecturer fellow, and consultant under USAID, World Bank, and UN/FAO auspices. He has published numerous journal articles, and abstracts, unpublished papers, and research reports; all are empirical research based on primary-field work. He has been PI and/or Co-PI on numerous multi-year grants focused on research/extension/training, food security, income diversification and nutrition, poverty alleviation, project evaluation, farming systems research, and food aid and nutrition projects.
Professor Bezuneh's work in Africa started in 1983, when he received one of the NSF's dissertation awards to carry out field research in Kenya. Subsequently, he held a research and teaching fellow at Egerton University, Field Director for several projects that followed focusing on production and consumption/expenditure data (Kenya, Zambia). Following completion of his Ph.D. Program, he received a joint appointment at the University of Illinois-Urbana as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics, and in the International Agriculture Programs as Coordinator of the Farming Systems project of the Zambian Agricultural Research and Extension (ZAMARE) project of University Illinois and USAID. Professor Bezuneh was one of the long-term residents who were credited for the most successful Agricultural Research, Extension and Training Project in the region. His responsibilities included coordinating the on-farm research and extension, economic analysis, technical training of counterparts and others, and selecting and recommending Zambians for further study (graduate-M.S. & Ph.D.) in U.S. universities. Because of his expertise, and ability to work in a multi-discipline environment, Professor Bezuneh has been invited back to Zambia by the World Bank, Zambian government, and by UN/FAO/WFP to Africa to produce technical as well as policy papers over the years.Professor Bezuneh's work in the Caribbean started in 1992, when he collaborated on a USAID funded research projects to work in the Dominican Republic and St. Vincent. Since then, he has been Lecturer–Research fellow providing technical training on trade and sustainable development, Fulbright Scholar at Catholic University (Santiago, DR), and Co-PI of various USAID funded projects. In recent years, he completed two collaborative research projects, as PI, funded by USDA, under a cooperative agreement between CAU and Instituto Dominicanano De Investigaciones & Catholic University, Adaptation of the U.S. Food Security Module in the Dominican Republic, and Implications to the Caribbean and Beyond. His cumulative experience in the agricultural/commodity and food sector has lead to a number of international and regional (Africa & Caribbean) presentations and publications, and more recently to a co-authorship of a book with his Dominican collaborators & colleagues entitled Medicion de la Inseguridad Alimentaria en Republica Dominicana (April 2007). Currently, he is completing one of the USDA – Pilot Project in the Dominican Republic.
Professor Bezuneh has worked with over 30 graduate students as either major advisor or member of their thesis/dissertation committee. He was one of the five faculty selected to provide mentorship and lectures (on research methodology) for the University Mathematics, Science, Technology Education, and Research Program of USDOE at CAU.
He provides lecture/seminars on rural development in the "Short-Course" training program of the Office of International Program of the university.
He is an active member of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE) and American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA). He has just served two terms of three years service as member of the International Committee of AAEA. He is currently a member of the Communications/Publications Committee of AAEA. At Clark Atlanta, in addition to his research, teaching and administrative responsibilities, he provided leadership and "back-stop" to a number of multi-year institutional grants and sub-contracts focusing on Environmental Policy Education and Research (EPA funded), Health Financing and Sustainability Project (USAID funded) and Natural Resource Management Project (USAID funded).
Professor Bezuneh was a Fulbright Scholar (1997-98), lecture-research fellow, in the Dominican Republic where he provided technical training on project evaluation in the Ag. Sector, and lectured on Sustainable Development System at the Catholic University.
Recently, he completed a multimillion research grants as one of the five PIs of the Strategies and Analysis for Growth and Access (SAGA) Project of USAID which was implanted by Cornell and Clark Atlanta Universities throughout Africa. More specifically, Professor Bezuneh is the director of the Competitive Research Grants Component of SAGA.
Currently, he is the Director of the Washington Fellowship Program of the Young African Leaders Initiative of the U.S. government (Department of State) program that Clark Atlanta is implementing.
Professor Bezuneh speaks Amharic, Spanish, and could carry-on simple conversation in French, and Swahili.