Erin Colleen Houlihan is a Programme Officer with the Constitution-Building Programme at International IDEA.
Houlihan supports governments and civil society actors engaged in constitution-building processes around the word. Her research and advising work focus on fragile and conflict-affected contexts, and particularly on democratization and post-conflict transitions. She provides technical support to in-country constitution reform efforts in the areas of process design and constitutional content, including support to forge political consensus around contentious issues. Houlihan also develops global comparative knowledge products, policy and advocacy resources, and educational materials on comparative constitutional concepts and issues. Houlihan founded the annual Women Constitution-Makers Dialogue series in partnership with the Political Settlements Research Programme of the University of Edinburgh. She also manages tools and databases related to both process and design matters, including the Database on Constitution-Building Processes in Conflict-Affected States and the Public Participation Platform.
Prior to joining International IDEA, Houlihan spent a decade serving in a variety of senior advisor and leadership roles with country-based rule of law, human rights, community cohesion and good governance assistance programmes. She was based primarily in conflict-affected countries in the Middle East, East/Horn of Africa, and South Central Asia. Houlihan is also a former teacher specializing in assisting students with disabilities. She holds a Juris Doctor and an MA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and an MA in Special Education from Loyola Marymount University.
Selected articles, Op-eds and publications:
- ‘Emergency Law Responses and COVID-19’, Global State of Democracy 2021 report, (with Will Underwood) (Stockholm: International IDEA, 2021)
- ‘Women Constitution-Makers: Constitutional Reform in Response to Social Crisis,’ (Stockholm: International IDEA, 2021)
- ‘Gender and Rules of Procedure in Constituent Processes: A comparative discussion in support of the Chilean Constitutional Convention’, (Stockholm: International IDEA, 2021) Available also in Spanish
- ‘La participación pública en procesos constituyentes desde la experiencia comparada’ [Public participation in constituent processes from comparative experience], (with María Jaraquemada), La Tercera, 21 September 2021
- ‘Official Language Designation’, Constitution-Building Primer 20, (with Sujit Choudhry) (Stockholm: International IDEA, 2021)
- ‘Practical Considerations for Public Participation in Constitution-Building: What, How, When and Why?,’ (with Sumit Bisarya) (Stockholm: International IDEA, 2021). Available also in Spanish
- ‘Emergency Law Reponses and Conflict-Affected States in Transition’, (with Sean Malloy (lead), Christine Bell, Asanga Welikala and Kimana Zulueta-Fülscher), Verfassungsblog, 12 March 2021
- ‘The How and Why of Participatory Constitution-Building: (Re)examining expectations, processes and outcomes in The Gambia and Mongolia,’ in Annual review of Constitution Building Processes: 2019, (Stockholm: International IDEA, 2020)
- ‘Women Constitution-Makers: Comparative experiences with representation, participation and influence,’ (Stockholm: International IDEA, 2020)
- ‘Conflict, Constitutions and the International Community: Third-party interests as impediments to political settlement formation and effective constitution-building,’ in Annual Review of Constitution Building Processes: 2018, (Stockholm: International IDEA, 2019)
- ‘A Gender Unequal United States? Delayed Ratification and Gaps in the Amendment Procedure,’ ConstitutionNet, International IDEA, 3 March 2020
- ‘Referendums on Secession and State Responses in 2017: Catalonia and Kurdistan,’ in Annual Review of Constitution Building Processes: 2017, (Stockholm: International IDEA, 2018),
- ‘Rule of Law, Governance, and Human Rights in Afghanistan: 2002 to 2016,’ Peaceworks, (with William Spencer), (Washington DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2017)
- ‘Promoting Rule of Law in Peacebuilding: Lessons from Afghanistan and Iraq,’ (with Scott N. Carlson (lead), William Spencer, Charles Jakosa and Rob Lochary), (The Hague: The Hague Institute for Global Justice, 2013)
- Iraq’s Minorities and Other Vulnerable Groups: Legal Framework, Documentation, and Human Rights, (Baghdad: Institute for International Law and Human Rights, 2013)
- Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights: Bylaws, Regulations, and Legal Framework, (Beirut: Institute for International Law and Human Rights, 2012)
- Minorities and the Law in Iraq, (with Nilakshi Parndigamage (lead)) (Beirut: Institute for International Law and Human Rights, 2011)
Engage on Twitter: @echoulihan1