Rev. Robert A. Dowd, C.S.C.

Associate Professor of Political Science & founding Director of the Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity
University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Indiana

A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Dowd received his doctorate in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles and his masters of divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley.

Dowd specializes in African politics, with particular country expertise on Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria. Most of his research has focused on religion, democracy, and development, but he has also written on ethnic politics and the factors that make ethnic identity more or less politically salient.

The Ford Family Program, founded by Dowd in 2008, is part of Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies. Its mission is to integrate teaching, research and grassroots community engagement in parts of the world where extreme poverty continues to be a major challenge. Through the Ford Program, Notre Dame forges strategic partnerships with institutions of higher education, non-governmental organizations, governmental organizations, and religious institutions. The first of these partnerships was in Uganda and Kenya.

He is the author of several articles and the book, Christianity, Islam, and Liberal Democracy: Lessons from Sub-Saharan Africa (Oxford University Press, July 2015).

Before joining the faculty at Notre Dame in 2004, Father Dowd served at Holy Cross Parish in Nairobi, Kenya and worked in Campus Ministry at Notre Dame.