Francis Lethem is Professor of the Practice Emeritus at the Duke Center for International Development (DCID), after stepping down after 9 years as its Director. He is also a Board member and Co-Director Emeritus of the Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center. His primary interests are in the areas of institutional design in relation to sustainable development, the design and management of sustainable development projects, project design for conflict prevention, and human resources development including capacity building in developing and transition countries.
Before joining Duke in 1994, Lethem worked for about 30 years at the World Bank in operations (human resources development and institutional development), as a policy adviser (regarding project generation and design including their social and capacity building aspects), and as adviser responsible for quality assurance of the Bank’s Eastern Africa project portfolio. Over the years, his work experience has been primarily in Africa and Latin America, though he also worked in the Middle East and in East and South Asia.
Lethem earned his doctorate in economics from Neuchatel University (Switzerland) in 1967 and is the co-author of World Bank Staff Working Papers on organization design, the consideration of human factors in development work, land tenure, and the management of technical assistance.