International Practice
20+ years advising on constitution building, governance and rule of law processes

For over 20 years, I have been an advisor on constitution building, governance, and rule of law processes, including in Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Myanmar, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Ukraine and Yemen. I have worked in a broad variety of contexts, including during ceasefires and conditions of political violence. 

Much of my international work is through the Center for Constitutional Transitions, which I founded and direct. I am also a Senior Advisor to the Forum of Federations. 

Expertise: from constitutional design to security sector oversight
  • transitions from violent conflict to peaceful democratic politics
  • transitions from authoritarian to democratic rule; constitution building processes
  • security sector oversight
  • constitutional governance in ethnically divided societies
  • federalism, decentralization and secession
  • semi-presidentialism
  • constitutional courts and transitional justice
  • official language policy
  • minority and group rights
  • bills of rights
Field Experience: Advising, facilitating, training and more
  • providing technical advice to multi-party dialogues
  • facilitating public dialogue sessions with civil society groups and other stakeholders
  • leading stakeholder consultations
  • performing detailed advisory work with technical experts
  • training civil servants and bureaucrats
  • engaging party leaders and parliamentarians
  • drafting technical reports and memoranda in the field
Selected international engagements

Asia

  • Legal advisor to multi-party dialogue for Myanmar peace process, through International IDEA (since April 2019, in Myanmar and Europe (ongoing – details confidential).
  • External expert for meeting of civil society leadership in Colombo, Sri Lanka, convened by the Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law, on security sector oversight (2019).
  • Participated in an expert consultation co-convened by the Center for Policy Alternatives (Sri Lanka) and International IDEA to advise Prime Minster Wickremesinghe on constitutional reform, including meeting personally with the Prime Minister to brief him on the results of our consultation (2015).
  • Engaged parliamentarians, civil society, and the diplomatic community in a public lecture, invitational workshop and private sessions, in Colombo, on power-sharing options (including electoral system design and executive powers) for Sri Lanka (2012).
  • Served on a team providing technical advice on the redesign of Nepal’s judicial system to adapt it to a federal structure through consultations with the legal profession and judiciary, in support of the Nepal Bar Association; and led workshops on official language rights for the indigenous peoples’ caucus of Nepal’s Constitutional Assembly (hosted by International IDEA), and on the right to self-determination for indigenous peoples under international law (hosted by UNDP) (2010).

Europe and United Nations

  • Launched report on semi-presidentialism to members of the Constitutional Commission of Ukraine in Kyiv at a high-level workshop co-convened by the European Union, the Venice Commission (European Commission for Democracy through Law), International IDEA, and the Center of Policy and Legal Reform (Ukraine) (2018).
  • Invited participant in Expert Group meetings in Geneva and New York on Transitional Justice and Atrocity Prevention to advise Pablo de Greiff, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence & Adama Dieng, UN Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the prevention of genocide (2017).
  • Co-chaired a two-day international meeting in Brussels to present the preliminary results of the Territory and Power project, in cooperation with the European Union External Action Service and hosted by the European Union Committee of Regions, attended by nearly 100 representatives of multilateral organizations (including the United Nations), regional organizations, MFAs, ODAs, NGOs, and technical advisors (2015).
  • Co-chaired an international meeting of experts from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, North America and Western Europe at the Canadian embassy in the Hague, in partnership with International IDEA, for the Security Sector Reform & Constitutional Transitions In Emerging Democracies project, to explore the role of security sector reform in constitutional reform processes (2014).

Middle East and North Africa

  • Legal advisor to Yemen multi-party dialogue, convened by International IDEA under the auspices of the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen (since July 2018, in Tunisia and Europe; ongoing; details confidential).
  • Served as a senior international scholar in residence at the Academy of the Arab Association of Constitutional Law in Tunis, leading seminars and working intensively with emerging constitutional experts from across the Arab region (2016 & 2019).
  • Directed the Constitutional Transitions Clinic (at the New York University School of Law), that deployed 40 student researchers from 11 countries stationed in the United States, Beirut, Cairo and Tunis to support International IDEA’s Middle East constitution building program; produced six technical reports (in English and Arabic) on constitutional design in the Middle East and North Africa, jointly published by International IDEA, CT, and (for three reports) UNDP, and served as the lead author on these reports; made two missions to Tunisia with the research team to present draft reports and consult President Marzouki, legal experts, parliamentarians with responsibility for the constitutional process, academic experts, civil society, and university students (2012 to 2014).
  • Member of a joint Egyptian-international expert group, convened by International IDEA in cooperation with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, to review a draft of the Egyptian constitution in Cairo (2013).
  • Drafted a report for International IDEA on design options for the Libyan constitutional process (prior to the election of the Constitutional Assembly of Libya), which addressed possible mechanisms to coordinate the work of the Constitutional Assembly and the General National Congress (GNC), and led a workshop in Tripoli with members of the GNC to review and discuss these options (2012 to 2013).
  • Participated as international expert in workshop convened by International IDEA to review a draft of the 2011 Jordanian constitutional amendments in Beirut (2012).
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