Ted’s bio

“Enjoy life. It’s a bowl of jelly beans”. Ted


“Forrest Gump was wrong. Life is not a box of chocolates. It’s a bowl of jelly beans. At least mine has been. Beloit College (Wis) undergraduate anthropology major. Spent my Sr. year conducting a national survey of poor land squatters in Costa Rica. Stanford Ph.D. in social anthropology. Married Carmen – my beautiful Zapotec Indian wife of 54 years who, like me was on the faculty at the University of Arizona as a professor of Hydrology and Water Resource Admin, Anthropologist, Curator at the Arizona State Museum (a mistake), and trans-disciplinary Prof of Social Development in the Research, Innovation and Impact Department. Visiting appointments at Oxford, King Abdulaziz (Jeddah) and Ritsumeikan (Kyoto). Consulting on social development for The World Bank and other development Banks since 1988. An investigator for The World Bank’ Inspection Panel (internal affairs). Awarded National Anti-Corruption Award in 2011 for work trying to defuse partisan political deadlocks. Elected to the Arizona House for two terms, representing 200K Tucsonans. Served on Judiciary, Ways and Means, and Education. The specialty was election laws, passing Arizona, and one of the nation’s first random-hand count auditing law.  At my Oklahoma Edison HS reunion, I would probably have to sit alone – when my classmates discovered that I was on the ACLU Board (Arizona). Specialization in the resettlement of forcefully displaced peoples, President of the International professional association (displacement.net). Underlying specialization: improvement in governance systems.

Ted’s Motto. “Don’t get stressed. Stress others. Then sample another jelly bean.”

Ted’s Activist Motto. “Human organizations create and solve human problems.”


Stanford University PhD – Social Anthropology 1973, MA 1966 Beloit College (Wisconsin) 1965


Fulbright Award 1983. Academic Program Specialist on Micro-Computer uses in social sciences. Ted used his Fulbright award to teach indigenous peoples in Oaxaca computer technologies so they could publish newsletter and writings in their own languages.


  • Senator at Large, University of Arizona Faculty, 2021 – present
  • Arizona House of Representatives – elected 2 term – State Representative – Democrat. 2003-2006.
  • Democratic Precinct Committeeman – Precinct 58 in Legislative District 28. 4 terms elected. 2000-2009.
  • State President, American Association of University Professors, Arizona Conference – 10 campus statewide. 1988-1990. Vice President 1990-1995.
  • American Civil Liberties Union, Arizona Board of Directors – 2008 -2010
  • President, Society for Applied Anthropology – 1985-1987.
  • President, International Network on Displacement and Resettlement INDR. – Founder and Sponsor 2000 – present.

Not all his time is spent on serious matters


University of Arizona

  • Research Professor of Social Development, Exec. VP for Research Office on Research, Innovation and Impact (2020 – present)
  • Research Professor of Social Development and Director of the Social Development Division, Arizona Research Laboratories (1992 – 2020).
  • Director of Social Anthropology, Arizona State Museum (1985-1992).
  • Research Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology (1982-1992).
  • Anthropologist, Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (1980-85).
  • Interim Director, Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (1977-1981).
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology (1972-1980).
  • Research Specialist, Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, BARA (formerly the Bureau of Ethnic Research) (1972-77).
  • Assistant Professor of Hydrology and Water Resources (1971-72).

University of Oxford, England

Visiting Scholar. Institute of Social Anthropology (Jan – Nov 1983).

Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan

Visiting Professor of Social Policy. College of Policy Science, Ritsumeikan University. Presented annual short-courses on international social development policies to graduates and upper-division undergraduates (1998-2001).

King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Research Director and Associate Professor of Arid Land Studies in Faculty of Meteorology and Environmental Studies (July 1982-Jan. 1983). Advisor to Dean Dr. Abdulbar Al-Gain, Dean of the Faculty and, in government, the Founding Director of the Saudi Arabian Meteorology and Environmental Protection Agency (MEPA) 1977 – 1983.

Mexican National Science Foundation

Scientific Research Team Director Center for Eco-Development,(Centro de Eco-desarrollo, Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología).(Sept. 1977 – June 1979)

  See Factoids on Ted Downing (tab to the right)

“Yes, I am here. And you are lucky to be here too after all the absurd things you’ve done since you left home.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring Nov 25, 2013

  • Ted is a direct descendent of The American Revolution whose family (Snelson surname) has been elected to political office for five generations.
  • Ted lived in 25 different places before he was 14 years old, leaving little yellow rain coats in many schools all over the US.
  • Ted tries to play the banjo and guitar – he says that when babies are born in Oklahoma, they are given a baby rattle in one hand and either a banjo, guitar or fiddle in the other.
  • Ted has been an active amateur radio operator since he was 13 years old. His call letters are W7KEY and he hold many awards, including for his work providing emergency communications (civil defense).

    Ted has been an amateur radio operator since 1958. Seen here at his telegraph station K5OPC. His ham call letters are W7KEY. He has won awards for public service and operator skills. A National NC125 with a Heathkit DX35 transmitter – for those who understand these things

  • Ted and his wife, Carmen, celebrate their 52st wedding anniversary this year.
  • An anthropologist, Ted has completed academic and applied research in the Americas (Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras,  Costa Rica, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, American Southwest), the United Kingdom, the Middle East (Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen), Europe (Kosovo), and Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria).

    The Jaja Bujagali spiritual leader. Ted working on the conflict of spirituality with hydroelectric development in Uganda, Bujagali dam.

Private Sector

  • Former President and Owner, Q5 Inc. 2003 – 2013.
  • Consultant, Downing & Associates, 1988-2003

See also

Education and Appointments – tab to the right

Ted’s PROJECTS See also Ted’s WRITINGS