ISS has a small full-time research staff whose members conduct interviews around the globe, throughout the year. It also collaborates with Ph.D. affiliates from Princeton University on short-term projects. A faculty director and associate director manage the development of research lines with the assistance of advisers.

Jennifer Widner, Director

Before joining the Princeton faculty in 2004-5, Jennifer taught at Harvard and the University of Michigan. Her current research focuses on the political economy of institutional reform, government accountability, and service delivery. She also remains interested in constitution writing, constitutional design, and fair dealing—topics of earlier research. She is author of Building the Rule of Law (W. W. Norton), a study of courts and law in Africa, and she has published articles on a variety of topics in Democratization, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Development Studies, The William & Mary Law Review, Daedalus, the American Journal of International Law, and other publications. She is completing work on a book about making government work in challenging settings, drawing on experiences in Africa, Asia, and parts of Latin America.

Pallavi Nuka, Associate Director

Prior to joining ISS, Pallavi was a Visiting Lecturer at the Woodrow Wilson School and a Research Coordinator in the Department of Politics. She has a background in impact evaluation and has conducted research on governance, environment and development. She worked with the World Bank-Global Environment Facility's Evaluation Office for six years, assessing the design, performance, and impact of projects implemented in developing countries with a focus on climate change adaptation, conservation of biodiversity, and land degradation. She was also Peace Corps Volunteer in Bangolo, Cote d'Ivoire (1999-2001).  Pallavi holds a B.S. from MIT and a M.P.A. from Princeton University.

Blair Cameron

Originally from Methven, New Zealand, Blair holds a degree from Brown University in International Relations and Latin American Studies. During his undergraduate studies, Blair undertook humanitarian work in the Ecuadorian Amazon and developed an eco-tourism operation there with a local indigenous community. He has conducted independent research in Rio de Janeiro on the social and economic impacts of hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, and has also undertaken economic research on Brazilian financial institutions and the country’s experience during the 2008 global financial crisis. Before joining ISS, Blair was working as a researcher for Brown University’s ‘Brazil Initiative’ at the US National Archives in Washington DC. Blair has lived in Hong Kong, Italy, Mexico, Ecuador and Brazil, and is an avid rugby player.

Tristan Dreisbach

Before joining ISS, Tristan spent two years as a journalist based in Tunisia and was managing editor of Tunisia Live. Prior to that, he was a program officer at the New York University Center on International Cooperation, where he studied statebuilding and peacebuilding in transitioning states. He also worked as the youth and community relations coordinator for Habitat for Humanity in New York City, and interned with the Center on Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and the office of former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. Tristan has an MA in Politics from New York University and did his undergraduate work at the University of Michigan.

Maya Gainer, Research Specialist

Before coming to ISS, Maya worked as a Princeton in Africa Fellow at the International Rescue Committee in Kenya, where she supported programming for refugees in the Dadaab camps and urban areas. She holds a bachelor's degree in Politics with a certificate in African Studies from Princeton. Maya has conducted independent research on out of country voting in post-conflict elections, and her academic interests include forced migration, elections, and conflict management, with a focus on Africa.

Robert Joyce, Research Specialist

Before joining ISS Robert worked as an editor with Tunisia Live, a news outlet based in Tunis. At TL, he covered Tunisia's post-revolution transition including the passage of a new constitution, youth unemployment, and ongoing police violence. Robert graduated Princeton University with a degree in Near Eastern Studies. At Princeton, he studied Arabic, MENA history, politics and journalism and interned with ISS, Human Rights First and World Policy Journal. His thesis covered the influence of Palestinian solidarity activism in Egyptian political history and its impact on the 2011 revolution, involving fieldwork in Cairo. Robert has lived in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Hong Kong.

Jim Golder, Production Specialist

Jim Golder is a graduate of Rider University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration. He joined Princeton in 1998 working in the Woodrow Wilson School Finance Office.  Before that, he worked in the Woodrow Wilson School as the grants manager.  As ISS production specialist, he is responsible for logistical planning and data management associated with the oral history program, as well as budget and finance for the program.

Doug Hulette, Program Editor

Doug Hulette is a veteran of The Wall Street Journal copy desk, where he edited articles for the Asian and European editions as well as the U.S. publication. Besides newspapers, he also worked on wire services and websites for Dow Jones and other organizations. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University and a bachelor's in English.

Sarah Torian, Communications Specialist

Sarah Torian has been involved in issues of civil rights and social and economic justice professionally for the past fifteen years. For six years, she served as communications coordinator at the Southern Regional Council, writing and editing for the organization’s quarterly journal Southern Changes. Since 2002, she has worked with nonprofits and foundations as the principal of Torian+Whitley Consulting. The Annie E. Casey Foundation has been a client throughout that time and Sarah assists the Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site and Center for Community and Economic Opportunity in the qualitative evaluation and communication of their programs and results.  BA in History from the University of Virginia and a MA in the interdisciplinary study of the American South at the University of Mississippi.


