Kelly Wong is a research scientist at the University of Maryland. For more than 20 years he has worked on the academic, policy, and implementation frontiers of international development. Research underpins this work and has helped clear political resistance to the introduction of competitive-market telecommunications regimes, supported greater private sector expansion of national and cross-border high speed data infrastructure, and the design and implementation of institutional strategies for a variety of organizations. He has been Principal Investigator for over 20 USDA, USAID, UNDP, and World Bank projects. In Africa he has worked with over 15 universities, a number of governments, and three regional economic commissions.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s he supported the USAID Leland Initiative including work with national stakeholders in Kenya and Rwanda that contributed to the architecture of telecommunications policy reforms and subsequent de-monopolization of ICT services. From 2001-2005 he led the National University of Rwanda-University of Maryland Partnership which focused on a cross-cutting effort to strengthen core National University of Rwanda capacity in Computer Science, Conflict Management, and the Faculty of Education. This Partnership designed and delivered more than 100 distance education modules and innovated a tutor assisted distance education pedagogy. In 2006 and 2007 he directed the Executive Professional Development (EDP) program for NetTel @Africa, a consortium of 12 East and Southern African universities. The EDP paired U.S. universities and State Public Utility Commissions with ten universities in Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia. The EDP was designed to provide quick capacity building in specific areas of telecommunications policy and regulation—ranging from spectrum management to licensing, Voice Over IP & Data Convergence, and Universal Service. In 2007 and 2008 he served as President of the Digital Bridge Institute, the training institute of the Nigerian Communications Commission. There he developed the Institute's strategic plan and launched curricular reform conforming to Nigerian industry needs and relevance to telecommunications professionals. He also initiated administrative reforms in procurement processes, designed the Institute's first unified budget, and led institutional planning for the Institute's expansion from Abuja to Lagos and Kano.
Recently he has been engaged in research on innovation and innovation management. In this capacity he has worked on World Bank and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture research and is co-author of Innovation Strategies for Digital Agriculture: the 2017 CGIAR Inspire Challenge (CIAT: Cali, Colombia, forthcoming) and Do mLabs Still Make a Difference? (World Bank: Washington DC, 2017). In 2015 he drafted Methodology and Implementation Approaches to Counter Ebola Virus Disease with Health Systems and Mobile Payments Applications for USAID. He is co-editor with Ernest J. Wilson III of Negotiating the Net: The Politics of Internet Diffusion in Africa (Lynne Rienner, 2007) and co-author with Russell Southwood and Brian King of Night is Falling in Fredonia: A Case-Study Based Scenario of Cross-Border Telecommunication Issues (Balancing Act, 2009) and with Ernest J. Wilson III of The Status of the Information Revolution in Africa (Telecommunications Policy, 2003).
Kelly wrote his Ph.D. thesis on international anarchy at the University of British Columbia and his M.S. thesis on international law at Portland State University. In the fall of 2018 he is leading an Honors College seminar at the University of Maryland on comparative international cybersecurity policy.