Dr. Geoffrey Swenson

Senior Researcher
Geoffrey Swenson has over 10 years of experience working in post-conflict environments and researching on rule of law promotion, democratization, and human rights.

Dr. Geoffrey Swenson is a Senior Researcher with the Rule of Law Program. He completed his DPhil in International Relations at Oxford University on post-conflict judicial state-building in legally pluralist settings. At Oxford, he was a Clarendon Scholar, a Pembroke College Graduate Scholar, and he also won the R. G. Collingwood Prize for exceptional academic achievement.

Previously, Swenson was the law program manager for the Asia Foundation in Timor-Leste, during which time he received the President’s Award for Exceptional Performance. Swenson was the founder and in-country director for Stanford Law School’s Timor-Leste Legal Education Project. The project has produced the country’s first legal textbooks on Timorese law in partnership with the National University of Timor-Leste.

Swenson has actively designed, managed, and evaluated international rule of law programs on the ground in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Namibia, and Nepal. He was the Asia Foundation’s rule of law specialist in Nepal, fellow with the Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation, and senior associate for the Afghanistan Legal Education Project at Stanford Law School. Swenson was a submissions editor for the Stanford Journal of International Law as well as an external reviewer for the World Bank’s Public Accountability Mechanisms Initiative. He also served as a junior fellow with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Democracy and Rule of Law Project and as a political party development specialist at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs with responsibility for programming in over 50 countries.

Swenson also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Grinnell College, Master of Arts in Comparative Ethnic Conflict from Queen’s University Belfast as a George Mitchell Scholar, and Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School. His research has been published in a variety of academic, policy, and popular publications, including The Columbia Human Rights Law Review (forthcoming November 2016), The Hague Journal on the Rule of Law, The Yale Journal of International Affairs, The Stanford Journal of International Law, and The Los Angeles Times.

Languages Spoken

  • English

Recent Work

Timor-Leste's Dangerous Political Union

Ironically, a peaceful transition of power is threatening to undermine democracy in Timor-Leste. Dr. Geoffrey Swenson, senior researcher with the Rule of Law program,…

Media Mention
WikiMedia Commons

Afghanistan Corruption No Gaffe

United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister David Cameron made international news during the recent London Anti-Corruption Summit by characterizing Afghanistan and Nigeria as “fantastically corrupt countries,” and “possibly the…


Breaking Afghanistan’s Election Crisis Cycle

Electoral integrity is an essential element for ending Afghanistan’s culture of impunity and promoting legitimate governance. Over the last decade, elections in Afghanistan have…