Natalie Wenkers

Natalie Wenkers holds a degree in Political Sciences and History from University of Münster and is currently a Master candidate for International Public Management at Sciences Po Paris with concentrations in Diplomacy and Middle Eastern Studies. During her undergraduate studies she participated in the Washington Semester Program at Amercian University, Washington DC focusing on Conflict Resolution in the Middle East. She has previously worked for the German parliament, the Chair of Comparative Politics at University of Münster and the political department of the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations in New York.

Khady Thiam

Khady Thiam is a Senegalese and an aspirant citizen of the world. She lived and studied in Senegal until August 2011 when she moved to Paris to pursue higher education at Sciences Po. She holds a Bachelor from the Sciences Po Europe-Africa Programme with a concentration on African studies. In 2013-2014, she attended a two-semester exchange programme at the University of Stirling’s (Scotland) School of Education. She is currently taking her Master’s in International Public Management at the Paris School of International Affairs (Sciences Po).  Her concentrations are Diplomacy and Project Management. Khady nurtures a special interest for education and culture. Khady is working with ISS on a case study about the Ministry of Public Policy Evaluation in Benin.

Laura Skoet

Laura Skoet is pursuing a Master’s degree at the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po.  Prior to her studies at Sciences Po, she graduated from the University of Copenhagen with a bachelor degree in philosophy, which she complemented with courses in international politics and economics at the Copenhagen Business School, the London School of Economics and a semester at Columbia University in New York. She is currently interning at the United Nations Environment Programme office in Paris, working on sustainable public procurement.

Stefanie Chan

Stefanie Chan is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in International Public Management at Sciences Po’s Paris School of International Affairs, with degree concentrations in Environment and International Energy. Prior to Sciences Po, she graduated cum laude from the Singapore Management University with a Bachelor of Laws, and was thereafter called to the Singapore Bar in 2012. She practised law as an associate in the domains of commercial litigation and intellectual property before moving to Paris in 2013, where she undertook intensive French language studies at the Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne for a year in preparation for her Master's programme. Her current areas of interest are corporate social responsibility, environment/energy and international public management. She is presently interning at the French office of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Lou Perpes

Lou Perpes is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in International Public Management at Sciences Po’s Paris School of International Affairs, with degree concentrations in Environment and Human Rights. Prior to Sciences Po, she followed a dual degree, graduating from Pierre and Marie Curie University with a Bachelor of Life Sciences and from Sciences Po with a Bachelor of Human Sciences. She has worked at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and is currently within the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. Highly interested in sustainable development challenges, she took part in Make it work, an innovative simulation of the COP21.

Richard Balme

Richard Balme is professor of political science at Sciences Po, and a fellow at the Centre for European Studies. He is scientific councilor of the Master in International Public Management in the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA), and director of the executive master in "Politiques et Management du développement - Potentiel Afrique."   He teaches public policy analysis and comparative politics at Sciences Po and also teaches at the School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Among his recent publications are:  European Governance and Democracy: Power and Protest in the European Union, (with D. Chabanet, Rowman and Littlefield 2008) and Europe-Asia Relations: Building Multilateralisms, (with B. Bridges, Palgrave, 2008).  His current research is focused on comparative environmental and climate governance. 

David Paterson

David Paterson is a health and environmental scientist by training from Montreal, Canada, but works primarily in public policy development and implementation. At I.S.S., he serves as a consultant researcher for the Ebola case-line series. In the past, he worked for the Government of Canada’s public health agency on policy development though the analysis of the political economy and epidemiology of health inequalities; supported environmental protection through legal and policy reform initiatives with several NGOs; assisted with a tuberculosis transmission dynamics research project with Partners in Health in Lima, Peru; and collaborated on health and conservation programs in rural Uganda. David holds a baccalaureate degree from McGill University, and studied public policy and environmental sciences in graduate school at the University of Toronto. He speaks Spanish and French, and is learning Latin and Estonian.

Leon Schreiber

Leon Schreiber is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at the Freie Universität Berlin and a Visiting Student Research Collaborator at Princeton University. Originally hailing from the Namaqualand region of South Africa, he went on to earn BA and MA degrees from Stellenbosch University. His research interests include social policy, institutions, and the comparative political economy of development, with his recently-submitted dissertation comparatively examining the development of social welfare policies in Brazil and South Africa since democratization. He has worked with a range of political and social impact organizations, including the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth in Brazil, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Germany, as well as the University of Stellenbosch, the Democratic Alliance and the Western Cape Government in South Africa. He is also an active blogger, an op-ed writer for one of South Africa’s foremost Sunday newspapers, and a political analyst on a weekly television program.

Jordan Schneider

Before coming to ISS, Jordan Schneider was a researcher at the Eurasia Group covering US domestic and foreign policy. He has also interned in the White House, at the World Economic Forum, and the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations.  Jordan has a BA in History from Yale University, where he wrote his thesis on the origins of the United Nations.

