Mareike Schomerus

Mareike Schomerus

Vice President

Drawing connections between different areas of research and uncovering what invisible factors shape today’s complex challenges or how we think about solutions is exciting to me. I want to find ways to unpack, through research, the many layers of human emotions, memories, experiences and actions—what I call the ‘mental landscape’— and then apply these insights, through smart collaborations with implementing actors, to improve how policies can equitably support people from different backgrounds and walks of life and facilitate needed systemic change towards fairer societies. Busara and its people bring unique perspectives into these and other debates on the most important and complex questions humans are facing today. In addition to championing Busara’s voice, I also head the Center’s work that seeks to better understand challenges in governance, fragility and violent conflict by including behavioral science in analysis and implementation (for example through the Atelier on Collaborative Transformation in Fragile Settings) and thinking on how to more generally transform development engagement in situations of violence conflict or its aftermath. 

Formerly, I was Director of Programme Politics and Governance at ODI in London, and Research Director of the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium, also at ODI. My writing focuses on violent conflict, political contestation (including through violent or political extremism), peace processes in South Sudan and Uganda and across borders, and can be found in academic journals, as advisory reports for  international organisations, in my books (The Lord’s Resistance Army: Violence and Peacemaking in Africa, Cambridge University Press 2021; and Lives Amid Violence: Transforming Development in the Wake of Conflict, Bloomsbury 2022) or co-edited volumes (Secessionism in African Politics: Aspiration, Grievance, Performance, Disentchantment, Palgrave Macmillan 2019; The Borderlands of South Sudan: Authority and Identity in Contemporary and Historical Perspectives, Palgrave Macmillan 2013). To understand how we can be better prepared for future pandemics, I am part of the BESSI Collaboration, where my interest is in trust in authority and information for societal pandemic preparedness. I am also a member of the African Borderlands Research Network (ABORNE) and the Conflict Research Society (CRS), and received a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Occasionally, I teach at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.


Languages: English, German, French (in ways that can be amusing to French speakers)

Links: LinkedIn, Google Scholar, ResearchGate

A full list of Mareike’s publications can be found here

Recent events: 

BESSI webinars

ODI Webinar: What are the behavioral challenges of post-conflict life?

King’s College webinar: Lives and Violence

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