Roundtable: Alina Rocha Menocal in conversation with Heather Marquette, Laure-Hélène Piron, and Verena Fritz

Wednesday 15 March 2023, 15:00-16:30pm GMT

The event has now ended. Please watch the recording below.


To mark the 10th anniversary of the Thinking and Working Politically Community of Practice, we were delighted to welcome Heather Marquette, Laure-Hélène Piron and Verena Fritz for a roundtable conversation with Alina Rocha Menocal. Heather, Laure-Hélène, Verena and Alina are all veterans in the thinking and working politically space. Through their work in and with different organisations and partners, they have led and supported a wide variety of efforts to develop a deeper understanding of why things work the way they do – whether it is about serious organised crime and corruption, or democracy and human rights, or the public sector, or climate, or women’s empowerment, or prospects to foster more peaceful and inclusive states and societies – how change happens, and what this implies for more effective policy and practice to tackle pressing global challenges and foster reform.

Together, they discussed what some of the most significant innovations around thinking in more politically aware ways and working differently as a result have been over the past decade, what insights and lessons have emerged for them along the way, where they have seen this agenda getting traction and making a difference, and where it may head next.

The Speakers:

Alina Rocha Menocal

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.

Heather Marquette

Professor Heather Marquette is Professor of Development Politics at the University of Birmingham and leads the FCDO-funded Serious Organised Crime & Anti-Corruption Evidence (SOC ACE) research programme. SOC ACE’s research, conducted in collaboration with a number of leading research organisations and through consultation and engagement with key stakeholders, focuses on tackling serious organised crime, illicit finance and transnational corruption through politically feasible, technically sound interventions and strategies. Heather is also seconded part-time to FCDO’s Research and Evidence Directorate as Senior Research Fellow (Governance and Conflict) and is an Expert Member of the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime’s expert network. Her research, which has been funded by the British Academy/Global Challenges Research Fund, DFID/FCDO, DFAT and the EU, focuses on corruption and anti-corruption interventions, development politics, aid and foreign policy and transnational organised crime.

Laure-Hélène Piron

Laure-Hélène Piron is a Director of The Policy Practice with over 25 years of experience in development policy and management with expertise in political economy analysis, democratic governance, rule of law, human rights, conflict and fragility and institutional development. She has recently completed the UK Independent Commission on Aid Impact’s review for the of the UK’s approach to democracy and human rights. She is a core trainer in The Policy Practice/ODI Political Economy in Action course and facilitates political economy and adaptive management processes. She also contributed to the recent updates of the UK and Australian governments’ guides on political economy analysis.  Laure-Hélène has worked for the UK Department for International Development as a senior governance adviser and team leader both in London and Afghanistan. She was a Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute. She has a track record in policy and strategy development, as well as in the design, review and evaluation of programmes. She has undertaken assignments for bilateral and multilateral agencies as well as international NGOs in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. She has a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and a MPhil in Politics from Oxford University, and a Master in human rights from Columbia University.

Verena Fritz

Verena Fritz is a Senior Public Sector Specialist with the World Bank Group’s Governance Global Practice, currently working in a new global unit focused on Public Institutions and emerging themes such as climate change. Her areas of expertise include public sector and public financial management reforms, as well as governance and political economy analysis. She has led operational, analytic and advisory work mainly in East Asia, Eastern and Southern Africa, and Europa and Central Asia, focusing on PFM and HRM reforms, governance in sectors, and political economy and governance analysis, and chaired the WB’s Community of Practice for political economy for many years.

Verena holds a PhD in Political Science from the European University Institute in Florence and has published a number of articles, working papers and books including Political Economy of Public Financial Management Reforms; Problem-Driven Political Economy Analysis: The World Bank’s Experience; Reforming Public Sectors in Low Income Countries: new Approaches and Evidence of ‘What Works; as well as a number of recent blogs.