Gordon LaForge

Gordon LaForge is an M.P.A. candidate concentrating in International Relations at the Woodrow Wilson School. Before coming to Princeton, he spent three years in Indonesia, first as a Fulbright grantee and then as a journalist covering Indonesian politics and current affairs. His main research interests are corruption and conflict resolution. He has interned at the US Mission to NATO in Brussels and with Mediators Beyond Borders in Prague. He holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder.



Rina Amiri

Rina Amiri, a native of Afghanistan, brings over seventeen years of experience advising and working with governments, the United Nations and nonprofit organizations. Currently she is an independent analyst and a senior research associate at the Institute for Successful Societies. Prior to joining ISS, Ms. Amiri served a two-year appointment as a member of the United Nation’s Mediation Standby Team. Before that, she served as a senior advisor to the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. She also served as the Director of the Soros Foundation's Afghanistan and Regional Policy Initiative. At Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School, Ms. Amiri oversaw research and training programs for policy makers and grassroots activists from over twenty countries. Ms. Amiri has worked in conflict and post-conflict countries facing democratic transition and post-conflict recovery in Central and South Asia, East and West Africa, Western Europe and the Middle East.

Vera Bersudskaya

Vera Bersudskaya has an interest in policy implementation and government accountability in service delivery, particularly in low-resource post-conflict societies. She has worked in Burundi on improving civil society’s local governance programs at ActionAid and assessing peace consolidation for the UN political mission. She has also developed capacity around monitoring and evaluation of peace-building and governance projects in Kyrgyzstan and assessed accountability on Right to Education in Indian public primary education. Prior to working in the field, she supported women’s rights groups and sexual and reproductive rights initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa and former Soviet Union at Family Care International, Global Fund for Women, and New Field Foundation. She had also focused on addressing inequities in secondary and higher education in the US through policy research and designing equity-like college financing mechanisms. Vera holds a B.A. from University of California Berkeley and a M.P.A. from Princeton University; she is fluent in French and Russian, proficient in Spanish, and a beginner in Kirundi.

Joan Ricart-Huguet

Joan Ricart-Huguet is a PhD candidate in the Politics Department at Princeton. Prior to starting his PhD, he obtained an MA in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences (link is external)from Columbia University as a recipient of la Caixa Graduate Fellowship(link is external). He also holds a BA in Political Science from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and spent his year abroad the the University of California, Berkeley. He has interned at the World Bank in Poverty Reduction and Economic Management and at the United Nations Association-USA. His academic interests include the origins of political elites, the causes and consequences of colonial investments, the role of culture in shaping identity and socioeconomic outcomes as well as empirical methods, with a focus on developing countries.

Daniel Tavana

Daniel Tavana is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. He was previously a Research Associate at the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED). Before joining POMED, Daniel worked in Cairo, Egypt, as a consultant for members of the Egyptian Constituent Assembly. He has worked on security and governance issues for a variety of government agencies, including the Departments of State, Defense, and Treasury. Daniel has master’s degrees from Cambridge University and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he worked at the Belfer Center and co-founded the Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy. Daniel’s research focuses on the relationship between foreign assistance and democratization in the Middle East. He speaks Farsi, and his articles on the Middle East have been published by Global Public Square at CNN, the Atlantic Council, and the Carnegie Endowment.

Undergraduate Interns

Jeremy Rotblat

Jeremy Rotblat is a member of Princeton’s class of 2017 from Cherry Hill, New Jersey concentrating in the Department of Near Eastern Studies with plans of obtaining certificates in Persian and Arabic Language and Culture as well as African Studies. His interest in international development primarily began after his participation in Princeton’s Bridge Year Program, in which he spent 9 months living and volunteering in Senegal. He is deeply interested in the intersection of politics and religion in Africa, the Middle East, and South and Central Asia. Having recently spent summers in Jordan and Tajikistan, he avidly enjoys studying Arabic and Persian in addition to French. He is excited to be interning at ISS and hopes to learn more about the issues of governance reform and state stability. 

Ruby Shao

Ruby Shao is a member of the class of 2017 from Plainsboro, New Jersey. She is majoring in Philosophy with certificates in French Language and Culture along with Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities. Ruby seeks to discover the ethical principles that should guide laws and policies in a world of conflicting interests, limited resources, and human error. On campus, she reports news as a senior writer for The Daily Princetonian and advocates for more compassionate criminal justice processes through Students for Prison Education and Reform. Having interned at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris and the Tennessee Justice Center in Nashville, as well as having studied in England, France, and Canada, she embraces cross-cultural perspectives on how governments can equip their citizens to flourish.

Alison Herman

Alison Herman is a member of the class of 2019 from Cleveland, Ohio. She plans to pursue a concentration in English with certificates in Spanish and Neuroscience. Alison serves as the director of advocacy for Princeton's END7 chapter, a group dedicated to ending seven neglected tropical diseases globally. A member of the Princeton Journal of Bioethics and the mental health board on campus, she is interested in the way values and beliefs get articulated in policy decisions. The opportunity to learn more about the complexities of health policy from ongoing ISS cases on the 2014 Ebola outbreak particularly excites her.