Practice

While all of my research is theoretically grounded and a good portion of it focuses on questioning or reconfiguring theoretical approaches, I hope that whatever my projects bring to light ends up having a positive effect on how development “happens” (or, alternatively, helps us understand why it doesn’t happen). I care deeply about improving the reality of aid, a quest that usually requires a frank exchange between research and practice.

Before re-joining academia, I passed the United Nations National Competitive Recruitment Exam (NCRE, now the UN Young professionals programme) and served with the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) in Bangkok, Thailand, and afterwards with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York. As a result, I thoroughly appreciate how difficult it is to nurture change within and through bureaucratic organizations. Fortunately I have also had the chance to work on development policy and programming with local stakeholders in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sierra Leone, and these experiences continue to provide me with inspiration and serve as reminders that change is possible after all.

My consulting and training portfolio covers a range of international development-related subjects such as aid effectiveness, local governance, global health policy, and program evaluation. I advised CARE International on its urban governance strategy for post-2001 Kabul and coordinated similar research for a World Bank-commissioned report on major Afghan cities. I was also part of an international team of academics helping the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee and specifically its Fragile States Group assess the impact of donor policies and practice in fragile situations, a project for which I led the Sierra Leone country study. The complete report was published in 2010 and has become one of the OECD’s central points of reference for policies on fragility and state-building. In the same year, I also advised the German Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) and the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) on how to rethink city planning in fragile settings. In 2011, I supported a GTZ (now GIZ) appraisal mission to Pakistan and was responsible for producing the final report. In 2012, I delivered occasional lectures on aid effectiveness to incoming USAID Democracy and Governance field officers and offered advice to the State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations.

My CV can be accessed here.