BTI blog authors

To BTI blog

On the BTI blog, BTI experts and journalists provide insights into current democracy and governance issues in developing and transition countries.

Alex Vatanka

Director Iran Program, Middle East Institute, Washington D.C.

Alison Singer

Alison Singer is a freelance writer for environmental organizations such as the Worldwatch Institute and the Climate Institute. Currently, she is PhD candidate in Community Sustainability at Michigan State University.

Amal S. Obeidi

BTI Country Expert Libya
Associate Professor, University of Benghazi, Libya

Anna Hengge

Heidelberg University
Anna Hengge is pursuing an MA in Political Science with a special focus on polarization and democratic backsliding. She is part of Professor Aurel Croissant‘s research team at the Institute of Political Science at Heidelberg University.

Aurel Croissant

Heidelberg University
Professor of Political Science
Aurel Croissant is Professor of Political Science at the Institute of Political Science, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg.

Awol Kassim Allo

Keele University
Lecturer in Law
Awol Allo is Lecturer in Law at Keele University, Great Britain. Before, he was Fellow in Human Rights at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Bert Hoffmann

Lead Researcher, German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA)
and Professor of Political Science at Freie Universität Berlin

Carolina Moehlecke

School of International Relations, Fundação Getulio Vargas
Adjunct Professor

Christian Achrainer

Independent consultant, analyst and lecturer

Christian Hanelt

Senior Expert
Program Europe's Future, Bertelsmann Stiftung

Christina Maags

School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Claire Elder

Doctoral Candidate in Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford
Claire Elder is currently a doctoral candidate in Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. She is also a consulting political analyst, having worked previously for International Crisis Group (ICG) on Somaliland/Somalia.

Claudio Fuentes

School of Political Science, Universidad Diego Portales
Claudio Fuentes, Ph.D. political science, is a professor at the School of Political Science at the Universidad Diego Portales (UDP) in Santiago de Chile. He is a coordinator of the UDP Constitutional Lab.

Craig Willy

Craig James Willy is a Brussels-based EU affairs writer.

Dalia Ghanem

Carnegie Middle East Center
Resident Scholar

Damin Jung

The Korea Times
Politics & Defense reporter
Damin Jung is Politics and Defense reporter at The Korea Times.

Dane Taleski

Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz
Visiting Fellow
Dragan Koprivica

Dragan Koprivica

Center for Democratic Transition
Executive Director
Dragan Koprivica is Executive director of Center for Democratic Transition (CDT), one of the most prominent good governance advocacy NGOs in Montenegro.

Eduardo Mello

Fundação Getulio Vargas, Brazil
Assistant professor of politics and international relations
Eduardo Mello is an assistant professor of politics and international relations at Fundação Getulio Vargas, Brazil. His research interests include governance, poverty reduction, the political economy of education, electoral clientelism, the provision of public goods, and political corruption. He received his Ph.D. from the London School of Economics.

Elham Manea

University of Zuerich
Associate Professor

Eromo Egbejule

Eromo Egbejule is a Nigerian journalist. He has written for The Africa Report magazine, Reuters, The Guardian, Times of London, Financial Times, Al-Jazeera and other global media outlets.

Eva Seiwert

Doctoral Candidate, Graduate School of East Asian Studies (GEAS), Freie Universität Berlin

Fabian Stroetges

Durham University
Doctoral Researcher
Fabian Stroetges is a Doctoral Researcher at Durham University’s School of Government and International Affairs and BTI country expert for Tunisia.

Falk Hartig

Goethe University Frankfurt
Postdoctoral Researcher and Journalist

Filip Reyntjens

Emeritus Professor of Law and Politics, Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB), University of Antwerp

Gabriel Salvia

Center for the Opening and the Development of Latin America

Hannah Kickert

Sciences Po Paris, MA Student
Bertelsmann Transformation Index, Intern

Hans-Joachim Spanger

Peace Research Institute Frankfurt
Hans-Joachim Spanger is associate fellow at the Leibniz Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF), visiting professor at the National Research University - University of Economics in Moscow and regional coordinator for Post-Soviet Eurasia for the Bertelsmann Stiftung's Transformation Index (BTI).

Iryna Solonenko

BTI Country Expert Ukraine
Researcher, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder

Jan Claudius Völkel

Institute for European Studies at Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow 2017-2019
Jan Claudius Völkel is Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at the Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and Regional Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa for the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI).

Jess Smee

Jess Smee is a Berlin-based journalist who writes for The Guardian newspaper among others. She is an editor for SGI News and the Bertelsmann Stiftung's BTI Blog.

