Sameeksha Desai

Associate Professor
Associate Director, Institute for Development Strategies

(812) 856-4647
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Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D., George Mason University, 2008
  • M.S., George Mason University, 2003
  • B.A., Northwestern University, 2001


  • Economic Development, Globalization and Entrepreneurship
  • National & International Policy - LLC


Dr. Sameeksha Desai joined O'Neill's faculty in 2010. She specializes in private sector development in conflict/postconflict recovery and political instability. In her research, she explores the dynamics of entrepreneurship from the perspective of destructive entrepreneurship, a theory seeking to understand the political economy of postconflict reconstruction. Desai serves as academic director for SPEA's Rwanda study abroad program.

Desai is the (U.S.) co-chair of the Transatlantic Policy Consortium. She is affiliated with the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum and previously with the Ratio Institute in Stockholm. She was a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute of Economics in Jena, Germany.

Desai has received numerous awards, fellowships, and grants for her ambitious work on political context of market outcomes, such as market entry, innovation and investment. Her work has been supported by a diverse range of organizations, such as the United Nations World Institute for Development Economics Research, the U.S. Army, the Kauffman Foundation and Microcredit Summit Campaign.


  • O'Neill Teaching Award for Graduate Instruction (2012), Indiana University
  • Principal Investigator, Entrepreneurship in Postconflict Recovery, funded by the Kauffman Foundation, 2010
  • Principal Investigator, Entrepreneurship in Iraq, funded by the US Army
  • Ratio Institute Grant Award (2007), Colloquium for Young Social Scientists
  • University of Paris Grant, European School for New Institutional Economics

In the News

Selected Works