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Raul Roman

Raul Roman

Adjunct Lecturer


Raul Roman is the founder and executive director of DAWNING, a DC-based international organization focused on human-centered qualitative social science on environmental and social issues across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He leads multidisciplinary teams into the field to work on research projects that bring together the social sciences with other branches of science, the arts, and the humanities. Over the past 10 years he has conducted extensive on-the-ground investigations to understand and explain the human side of some of the greatest challenges of our time: migration and displacement in Mexico, Bangladesh, Nicaragua, and the United States; climate-related ‘wicked problems’ in Niger, Mongolia, Kenya, Costa Rica, and Peru; human trafficking in Ghana, Malaysia, and Kenya, among other projects. Raul incorporates documentary photography, graphic novel narratives and filmmaking as critical tools towards a more human –and humanistic- understanding of these issues. Raul’s projects with DAWNING have consistently been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, BBC, Politico Magazine, El Pais, and other major media outlets in eight languages.Over the past 25 years, Raul has served as an advisor and consultant to multilateral organizations (World Bank, InterAmerican Development Bank, United Nations agencies), foundations, nonprofits, governments, and companies –mostly as a specialist in social science research methods in difficult-to-access corners of the Global South, and in a variety of sectors such as rural and agricultural development, climate-related challenges, human rights, migration, and governance.Raul has over two decades of teaching experience. For the past 16 years he has taught a core graduate course titled “Research Methods in Global Affairs: Victories and Pitfalls” over 35 full semesters at the SAIS campus in Washington, DC.Before Johns Hopkins, Raul taught at Cornell University (for 5 years at the Ithaca campus, where he received two teaching awards, and for 2 years at the DC campus), at the School of Information at the University of Washington in Seattle (1 year), and at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles (1 year).Raul received his MS and PhD degrees at Cornell.



  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • South Asia
  • Southeast Asia
  • Central America
  • South America
  • Eastern Europe


  • Applied Social Science Research Methods
  • Social Anthropology
  • Climate Change
  • Environmental Justice
  • Human Rights
  • Indigenous Rights
  • Women’s Rights
  • Human Trafficking
  • Science Communication
  • Scientific Literacy


  • English
  • Spanish

Additional Resources

In the News

An Unsolved Murder Amid Costa Rica's Indigenous Land Disputes

Professor Raul Roman wrote about his investigation into Indigenous land disputes in Costa Rica.

Can We Turn a Desert Into a Forest?

Professor Raul Roman wrote about his research on the Great Green Wall in Niger.