Jil Kamerling

Institute of Political Science, Heidelberg University

Jonathan Fisher

University of Birmingham

Julia Renner

University of Koblenz-Landau
Lecturer and research fellow
Julia Renner works as a lecturer and research fellow in the Department for International Relations at the University of Koblenz-Landau.

Karola Klatt

Karola Klatt is a science journalist and an editor for the SGI News and the BTI Blog of the Bertelsmann Foundation.

Konstantin Krome

Heidelberg University
Konstantin Krome pursues an MA in Political Science, focusing in area studies of the Middle East. He is part of Professor Aurel Croissant's research team at Heidelberg University.

Leonid Litra

New Europe Center Kiev, Ukraine
Senior Research Fellow

Lloyd M. Sachikonye

Institute of Development Studies

Ludwig Schulz

Ludwig Schulz is head of the Turkey department of the German Orient Institute Berlin and project manager at the Center for Applied Policy Research (C.A.P.) Munich.

Maja Bovcon

Senior Analyst, Verisk Maplecroft

Marco Bünte

Dr. Marco Bünte is Associate Professor of Politics at the School of Arts and Social Sciences, Monash University Malaysia. He is one of 250 country experts who worked on the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index, BTI 2016.

Mark Turner

Mark Turner is a visiting professor at the University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra. He is one of 250 country experts who are currently working on the forthcoming edition of the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index BTI 2016 which will be released at the end of February 2016.

Martin Plaut

Journalist and Research Fellow, Institute of Commonwealth Studies

Michael Gahler

European Parliament, European People's Party
Michael Gahler has been a Member of the European Parliament of the German CDU in the European People's Party since 1999 and is Vice President of the European Movement Germany. He is a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Security Policy spokesman for the EPP Group in the European Parliament.

Nic Cheeseman

University of Birmingham
Professor of Democracy and International Development
Nic Cheeseman is Professor of Democracy at the University of Birmingham. He mainly works on democracy, elections and development and has published research on Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Professor Cheeseman is the author or editor of more than ten books, including Democracy in Africa (2015), Institutions and Democracy in Africa (2017), How to Rig an Election (2018), Coalitional Presidentialism in Comparative Perspective (2018), Authoritarian Africa (2020) and most recently The Moral Economy of Elections in Africa (2020).

Nick Ross

Australian National University
Researcher, PhD-student
Nick Ross is a PhD student at the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University. He works as researcher for the Association for Inclusive Peace, and has consulted with or advised the United Nations, national governments, civil society, and non-state armed groups in Myanmar, Afghanistan, Kenya and Colombia.

Nicole Beardsworth

Lecturer in Politics, University of the Witwatersrand
Honorary Research Fellow, University of Warwick
Dr Nicole Beardsworth is a Lecturer in Politics at the University of the Witwatersrand and an Honorary Research Fellow in Politics at the University of Warwick. Nicole holds a PhD in Politics from the University of Warwick, an MA in International Relations from the University of the Witwatersrand and an MSc in African Studies from the University of Oxford. Her PhD research focused on opposition parties and electoral coordination in Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Her broader research is on the history and politics of sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on political parties, governance, democratisation and elections in Southern and Eastern Africa. Nicole is a regular writer for several academic blogs and newspapers, and a contributor to the BTI.

O’Brien Kaaba

Lecturer in the School of Law, University of Zambia
Senior Research Fellow, SAIPAR
Dr O'Brien Kaaba is a lecturer in the School of Law at the University of Zambia and a senior research fellow at SAIPAR. He has formerly served as Elections Manager for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) in Zambia; Political Specialist for the US Department of State at the American Embassy in Lusaka (Zambia); and as a Human Rights and Rule of Law Advisor for the Germany Development Cooperation (GIZ) in Zambia. O’Brien is a co-editor of the book Electoral Politics in Zambia published by Brill in 2020.

Pablo Nemiña

Latin American Social Sciences Institute (FLACSO - Argentina)
Research Fellow

Paul Esber

Phd-Candidate at the University of Sydney
Phd Candidate at the University of Sydney

Pavel Havlíček

AMO Research Center
Research Fellow
Pavel Havlíček is Research Fellow of the Association for International Affairs (AMO) Research Center in Prague. His research focus is on Eastern Europe, especially Ukraine and Russia, and the Eastern Partnership. He also deals with questions of strategic communication and disinformation as well as democratization and civil society support.

Pavin Chachavalpongpun

Associate Professor, Kyoto University
Peter Birle

Peter Birle

BTI Country Expert Brazil
Research Director, Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut, Berlin

Peter Thiery

Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI) and University of Heidelberg
BTI Coordinator Latin America and the Caribbean and Senior Research Fellow
Dr. Peter Thiery is senior researcher at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Heidelberg. His research focuses on democracy, the rule of law and transformation processes in Latin America. Since 2002, he has contributed to the development of the BTI. He also participated in several research projects at Universities of Munich and Würzburg, and was fellow at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research in Duisburg.

