Mr. Karl Fickenscher

USAID Chair/Visiting Professor

Karl Fickenscher is a career U.S. Senior Foreign Service officer (Minister Counselor) serving with United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  Prior to joining the faculty at Eisenhower, Mr. Fickenscher served as the Acting Assistant Administrator and Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Bureau for Development, Democracy and Innovation (DDI).  DDI is USAID’s largest bureau, which provides a broad range of technical expertise and assistance to USAID's field missions around the globe. Previously, he oversaw DDI's Private Sector Engagement Hub and the Center for Economics and Market Development.  Prior to that, Karl served as the Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment (E3) where he led the Offices of Private Capital and Microenterprise, and Development Credit.  Since 2017 Karl also served as the USAID Administrator’s “Plus One” in direct support of her role as a Board Member for both the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

Before returning to serve in USAID’s Washington DC headquarters in October 2017, Mr. Fickenscher served overseas for 20 years.  Most recently Mr. Fickenscher was the Deputy Coordinator for USAID's Power Africa initiative based in Pretoria, South Africa, where he led the initiative's energy technical, policy, and transaction teams. Prior assignments with the U.S. Government include MCC Resident Country Director for Tanzania, USAID Mission Director and Deputy Mission Director in Armenia, and USAID Regional Legal Advisor in Nairobi, Kenya followed by Pretoria, South Africa covering USAID Missions in several countries throughout East and Southern Africa, respectively

Before moving to a career in international development, Mr. Fickenscher worked for several years in the private sector as an attorney with the firm of Morrison & Foerster in its offices in San Francisco, London, and Tokyo. In this capacity, his focus was on international business transactions and intellectual property rights, with a significant additional amount of domestic pro bono litigation for the poor as well as legal advice for non-profit organizations.

Mr. Fickenscher received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and also holds a master's degree in African Area Studies from the University of California at Los Angeles. He also studied under a Rotary International fellowship in the M.Sc. in International Relations programme at the University of Zimbabwe, and has a bachelor's degree in Government and Politics (Soviet Studies) from the University of Maryland at College Park.