Director, International and Area Studies and Director of Duke University Center for International Studies and Professor of The Practice, Sociology (Durham, North Carolina)
Gilbert W. Merkx was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela. He received his AB from Harvard University in anthropology and his MA and PhD in sociology from Yale University. He has been a Fulbright scholar in Ayacucho, Perú, and a visiting scholar in Buenos Aires and Stockholm.
He has taught on the faculties of Yale University, Göteborgs Universität in Sweden, and the University of New Mexico (UNM). At UNM he was Professor of Sociology and served as the Director of the Latin American and Iberian Institute from 1980 to 2001. In 2001, he moved to Duke University as professor of the practice of sociology. From 2001 to 2011, he served as vice provost for international affairs at Duke. Also at Duke, he served as the director of the Center for International Studies (2001-2015), and for varying lengths of time as director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Duke Center for Islamic Studies, and the Office of Area Studies and International Studies.
Professor Merkx’s research has focused on the comparative sociology of public policy formation with an emphasis on educational, social, economic, and military policies. He has done field research in Peru, Argentina, Sweden, Mexico, Chile, and Uruguay. He has strong interests in issues of ethnicity, religion, assimilation and citizenship. His recent research focus is on globalization networks. His last book was Constructal Theory of Social Dynamics, with Adrian Bejan (Springer, 2007.) His next book was Internationalizing the Academy: Lesson of Leadership in Higher Education, with Riall Nolan (Harvard Education Press (December 2015).
Professor Merkx served as editor of the Latin American Research Review from 1982 to 2002. He is a former chairman of the Group of Advisors of the National Security Education Program of the Department of Defense. He is a past president of the Association of International Education Administrators and former chair of the Council of Directors of Title VI National Resource Centers for Foreign Language and Area Studies. He is on the boards of Venice International University and the Scholars at Risk Network (New York).