Alina Rocha Menocal joins DLP research team

Alina Rocha Menocal joins DLP this month as a Senior Research Fellow, on secondment for 18 months from the UK-based Overseas Development Institute. Alina will lead DLP’s Elites and Political Settlements core workstream until the end of March 2016.

Originally from Mexico, Alina joined ODI, the UK’s leading independent think-tank on international development, as a Research Officer in the Centre for Aid and Public Expenditure (CAPE) in 2005. She became a Research Fellow a year later, and played a key role in forming what started as ODI’s politics cluster and is now the Politics and Governance Programme.

Working closely with colleagues, Alina has since helped shape some of ODI’s leading work on why the state and institutions matter in development, and the political economy of development, while seeking to bridge the gap between theory and practice. She also has a particular interest in how to communicate complex ideas in innovative ways.

During her early days at ODI, in collaboration with Verena Fritz, Alina conceptualised and developed a high-profile series of meetings on ‘(Re)building Developmental States’, which addressed the issue of states in the context of wider debates about state formation and development. DLP’s founding director Adrian Leftwich was invited to launch the series as its very first keynote speaker. Adrian died last year after a short and typically courageous battle with lung cancer.

‘Adrian became a close friend and collaborator, and I was one of many who were greatly inspired by his views and ideas. I followed his work at DLP closely, particularly in recent years while he was developing his ideas about the importance of power in political economy analysis.’

‘This secondment is a wonderful opportunity to continue to build on his ideas.’

Alina is keen to do some more in-depth comparative work on how states have dealt with issues of institutional change, and how they have addressed (or not) the challenges and tensions that emerge from efforts to undertake multiple transformations at once.

‘Many countries across the developing world today, especially in conflict and post-conflict settings, are not only trying to democratise but also to build functional states in the first place – they want to achieve peace, promote development and rearticulate the nature of the links binding state and society. This is a very tall order, and one thing we have learned is that ‘all good things’ do not necessarily go together.

‘There are always some trade-offs and dilemmas involved, and understanding how elites navigate through these in a dynamic interaction with different groups in society is essential to appreciate how states evolve over time and what the potential for developmental transformation might be.’

One of Alina’s key interests revolves around how to bridge the gaps between research, policy and practice. After close to a decade working in this field, she does believe that there has been some gradual change – especially in terms of how the development community thinks about the challenges of development.

‘Minds are more open, and there is a sense of research being used to inform policy in ways that challenge old assumptions about how change happens,’ she said. ‘What is still needed, of course, is to change actual practice.’

Related items

New article - To Boldly Know: Knowledge, Peacekeeping and Remote Data Gathering in Conflict-Affected States

Thursday 12th October 2017

In this article in the Journal of International Peacekeeping, DLP researcher Suda Perera critically evaluates crowdsourcing's uses and abuses, and warns against an over-reliance on remotely gathered conflict data.

Read more

Why political settlements matter

Thursday 5th October 2017

Join us on 5 Oct 2017 at ODI (10-11:30am) to discuss the research featured in a special issue of The Journal of International Development co-edited by Alina Rocha Menocal (DLP and ODI) and Jan Pospisil (Political Settlements Research Programme at the University of Edinburgh).

Read more

DLP shares research at FCO Africa Study Day

Monday 27th March 2017

DLP findings on the Democratic Republic of Congo were among the topics discussed with with UK diplomats and civil servants at the FCO's Africa Study Day, held at Sandhurst on 21 March. This year's Foreign and Commonwealth Office event was organised by University of Birmingham's International Development Department, home to DLP.

Read more

New role for Alina Rocha Menocal

Monday 31st October 2016

After many significant contributions to DLP's research, events and impact, Alina Rocha Menocal is now moving on to take up a USAID Senior Democracy Fellowship. Alina will also continue her role as a Research Fellow in ODI's Politics and Governance Programme, on a part-time basis, and we are delighted that she will retain close links with DLP as a Research Associate.

