Jennifer Olmsted is an ACOR-CAORC post-doctoral fellow in fall 2018. She is a Professor of Economics and Business and the Director of the Social Entrepreneurship Semester at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Her research while at ACOR centers on gender, displacement, and economic and social sustainability.
Growing up in Beirut and witnessing the beginning of the Lebanese civil war shaped Dr. Olmsted’s research interests, which focus on the short and long term gendered impact of armed conflict on economic outcomes. After completing her Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, she received her Master’s in Agricultural Economics and her PhD in Economics from the University of California, Davis. Her PhD dissertation involved living in the West Bank and conducting a household survey in the greater Bethlehem area. Since completing her PhD, Dr. Olmsted has written extensively on the topics of gender, economics, and globalization, with a particular focus on the Middle East.
Dr. Olmsted has extensive experience in the policy arena as well, having taken a leave from Drew to serve as the Gender Advisor at the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), among other positions. She was guest editor of, and contributing author to, a 2014 issue of Feminist Economics, focusing on gender and economics in Muslim communities. She has also published numerous articles, in a range of books and journals, including in the journals History of the Family, Journal of Development Studies, Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, Women’s Studies International Forum, and World Development.
While at ACOR she plans to extend her study of gendered conflict economies with a focus on the Syrian crisis. Her particular focus will be on analyzing the ways in which social sustainability is undermined by armed conflict, as well as identifying concrete strategies that individuals and refugee communities deploy in order to survive and hopefully thrive, despite severe hardships and challenges. Key to this process will be gaining a better understanding of the intersection between psycho-social and economic well-being and the degree to which humanitarian organizations integrate these two angles into their responses.