Piotr Buras

Director, Warsaw office of the European Council on Foreign Relations

Rabi Karmacharya

Open Learning Exchange (OLE) Nepal
Executive Director

Raphael Bossong

German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP)
Senior Associate

Rasheed Draman

African Centre for Parliamentary Affairs
Executive Director

Richard R. Dion

Governance and Communications Consultant
Richard R. Dion is a governance and communications consultant based in Germany. Formerly a Regional Director at the EITI International Secretariat, he has evaluated the EITI in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Guinea for the GIZ.

Rolf J. Langhammer

Kiel Institute for the World Economy
Senior Fellow
Rolf J. Langhammer is Senior Fellow at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and Senior Policy Fellow for China in the Global Economy at the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS). He is member of the BTI Board, an interdisciplinary group of transformation and development experts.

Sandra Weiss


Sean Carey

School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester
Honorary Senior Research Fellow

Shamil Shams

Shamil Shams works as a reporter and editor for Deutsche Welle in Bonn, Germany.

Sophia Boddenberg

Freelance Journalist

Stanley Azuakola

Director, Civic Monitor
Stanley Azuakola is the Founder and Executive Director of Civic Monitor, a non-profit that works to facilitate a more engaged and informed citizenry in Africa.

Stefan Ehlert

Stefan Ehlert is from Gütersloh in East Westphalia in Germany. With his family the historian and journalist lives as a freelance Africa correspondent in Maputo, Mozambique. He works for the epd, Deutschlandfunk, ARD radio and the Schwäbische Zeitung, among others. From 2001 to 2007 he reported from East and Central Africa, based in Nairobi. Since 2008 he has also reported from North and West Africa for the ARD radio studio Rabat. After a radio traineeship in Hamburg, he was a reporter and editor of the "Berliner Zeitung" in the late 1990s. Ehlert authored the biography "Wangari Maathai - Mother of the Trees. Africa's first Nobel Peace Prize winner".

Stephan Giersdorf

Research Fellow at the University of Heidelberg
Dr. Stephan Giersdorf is a research fellow at the University of Heidelberg. His research interests include democratization studies, authoritarian regimes, civil society studies and quantitative conflict research. His regional focus is on South and South East Asia.

Susanne Schultz

Project Making Fair Migration a Reality
Project Manager
Susanne Schultz is a Project Manager in the Bertelsmann Stiftung's Integration and Education Programme. She holds a PhD in Migration and West Africa and is an Associated Research Fellow at the Center on Migration, Citizenship and Development (COMCAD).

Sylvia Croese

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Cape Town
Sylvia Croese is a research fellow at the African Centre for Cities and at the Department of Sociology at the University of Cape Town. She conducts research on urban governance and development in Africa. She is also a contributor to

Tanja Eschenauer-Engler

Institute of Political Science, Heidelberg University
Tanja Eschenauer is a researcher at the Institute of Political Science at Heidelberg University. Her work focuses on civil-military relations, armed forces in autocracies, and military coups. From 2015 to 2019, she worked in the „Dictator's Endgame“ project. Together with Jil Kamerling and Prof. Aurel Croissant, she co-created the The Political Roles of the Military (PRM) dataset.
Ted Piccone

Ted Piccone

World Justice Project and BTI Board
Chief Engagement Officer and BTI Board Member
Ted Piccone is Chief Engagement Officer at the World Justice Project and Board Member of the Bertelsmann Transformation Index
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Thomas Kalinowski

Ewha Womans University
Associate Professor
Thomas Kalinowski is an associate professor at Ewha Womans University’s Graduate School of International Studies in Seoul and a long-time BTI expert of South Korean society, economy and corruption.

Tilman Lüdke

BTI Country Expert Turkey
Senior Researcher at the Arnold-Bergstraesser Institute

Tsedale Lemma

Addis Standard
Tsedale Lemma is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Addis Standard, an English publication that reports critically on domestic and foreign sociopolitical and socioeconomic current affairs impacting Ethiopia.

Ulad Vialichka

Transformation Thinker, Belarus

Una Bergmane

Teaching Fellow at the London School of Economics and Baltic Sea Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia
Una Bergmane is a Teaching Fellow at the London School of Economics and Baltic Sea Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.

Viviana García Pinzón

Doctoral researcher, German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA)
Ph.D. candidate in political Science, University of Marburg