Read more

2016 Adrian Leftwich Memorial Lecture

Thursday 27th October 2016

The University of Manchester's annual lecture in memory of DLP's founding Director of Research, Adrian Leftwich, will be given this year by Nic van de Walle, Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, on Wednesday, 16 November.

Read more

Political settlements in Africa

Thursday 7th July 2016

Political settlements in Africa, the politics of inclusion and the role of international actors were the focus of the most recent BISA Africa Working Group workshop, convened by DLP Research Fellow Suda Perera at the University of Birmingham.

Read more

Social contracts for peace: new research initiative

Friday 24th June 2016

A new research initiative at US university The New School focuses on the social contract as a means of revitalising thinking and practice about peacebuilding. DLP Senior Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal has joined the team of thematic and policy specialists who form the working group supporting the project and its researchers.

Read more

The collapse of trust in government: Will democracy survive?

Thursday 26th May 2016

Dr Heather Marquette was among the panellists on May 19 at the Challenges of Government Conference 2016, discussing whether democracy will survive the collapse of trust in government. The conference was hosted by the University of Oxford's Blavatnik School of Government. Videos are available.

Read more

State fragility and formation: democracy in retreat workshop

Friday 29th April 2016

A collaborative workshop at La Trobe University, Melbourne, at which DLP Senior Partner Chris Roche and Dr Sarah Phillips were panellists, considered whether democracy is an appropriate framework for efforts to make sense of the struggles of fragile states.

Read more

Political settlements and public service performance

Friday 15th April 2016

A conference hosted by the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence, in partnership with DLP and the Centre for Public Impact, focused on the impact political settlements have on the efficiency of public services. Many of the presentations are now available online.

Read more

Call for papers for DSA conference panel on political settlements

Friday 8th April 2016

Paper proposals are invited for a panel on political settlements and pathways out of fragility at this year's Development Studies Association conference. The panel convenors are Alina Rocha Menocal and Jan Pospisil. The conference will be held on 12-14 September in Oxford, UK.

Read more

Collaborative research on digital feminism in Fiji

Monday 4th April 2016

DLP researcher Tait Brimacombe and researchers from the University of the South Pacific are exploring how feminists and women's rights activists in Fiji are using digital technologies.

Read more

Discussion on Libya with Radio France International

Friday 11th March 2016

Attempts by the UN to broker agreement on a Libyan government of national unity are discussed in a new RFI podcast featuring Alina Rocha Menocal.

Read more

Seminar on emerging democracies - rising to the challenge

Tuesday 9th February 2016

Alina Rocha Menocal discussed the relationship between democracy and development at The Australian National University on 9 February 2016. 'Emerging Democracies: Rising to the Challenge' was a Centre for Democratic Institutions seminar that considered how best to help promote development in countries which, formally at least, are democracies but seem to be 'stuck' in transition.

Read more

NIMD programme evaluation released

Thursday 3rd December 2015

An inception study led by DLP Senior Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal is part of the newly released evaluation report from the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy.

Read more

Political settlements at the EISA conference

Monday 28th September 2015

Senior Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal presented a DLP paper in progress at the 9th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, organised by the European International Studies Association (EISA). Alina's State of the Art (SOTA) paper on political settlements will be published this autumn.

Read more

Crowdsourcing as a research tool

Wednesday 2nd September 2015

Recent fieldwork by DLP research fellow Suda Perera is proving a rich source of insight into research methods.

Read more

DFID learning event on analysing political settlements

Thursday 27th August 2015

DLP Director Heather Marquette and Senior Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal joined a DFID panel discussion today. This asked: 'How can we Analyse Political Settlements, Institutions & Citizens and get a Better Line of Sight to our Country and Sector Programming?'

Read more

Launch of service delivery and legitimacy research project: Lebanon and Jordan

Thursday 30th July 2015

Can municipal service delivery improve municipal and state legitimacy and foster social cohesion, especially among communities hosting large refugee populations? A new DLP research project working with DFID-assisted programmes in Lebanon and Jordan will explore this question.

