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Seven new Members join International IDEA’s Board of Advisers

On 1 December 2020, the Council of Member States session appointed seven new Members to the Board of Advisers for three-year terms from 2021 to 2023.

International IDEA is delighted to welcome the new Board Members to the Institute and looks forward to working closely with them in the coming years. Starting on 1 January 2021, International IDEA’s Board of Advisers will include:

Mariska van Beijnum from the Netherlands is an internationally experienced expert in the peacebuilding domain and current Director for the Conflict Research Unit in Clingendael Institute. Ms van Beijnum has previously chaired the Board of Advisers of the UN Peacebuilding Fund.

Professor Eva Maria Belser from Switzerland holds a Chair for Constitutional and Administrative Law at the University of Fribourg and a UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Democracy. Professor Belser is the Co-Director of the Institute of Federalism of the University of Fribourg.

Dr Adam Bodnar is Poland’s Commissioner for Human Rights and an expert of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. Dr Bodnar was associated with the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, first as a co-founder and coordinator of the Precedent Matters Program, and then as head of the legal department and Vice-President of the Board.

Laura Chinchilla (Costa Rica) was the President of Costa Rica between 2010 and 2014 and is the Co-Chair of the Inter-American Dialogue’s Board of Directors. Ms Chinchilla has been the Minister of Public Security and was elected Vice President of Costa Rica in 2016, assuming office as the Ministry of Justice at the same time.

Christian Leffler is a Swedish diplomat with a long-standing career in the European Union and the European External Action Service (EEAS), most recently as Deputy Secretary-General in charge of Global and Economic Issues at the EEAS.

Dr Julia Leininger from Germany is the Chair of Research Programme “Transformation of political (dis-) order” at the German Development Institute (GDI) and a global expert on international democracy support, including its effectiveness in fragile contexts and the interface between political regimes and sustainability.

Samson Itodo (Nigeria) is a leading national and continental youth voice who successfully led the "Not too Young to Run" campaign in Nigeria that subsequently went viral across Africa. Mr Itodo is the Executive Director of YIAGA AFRICA, a community of change makers focused on building sustainable democracies in Africa anchored on the principles of inclusion, justice, accountability and constitutionalism.


The new Members will join the current seven Members on the Board, which include Sergio Bitar, Nicole Goodman, Njeri Kabeberi, Celso Lafer, Maria Lohela, S.Y. Quraishi and Serena Sasingian.

The Institute sincerely thanks the three outgoing Board Members, Emine Bozkurt (Chair of the Board of Advisers from 2018 to 2020), Christine Bell and Cheick Modibo Diarra, for their invaluable contributions to International IDEA in the past six years. The Institute is very grateful for their commitment, excellent advice and support and wishes them all the best in their future endeavours.


The Board of Advisers of International IDEA plays a crucial role in advising the Council of Member States and the Secretariat on matters of strategic importance. The Board of Advisers also contributes to fundraising efforts, enhances the relevance of the Institute’s work and increases the visibility and outreach of International IDEA.


About the authors

Former staff member - Adina Trunk
Chief of Staff to the Secretary-General
David Rosén
Advisor, Climate Change and Democracy
Iida Hyyryläinen
Governance Liaison Officer
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