Michael Fairbanks was a U.S. Peace Corps teacher in Kenya (1979-1981). He is a Fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University; a director of the Akilah Institute for Women, the first women’s college in Rwanda; a director of the Rwanda Biomedical Center, which oversees that nation’s healthcare system. He has been a Chief Executive in both the private and philanthropic sectors.
He has advised two dozen presidents in Latin America, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Asia on their export competitiveness and private sector development. He worked in Colombia during “the Apertura,” El Salvador after the peace accord, Serbia after the Yugoslav wars, Rwanda since the genocide, Afghanistan during the war, and Haiti before and after the earthquake in 2010.
He is Senior Advisor since 2001 to President Paul Kagame of Rwanda. He co–authored Harvard Business School’s landmark book on business strategy in emerging markets, “Plowing the Sea, Nurturing the Hidden Sources of Advantage in Developing Nations,” with a Foreword by Professor Michael Porter; and edited, “In the River They Swim: Essays from Around the World on Enterprise Solutions to Poverty,” Foreword by Pastor Rick Warren. He helped to conceive, and contributed to, “Culture Matters,” edited by Sam Huntington and Larry Harrison at Harvard. He has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, The Hill, Fox News, Huffington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Philanthropy Magazine, and The Harvard International Review.
He is a citizen of the United States, the European Union (Ireland), and Rwanda.