Read more

Migrant identity and chaos theory: new book chapter

Tuesday 28th July 2015

Suda Perera's new book chapter explains how chaos theory can help us understand identity-formation in protracted refugee situations.

Read more

Women's empowerment and conflict in Colombia: new case study

Tuesday 21st July 2015

DLP Senior Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal has co-authored a new Development Progress case study from ODI.

Read more

Sharing findings at INCAF discussions on peacebuilding and statebuilding

Monday 18th May 2015

Dr Heather Marquette leads a team of DLP researchers who will present their work at the OECD this week. They will share findings with two INCAF Task Teams at discussions of the Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals on legitimate politics and on revenues and services.

Read more

Exploring the international political economy of development

Friday 15th May 2015

DLP research fellow Dr Niheer Dasandi was among the speakers at the New Directions in International Political Economy conference in Warwick this week. He and DLP's Dr David Hudson will be editing Edward Elgar's forthcoming 'Handbook of the International Political Economy of Development'.

Read more

New research method: developing metaphors

Friday 10th April 2015

An original research method developed by DLP Research Fellow Dr Gillian Fletcher features in a new handbook for social science researchers.

Read more

Anti-corruption research roundtable

Tuesday 17th March 2015

Research fellow Caryn Peiffer is among the contributors to a roundtable on corruption prevention research hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat in London this week.

Read more

New DLP research fellows

Thursday 12th March 2015

We are delighted to welcome Tait Brimacombe and Gillian Fletcher to the DLP team at La Trobe University in Melbourne. Their research will explore issues including women's involvement in political processes, and strengthening capacity for development through communication.

Read more

Training on fragility, statebuilding and peacebuilding

Tuesday 3rd March 2015

Senior DLP Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal leads a day of training in Basel this week as part of swisspeace's Certificate of Advanced Studies in Fragility, Conflict and Statebuilding.

Read more

Elites in fragile states: from predation to protection

Monday 1st December 2014

On 4 December, Research Fellow Suda Perera will present DLP findings at an expert meeting to help inform Dutch development policy on security and justice.

Read more

Course on corruption from the grassroots

Tuesday 25th November 2014

DLP Research Fellow Dr Caryn Peiffer is lecturing at the ninth Afrobarometer/CSSR summer school at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, which runs from 17 November - 12 December 2014.

Read more

Parliamentary strengthening: fix the car, or worry about the driver?

Monday 24th November 2014

In a guest post today for the blog From Poverty to Power, Alina Rocha Menocal takes stock of the evidence on parliamentary strengthening.

Read more

DLP partner launches new online portal

Friday 21st November 2014

La Trobe University's Institute for Human Security and Social Change has launched a new website, practiceforchange.org.

Read more

Evidence on parliamentary strengthening

Friday 14th November 2014

Senior DLP Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal will present evidence on parliamentary strengthening to the International Development Committee at Westminster on 18 November with former colleague Tam O'Neil from ODI.

Read more

Alina Rocha Menocal joins DLP research team

Thursday 23rd October 2014

We are delighted to welcome Alina Rocha Menocal to DLP to lead our research on elites and political settlements.

Read more

Political Settlements: the first of DLP's concept briefs

Monday 6th October 2014

What exactly are 'political settlements'? This Concept Brief, the first of a new series, sets out key elements of this increasingly prominent idea. It suggests why it is important, and what policy implications follow from it.

Read more

Cash transfers: why elites' attitudes matter

Wednesday 24th September 2014

A new DLP Research Paper presents findings from Malawi on elites' attitudes to poverty and their opinions on how to reduce it. The findings question the sustainability of cash transfer programmes beyond donor funding.

Read more

Informing debate: why higher education matters for the post-2015 agenda

Thursday 11th September 2014

DLP-commissioned research is being fed into the continuing debate on the post-2015 agenda to establish development priorities beyond the Millennium Development Goals.

