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Seth D Kaplan

Professorial Lecturer, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University

  • Campus Location: Washington DC


Seth D. Kaplan is a Professorial Lecturer in the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, Senior Adviser for the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT), and consultant to organizations such as the World Bank, the State Department, USAID, United Nations, and African Development Bank.

Mr. Kaplan is currently working on the first United Nations World Bank Joint Flagship Study (on conflict prevention) and leading efforts to update USAID’s Fragility Assessment Prototype and Application Guidance. He is also managing an eight country comparative study for the United States Institute of Peace on transitions in fragile states. Mr. Kaplan is the author of two books: Fixing Fragile States: A New Paradigm for Development (Praeger Security International, 2008), which has been widely read by policymakers and think tank analysts because of its unique framework for analyzing and addressing the structural constraints that hold back countries such as Pakistan, Syria, Somalia, and the Congo; and Betrayed: Promoting Inclusive Development in Fragile States (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), which examines how to promote inclusive development and poverty reduction in fragile states. At IFIT, he is developing a series of guidebooks for governments and development actors to better navigate regime transitions and crises. He runs the website

Mr. Kaplan has published widely on development issues. His articles have appeared in newspapers and journals such as the Washington Quarterly, The American Interest, Orbis, Harvard International Review, Middle East Policy, Journal of Democracy, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem Post, and China Business Review. He has lectured on state building and development at conferences and universities around the globe, including at the Global Economic Symposium (GES), the Overseas Development Institute, the World Bank, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

As a consultant, Mr. Kaplan has worked with donors, foreign policy specialists, and government officials internationally to formulate aid strategies and foster development in fragile states. He played a major role in shaping the 2009 European Report on Development (published jointly by the European Commission and the European University Institute) and the Canadian International Development Agency’s strategy in fragile states. In addition, he has helped prepare policy frameworks in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and in other member nations of the European Union.

A Wharton MBA and Palmer scholar, Mr. Kaplan has worked for several large multinationals, including Procter & Gamble, Compaq Computers and Komatsu. During seven years in Shanghai, he founded four companies. He lived in Asia for 11 years and speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and Japanese.