Dr. Staffan Darnolf, Senior Global Advisor, Electoral Operations and Administration

Dr. Staffan Darnolf

Elections and Public Health Expertise

Dr. Staffan Darnolf has supported election authorities planning and organizing electoral events while facing severe safety and security challenges. During the 2014 Ebola crisis in West Africa, Darnolf was a member of team of public health specialists and election experts who supported the Liberian National Elections Commission (NEC). Building off hard data and integrating cultural values and sensitivities into a set of new procedures and effective use of public health products enabled the NEC to proceed with holding elections. As part of his role as IFES senior global electoral operations and administration advisor, he is currently analyzing how the COVID-19 pandemic impacts election commissions’ abilities to properly plan and organize elections during a public health crisis. Based on this research IFES is expeditiously identifying unique risks and applicable mitigative solutions to enable leaders to make informed decisions about moving forward with elections under adverse conditions.

Full Biography

Dr. Staffan Darnolf, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems' (IFES) senior global electoral operations and administration advisor, has 30 years of experience as a scholar and practitioner in the field of democratization and electoral processes. He specializes in electoral reform in emerging democracies and post-conflict societies and has published books, articles and chapters in peer-reviewed scholarly journals throughout his career.

Darnolf has been engaged as an elections expert in over 40 countries. Most recently, he served as IFES’ director of Program Development and Innovation and led IFES' office in Zimbabwe, where he served as a senior adviser on electoral issues concerning the drafting of the new constitution, the constitutional referendum and electoral management processes.

Prior to his work in Zimbabwe, Darnolf served as IFES' senior elections expert and country director in Moldova, Pakistan, Cambodia and Nepal (2005-10). From 2003 to 2005, Darnolf was integrally involved in the transitional elections in Afghanistan where he was appointed an international election commissioner by the United Nations for the 2005 parliamentary elections. Between 1992 and 2003, Darnolf combined his scholarly career with regular assignments for the United Nations, European Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, IFES and the Swedish International Development Authority in western, eastern and southern Africa, eastern Europe and southeast Asia.

Darnolf holds a doctorate in political science with a focus on elections in emerging democracies from Goteborg University in Sweden and a bachelor's degree in public administration from the same university. He was also a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in 1998.



Email Address: 
+1 (202) 350-6700

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