I have had three careers that are in one sense disparate - I have been a diplomat, a senior staff member of a non-governmental democracy and human rights promotion NGO, and an academic. All of these have, however, contained an important common thread - a focus of the dynamics of political change in countries emerging from authoritarian rule. In theory, at least, this provides me with an integrated and professional inter-disciplinary perspective from which to analyze and assess democratic trends around the world.
And this is no mean task. With the decline of overtly authoritarian states and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the concept of democracy has become a world-wide governance ideal. It is clear, however, that democratic performance, and interpretation of what democracy is, and how it operates, are not always easily understood or actualized. Better delineation of what constitutes democracy, and especially how the effectiveness of democratic institutions can be determined, can help humankind realize its tremendous potential. My career, in a nutshell, is devoted to making some small contribution in that direction.
In specific terms, my professional interests have centered on analyzing governance institutional change in countries emerging from authoritarian rule, especially in Africa. I have also developed a related interest in the role that international organizations can, and do, play in promoting democratic governance in member states which has led me to research and publish particularly on the UN Human Rights Council.
I have co-authored a book,Piecing a Democratic Quilt: Universal Norms and Regional Organizations. Bloomfield: Kumerian Press, 2006. I also was Contributing Editor, of another book, Political Handbook of the World 2001-2002, which was published during this period. My career and activities, however, do not all fit easily into a traditional academic construct. I served for a number o years as a Senior Research Associate for a human rights organization,Freedom House. In this capacity I produced democracy assessment country essays and ratings of democratic development of 12 east African countries for the flagship annual publication Freedom in the World: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties. This report is frequently cited and referenced repeatedly in the academic, policy and journalism communities.
I have been invited to and participated in many other types of activities designed to disseminate knowledge on various aspects of democratization. These involve foreign policy study groups, election observation missions, projects assessing the impact of democratization, and consultancies in the international development field. I have also engaged in follow-up in my role as co-founder of a unique data base of electoral results, the Elections Result Archive, Center on Democratic Performance, Binghamton University. I have also played a key role in the development of a database regarding the UN Human Rights Councilís Universal Periodic Review . More detailed information on these activities is available in my curriculum vitae. This demonstrates the breadth and depth of my activities and which is hopefully reflective of my standing in the field.