Read more

Research Fellow vacancies: work with DLP at La Trobe University, Melbourne

Thursday 28th August 2014

Two exciting opportunities have arisen for an accomplished research fellow and senior research fellow to work with DLP at La Trobe University's Institute for Human Security and Social Change. VACANCIES NOW CLOSED.

Read more

DLP consolidates its partnership with La Trobe University

Tuesday 10th June 2014

DLP consolidates its partnership with La Trobe University, Australia, this week. On 13 June, DLP's directors, Dr Heather Marquette and Dr David Hudson, will meet with members of La Trobe's Institute for Human Security and Social Change to share research findings and plan future collaboration.

Read more

Welcome to DLP's new website

Tuesday 3rd June 2014

DLP's Director, Dr Heather Marquette, introduces the new dlprog.org - gateway to the findings of more than five years of research on leadership and the politics of development.

Read more

DLP's core research themes

Friday 30th May 2014

Five core themes run through the heart of this new-look Developmental Leadership Program website. They are signposts to help visitors explore our research, and they are the building blocks of the new strategy that will guide our work over the next three years.

Read more

DLP's research hub established at the University of Birmingham

Tuesday 8th April 2014

DLP has begun a new phase of work led by the University of Birmingham, with funding in place until 2017. The new research grant marks a first step towards the consolidation of DLP as a global partnership.

Read more

New DLP research on the Medellin Miracle

Tuesday 4th March 2014

From the most murderous city on earth to 'a new global standard for urban policy': Kate Maclean's DLP Research Paper unpacks the politics of change in the wake of crisis.

Read more

Political Settlements and State Formation - the case of Somaliland

Wednesday 1st January 2014

Why did the civil wars in Somaliland end while Somalia's continued? This new DLP Research Paper asks why large-scale violence was resolved in the internationally unrecognised 'Republic of Somaliland' but not in the rest of Somalia.

Read more

Political Settlements, Elite Pacts and Governments of National Unity

Wednesday 1st August 2012

The concept of the 'political settlement' has become a familiar one in the thinking of the international community and amongst scholars with an interest in the politics of development. But it has been used in a variety of subtly, but significantly, different ways, sometimes interchangeably with notions such as 'elite pacts' or 'peace agreements'. For some, the term encompasses only 'horizontal' agreements between key elites; for others it has been used to refer to the 'vertical' relations between states and societies. Some conceptions point to political settlements as 'one off' events; others suggest that settlements describe the on-going institutional arrangements and political processes that both reflect and shape the (changing) distribution of power in a society.

Read more

New Paper: Between Hope and Resignation

Monday 27th February 2012

Support for the emergence of democratic processes has been a cardinal aim of the international community for at least two decades. But how do the poor and marginalized perceive the politics of democratic processes, especially in new or born-again democracies? And how do they perceive the performance and behaviour of democratically elected leaderships? This study, supported by GIZ (German International Cooperation), shows that, although they welcome democracy, a sample of urban and rural poor in three Latin American countries regard democratic politics as distant from their preoccupations and are cynical about their elected leaderships. Nonetheless, their daily lives are filled with a variety of community organizations and forms of participation but which they do not conceive of as 'politics', or as being 'political'.

Read more

A new set of DLP Research Projects is underway

Tuesday 31st January 2012

The DLP has completed the first phase of its research program and we are now commencing a second wave of research. New research projects include: continuing research on Higher Education and Development; African Leadership and the 'emerging' African 'success' stories; the politics of social sector reform in the Philippines; an exploration of anti-corruption successes; political analysis for development practitioners; disability coalitions; leaders, coalitions and reform in violence affected communities: local reform coalitions in Medell?n, Columbia; action research exploring AusAID's Coalitions for Change (CfC) programme in the Philippines; Political settlements in Somaliland; leadership and development in very small states; and 'Thinking politically, working politically, what does it mean?'

