The TWP CoP Secretariat, hosted in the International Development Department at the University of Birmingham, provides the strategic direction of the TWP CoP antakes the lead on programme management, the coordination and implementation of CoP activities, and communications. The Secretariat Team includes:

Alina Rocha Menocal, TWP CoP Director and Co-Chair of the Steering Committee

Alina Rocha Menocal is the Director of the Thinking and Working Politically Community of Practice (TWP CoP), hosted at the University of Birmingham, and Principal at The Policy Practice. From 2016 to 2020, she was Senior Democracy Fellow in Applied Political Economy Analysis (PEA) at USAID. Until June 2022, she was a Principal Research Fellow at the global affairs think tank ODI, which she joined in 2005 and where she remains a Senior Research Associate. She was also one of the founding members of the TWP CoP in 2013.

Originally from Mexico, Alina is a well-regarded and internationally recognised expert on politics and governance with two decades of experience in conducting high quality and impactful policy-relevant research. Over the course of her career, Alina has worked to bridge the gap between research and policy in thinking about governance and the politics of change, as well as to inform more effective engagement and ways of working among international actors. Her areas of expertise include democracy/ democratisation and the challenges of multiple dimensions of institutional transformation; political settlements and inclusion; fragility, state- and peace-building and (post-)conflict trajectories; women’s empowerment; citizen voice and accountability; and corruption and anti-corruption efforts.  Alina has published extensively on all these issues and she holds a BA from Yale University in political science, and a MIA on Economic and Political Development and a MPhil in Political Science/Comparative Politics from Columbia University.

Prof. Heather Marquette, Lead Advisor

Heather is Professor in Development Politics in the International Development Department, University of Birmingham, where she leads a new research workstream on ‘Corruption & Organised Crime’ as part of the Institute for Global Innovation‘s 21st Century Transnational Crime research cluster. Her research interests are broadly in the politics of development, as well as corruption,  governance, crime and aid policy. She is seconded part-time to FCDO as a Senior Research Fellow (Governance & Conflict), working with the Governance, Conflict & Social Development Research & Evidence Division team. She is also a member of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime‘s expert network. Heather provides strategic direction and guidance to the Community of Practice, and was a founding member of the community in 2013.

Sithandiwe Mujuru, Programme and Communications Officer

Originally from Zimbabwe, Thandie worked for the Governance and Social Development Research Centre (GSDRC) prior to joining the TWP CoP Secretariat, and she is the 2018 recipient of the Mo Ibrahim Scholarship for Governance and State Building. She maintains a strong interest on issues related to democratisation, human rights, political economy, social development and governance.