Erica Harper

Erica Harper

Head of Research and Policy Studies

Areas of expertise

Human Rights and Development  /  Transitional Justice  /  Aid Effectiveness  /  Counter-Terrorism/PVE  /  Youth and Resilience  /  Environmental Good Governance  /  Non-State Justice Systems

Erica Harper is a practitioner-academic specializing in international criminal law, human rights law and post-conflict governance. As Head of Research and Policy Studies, she leads the Geneva Academy’s work on non-state actors, transitional justice, digital technologies and sustainable development. She also works closely with various United Nations Special Rapporteur, as an Advisory Board member at Terre des hommes, and is a fellow at the Leiden University’s Van Vollenhoven Institute.

Dr Harper’s current research centres around development effectiveness, and the intersectionality between economic development, security and the rule of law. She manages a multi-country research project examining best practices in the reintegration of former foreign fighters and building resilience against violent extremism in children and youth.

Dr Harper has extensive programming and policy experience, having worked for a variety of UN agencies and non-government organizations in Timor Leste, Indonesia, the Philippines, Jordan, Ethiopia and Somalia. Prior to joining the Geneva Academy, Dr Harper established and served as the Executive Director of the West Asia-North Africa Institute, a Jordan-based policy think tank specializing in security studies, economic policy and good governance. During her 5-year tenure, the Institute grew to become one of the region’s leading think tanks, producing approximately 70 publications annually, including academic journal pieces, policy white papers, books and print media pieces. She also served as an Assistant Professor at Leiden University’s Van Vollenhoven Institute, teaching on aid effectiveness, human rights programming and non-state justice systems.

Dr Harper holds a Bachelor of Laws (hons) and Bachelor of Commerce in Economics, both from Macquarie University, and a PhD in International Law from the University of Melbourne. She has authored five books, including on aid effectiveness, non-state justice and rule of law programming, as well as four edited volumes on the subjects of legal pluralism, governance and development in the Middle East and North Africa. Her latest book, The Last 10 Percent: Why the world needs a leaner, more innovative and pragmatic development sector, today will be released in fall 2022.

Research Projects

Iraq, Mosul. View of the west bank after the war. Project

IHL in Focus

As a yearly publication, it keeps decision-makers, practitioners and scholars up-to-date with the latest trends and challenges in IHL implementation in over 100 armed conflicts worldwide – both international and non-international.

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Cover page of the book

The Last 10 Per Cent: Why the World Needs a Leaner, More Innovative and Pragmatic Development Sector, Today


Erica Harper


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Cover page of the Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law

The enduring utility of customary justice in fragile and post-conflict states: why development actors need to stop searching for magic bullets and solve the political economy and human rights challenges associated with justice programming


Erica Harper

Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law, Vol 53:3

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Cover page of the article

Solutions for Children Previously Affiliated with Extremist Groups


Erica Harper

Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General UN New York

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Cover page of the report

'Reconceptualizing the drivers of violent extremism: an agenda for child & youth resilience


Erica Harper

Terre des hommes

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Is There a Non-International Armed Conflict in Ecuador?

2 February 2024

Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa started the new year by declaring that there is an ‘internal armed conflict’ against a series of criminal groups operating in the country. Our Research Fellow Dr Eugénie Duss, in charge of RULAC, answers our questions about whether the situation in Ecuador amounts to a non-international armed conflict.

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Our Experts and Resources on Israel/Palestine

1 March 2024

Discover our resources and what our experts and alumni say about the current situation in Israel and Palestine, with regular updates to include new events, articles, podcasts and comments.

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New Podcast Series on Women in International Law

29 January 2024

Women in International Law is a new podcast series of the Geneva Academy and ATLAS Network that showcases women with diverse experiences and career paths in the field.

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