Robin Broad

Research Professor, Department of Environment, Development, and Health

Dr. Robin Broad is Research Professor of International Development, School of International Service, American University. She has done extensive on-the-ground research and policy work on mining and development in El Salvador and the Philippines. Dr. Broad works closely (through the global coalition International Allies, which she cofounded) with civil-society groups around mining bans and environmentally, socially and economically responsible development. For this work, she was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.

She is author/co-author of numerous books and articles on sustainable development, natural resources and mining. Her most recent award-winning book, The Water Defenders: How Ordinary People Saved a Country from Corporate Greed (coauthor John Cavanagh, Beacon/Penguin Random House), chronicles how El Salvador became the first country to ban metals mining to save its watersheds while defeating an investor-state challenge at the World Bank Group. The book is available also in audio and in the Philippines (Ateneo de Manila University Press), and in a Spanish-language edition (Grano de Sal, 2022). The Water Defenders won Duke University’s Juan Mendez Human Rights Award and a 2023 Philippine National Book Award, and was named as a best book of 2021 by Foreign Affairs and the Progressive.

Dr. Broad worked as an international economist in the U.S. Treasury Department, as senior economist for then-Congressman Charles Schumer, and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She received her PhD and MPA from Princeton University’s then-Woodrow Wilson School and her BA (in economics & ecology) from Williams College.

Current Projects

  • Environmental defenders across the globe vs extractivism/neo-extractivism — with case-studies of El Salvador and the Philippines


International Allies


Focus on the Global South

Samdhana Institute