Read more

Society for International Development World Congress 2011

Friday 29th July 2011

DLP's Director of Research, Adrian Leftwich, presented at one of the panels at the Triennial World Congress of the Society for International Development (SID), in Washington DC between the 29th-31st July 2011. The panel was entitled "Looking Forward: Pathways toward Inclusion through Political Change" and his presentation was on 'Beyond and below Institutions: organizations, politics and leadership'. The theme of this year's congress was "Our Common Challenge: A World Moving toward a Sustainable Future" and the event brought together professionals from diverse sectors and constituencies to debate critical ideas, policies and practices and to shape future development thinking and policy.

Read more

Examining the Drivers of Change in Yemen - a presentation to Australian Government departments

Monday 18th July 2011

DLP Researcher, Dr Sarah Phillips from the Centre for International Security Studies, University of Sydney, gave a thought-provoking and timely presentation on the 8 June 2011 in AusAID in Canberra, entitled "Examining the Drivers of Change in Yemen: Informal Institutions and Agency". Speaking to an audience of AusAID staff and representatives from various government departments including the Departments of Defence and Foreign Affairs and Trade, and other guests, Dr Phillips provided a unique insight into the Yemeni regime's opaque internal politics, and the nature of the patronage system entrenched by President Ali Abdullah Saleh over the past 32 years.

Read more

Adelphi 420: Yemen and the Politics of Permanent Crisis

Monday 4th July 2011

DLP Researcher and lecturer at the Centre for International Security Studies, University of Sydney, Dr Sarah Phillips has written an Adelphi book on her research in Yemen. Drawing on research carried out on the ground in Yemen, this Adelphi examines the shadowy structures that govern political life and sustain a network of social elites predisposed against any far-reaching systemic reform. It looks behind the scenes at the regime's opaque internal politics, at its entrenched patronage system and at the 'rules of the game' that will shape the behaviour of the post-Saleh rulers, to offer insights for how the West may better engage within that game.

Read more

A new publication: Higher education and the formation of developmental elites

Monday 21st February 2011

Does higher education have a role in promoting the emergence of developmental leaders and elites? Could higher education play a vital role in producing a pool of people with the capacity and vision to constitute progressive development leadership across sectors? And does higher education contribute to the formation of networks that facilitate the emergence of developmental coalitions? As the first step in a longer program of work to collect the evidence, this research paper surveys the literature on this question and offers a preliminary data analysis.

Read more

New papers on 'Political Settlements'

Tuesday 16th November 2010

We draw your attention to two recent papers, one by Dr Bill Cole and Tom Parks of the Asia Foundation (a partner organization of the DLP); and the other by Dr Edward Laws, a DLP Researcher.

Read more

DLP Europe Trip

Monday 12th April 2010

In April 2010, Mr Alan Morris (Chair of the Steering Committee, DLP), Steve Hogg (Program Director), and Adrian Leftwich (Research Director) visited and gave presentations on the work of the DLP to the DAC (OECD), GTZ (Germany), ADF (France), Transparency International (Berlin), and GAVI (Geneva), and they discussed ways of cooperation and partnership.

Read more

GTZ Brown Bag Lunch

Monday 22nd March 2010

Adrian Leftwich gave a brown bag lunch at GTZ talking on: "Beyond Institutions: Leaders, Elites and Coalitions in the Politics of Development"

Read more

About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

Find out more

News

New article - To Boldly Know: Knowledge, Peacekeeping and Remote Data Gathering in Conflict-Affected States

Thursday 12th October 2017

In this article in the Journal of International Peacekeeping, DLP researcher Suda Perera critically evaluates crowdsourcing's uses and abuses, and warns against an over-reliance on remotely gathered conflict data.

Read more

Why political settlements matter

Thursday 5th October 2017

Join us on 5 Oct 2017 at ODI (10-11:30am) to discuss the research featured in a special issue of The Journal of International Development co-edited by Alina Rocha Menocal (DLP and ODI) and Jan Pospisil (Political Settlements Research Programme at the University of Edinburgh).

Read more

Follow: @dlprog