Visiting Scholars

Interested in joining IAfS as a Visiting Scholar? To apply, please submit the following information to

  • A statement explaining the research to be conducted and why such an appointment would be mutually beneficial.
  • A full curriculum vitae.
  • A plan for the work to be conducted while in residence at the Elliott School, including what resources in the Washington area the applicant intends to use and including, when appropriate, approval of the plan by a senior official of the applicant’s home institution or organization.
  • The source of funding for any research to be conducted at the Elliott School.
  • Proposed dates for the visit.

Current Visiting Scholars:

Jennifer Obado-Joel (January 2017 – 2018)

Jennifer is a public policy and governance specialist with over 7 years experience working with research and academic institutions, as well as development agencies in Sub-Sahara Africa, Central Europe and the United States. She has 10 years of experience in the non-profit sector and academia, focusing on policy-centered research. Her expertise include governance, energy, climate adaptation, urbanization, and the use of mobile and digital technology for research and design of innovations that support development outcomes.

Jennifer has experience working on projects for Habitat for Humanity, the Open Society Foundations, IDRC, DFID, USAID, EU, and public sector agencies in Nigeria. Within the private sector, Jennifer has experience working on CSR and for ISPs within the Nigerian telecommunications industry. She has taught communications and community health at the Tidoo School of Health Technology, Benue State Nigeria. In 2013, she was a visiting faculty on informal politics in Africa at the University of Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. She was the headline speaker for the 2014 Fall Speaker series at the School of International Studies at the American University, Washington D.C in October 2014. She was also awarded a certificate of appreciation by the National Intelligence University for her support.

Jennifer holds Bachelors and Masters degree in Sociology and Public Policy from the University of Ibadan Nigeria and Central European University Budapest Hungary respectively. She has completed studies for the award of a Master’s in International Law and Diplomacy at the University of Lagos and has a certificate in Health Law and Policy and Ethics from the University of Latvia and Certificates in Monitoring and Evaluation, and Data Quality from the Bloomberg School of Public Health (online program) at John Hopkins University. Until July 2015, she was an Atlas Corps fellow at the Centre on International Development and Governance at the Urban Institute in Washington D.C.

Her current research at IAfS themed “Evidence and Progress: Assessing the Evidence– Policy interaction in Nigeria,” focuses on the demand and supply of evidence for decision making in public service delivery and governance, especially in cities. The goal of this study is to design an Evidence and Progress Assessment Framework to assess the likelihood of different forms of evidence for use in decision-making. During her time with IAfS, Jennifer launched the Evidence and Progress Blog in order to share insights and findings from her work. You can follow her on Twitter @jennieobado1, or reach her via email:

Past Visiting Scholars:

Miriam Anderson (November 2017)

Dr. Miriam Anderson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration and a member of the Yeates School of Graduate Studies at Ryerson University. She holds a Ph.D from the University of Cambridge (2010) in Politics and International Studies, an M.A. in Political Science (2004) from the University of British Columbia, and a B.A. in International Relations from the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Anderson researches peace processes, post-conflict reconstruction, and transnationalism in war and peace. She currently holds (as the principal investigator) a SSHRC Insight Development Grant entitled “Sustaining Women’s Gains Made During Peace Negotiations” (2014-2016) and a SSHRC Connection Grant (2014-2015), “Transnational Actors in War and Peace.”

Miriam Anderson teaches courses on women, war and peace; global governance; and women and politics. From 1999-2002, Anderson served as a human rights monitor for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Croatia. During this period she also monitored elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Croatia for the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). Anderson has also volunteered with grassroots organizations in Nicaragua and El Salvador.

Daniela Behr (Summer – Fall 2017)

Daniela is a Ph.D Candidate and Junior Research Fellow at the Department of Politics and Public Administration University of Konstanz in Germany. She holds an M.A. in Politics and Public Administration (IACM), and a B.A. in Politics and Public Administration from the University of Konstanz. Daniela’s Ph.D dissertation, “Traditional Institutions of Governance: Friend or Foe of Development?”, investigated the relationship of traditional governance and socio-economic development. Throughout her research, she explored the diverging and predominantly normative claims on the developmental effect of traditional governance.

These opposing claims are expressed in the so-called traditionalist vs. modernist debate. In this debate, traditional governance is accused of contradicting the very nature of liberal democracy and hence undermining development (modernists). Meanwhile, it is also praised for being indispensable for political transformation and development (traditionalists).

In her Ph.D project, Daniela examined “Traditional Governance and Modern Statehood”. In many states, there are ethnic groups who organize their political decision-making, their conflict resolution mechanisms and their jurisdiction via traditional institutions. These traditional forms of governance co-exist with the political institutions active at the state-level. How they co-exist together, and how these traditional institutions influence the level of democracy and domestic conflict on the state-level is relatively unknown. This is surprising considering the fact that this relationship might yield new insights into problems relating to the process of democratization and the occurrence of civil wars.

Therefore, Daniela conducted a worldwide macro-level quantitative analysis of the relationship between the scope of traditional institutions and their level of integration in state-level political institutions, as well as  the level of democracy and domestic peace at the state-level. The causal mechanisms underlying these linkages were thereby examined in a comparative case study design with a focus on African countries, since it is assumed that traditional governance is especially present on the continent.