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Patrick Quirk

Senior Director – Strategy, Research, and the Center for Global Impact

Patrick W. Quirk, Ph.D. serves as Senior Director – Strategy, Research, and the Center for Global Impact.  In this role, he manages the team of thematic experts, researchers, and global project staff who help IRI monitor and develop innovative approaches to address emerging trends and challenges. This includes helping IRI incubate and scale-up innovative, cross-cutting democracy and governance programs to address global challenges to democracy, as well as maximize impact in priority technical areas including political processes, electoral transitions, fragility and stabilization, countering authoritarian influence, and digital democracy. He also oversees IRI’s institutional efforts on monitoring, evaluation and learning, and applied research.  Concurrent to serving at IRI, Quirk is a Nonresident Fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution. 

Before joining IRI, Dr. Quirk served on the U.S. Secretary of State’s Policy Planning staff in the Department of State as the lead advisor for fragile states, conflict and stabilization, and foreign assistance. From 2018-2019, he conceptualized, and managed the process to advance, the new U.S. approach to fragile states

Prior to Policy Planning, he served in State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations as Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy. In this capacity, he was the chief political scientist for, and a lead author of, the 2018 Stabilization Assistance Review (SAR); led the team that conceptualized and institutionalized CSO’s approach to mitigate conflict surrounding elections and political transitions; and deployed to Myanmar, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, and Tunisia to work on conflict prevention efforts. He served as an electoral security advisor to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) surrounding the 2015 elections. During his government service, Quirk received several Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards. From 2017-2018, he was a nonresident Penn Kemble Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

Prior to government service, Dr. Quirk was a Research Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, where he led a research study on how rising powers like China, Russia, and India use foreign aid to advance their national interests and the implications for U.S. national security. Prior to GMF, he was a Senior Manager at Creative Associates International, where he led risk assessments for the U.S. government, managed democracy assistance and conflict prevention programs in East Africa and the Middle East and was responsible for business development.

Dr. Quirk is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University, teaching courses on stabilization and political violence. His book, Great Powers, Weak States, and Insurgency: Explaining Internal Threat Alliances, was published in 2017. He also co-authored USAID’s Best Practices in Electoral Security, a Guide for Democracy, Human Rights and Governance Programming and is the lead author of CSO’s Electoral Violence Assessment Framework assessment methodology. 

Quirk earned a B.A. in History from Bates College and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University.