Seema Shah

Head of Democracy Assessment
Expertise
democracy assessment and measurement; electoral integrity; electoral processes, civil liberties Regional expertise: East Africa; South Asia

BIOGRAPHY  

Dr Seema Shah is the Head of International IDEA's Democracy Assessment (DA) Unit , which produces a biennial 'Global State of Democracy' report, an annually updated Global State of Democracy Indices and a EU-co-funded Covid-19 Global Monitor on Democracy and Human Rights. 

She previously served as the research and strategy lead for the International Rescue Committee's humanitarian innovation department in the Middle East region. Prior experience also includes leading electoral integrity-related research and advocacy for a coalition of Kenyan civil society organizations in Nairobi. As the Director of Research, she managed a team of data analysts in the development of evidence-based advocacy reports for national election reform campaigns and for Supreme Court cases challenging the credibility of the 2013 and 2017 Kenyan elections.

Seema has also worked on election violence, media development, campaign finance reform, human rights research and advocacy, and standard-setting for electoral integrity with civil society organizations in DRC, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and the United States as well as with International IDEA in a previous capacity. She holds a PhD in Political Science from UCLA, where her dissertation focused on patterns of intra-ethnic election violence in Iraq, Kenya and Sri Lanka.

Recent selected publications: 

  • 2021: Electoral Reform and the Kenyan Constitution. Chapter in forthcoming edited book on constitutional reform; edited by Yash Pal Ghai. 
  • 2018:

– An Assessment of the October 2017 Election in Kenya. Nairobi, Kenya: Africa Centre for Open Governance and KYSY. 

– An Evaluation of Electoral Integrity in the Aftermath of the August 2018 Election in Kenya. Nairobi, Kenya: Africa Centre for Open Governance and KYSY. 

– Unpacking the Supreme Court’s decision on the second election petition: Were standards lowered? The Elephant. 

  • 2017:

– Why bother to vote? Why Elections are Losing their Lustre. The Elephant. 

Inclusive peacebuilding in conflict-affected states: designing for democracy’s resilience (Lead Author) in The Global State of Democracy. Stockholm Sweden: International IDEA.

– Ready…or Not? The Register of Voters: Where we are One Week Ahead of Election Day. Nairobi, Kenya: Africa Centre for Open Governance. 

– Ready…or Not? An Assessment of Kenya’s Preparedness for the 8 August 2017 General Election. April – June 2017.  Nairobi, Kenya: Africa Centre for Open Governance. 

– Ready…or Not? An Assessment of Kenya’s Preparedness for the 8 August 2017 General Election, Jan – May 2017. Nairobi, Kenya: Africa Centre for Open Governance.

 

You can follow Seema on Twitter: @skshah23

 

 

 

Education: 
PhD, University of California, Los Angeles. USA; MSt, International Human Rights, University of Oxford
Languages: 
English
Gujarati
Contact Information: 
Stockholm, Sweden