Lichtenheld is the Executive Director of the Immigration Policy Lab at Stanford University. Prior to his current job he was a Senior Researcher for Peace and Conflict at Mercy Corps and a Visiting Fellow with the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University. He was previously a Postdoctoral Associate at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies and a lecturer at Yale University. He received a PhD in political science at the University of California, Berkeley in 2019. In graduate school he studied international relations and comparative politics and focused on fragile and failing states and issues of post-conflict transitions. His academic interests are forced migration, civil war, and peacebuilding. His research focused on the use of population displacement as a tool of statecraft, political mobilization in “ungoverned” territories, and the empirical effects of peacekeeping missions and peacebuilding programs. He received an M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013. His master’s thesis examined the influence of social capital on the livelihoods of returning refugees and formerly displaced populations in South Sudan. He is a recipient of the 2014 University of California, Berkeley Graduate Dean’s Summer Research Grant that will enable him to work on a research project on UN peacekeeping and civil war termination with one of his professors, a 2013 and 2014 Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science Summer Graduate Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley, and a 2013 U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS) to study advanced Arabic during the summer and academic year He is a member of the International Studies Association and the American Political Science Association.
He was previously a Project Manager in the Afghanistan/ Pakistan division for Chemonics International, USAID’s largest implementing partner. As an international development specialist, he helped start-up and manage $100+ million USAID local governance, stabilization and private sector development projects in Afghanistan, in addition to a USAID Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) program in Libya. He also conducted field assignments and assisted in developing technical strategy for proposed USAID-funded local governance, conflict mitigation and stabilization projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan and the Philippines. He was previously an environmental policy reporter at Inside Washington Publishers. He is a member of the Society for International Development and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy.