Bret Barrowman

Bret Barrowman

Postdoctoral Fellow | Center for Global Impact at the International Republican Institute

Bret Barrowman is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Global Impact at the International Republican Institute, where he conducts research youth civic and political engagement, closed and closing spaces, preventing/countering violent extremism (P/CVE), anticorruption policies, and political party development. Previously, he received a Ph.D. in Political Science from George Washington University, where his dissertation focused on political party building strategies and anticorruption programs in Georgia and Ukraine. He has also conducted research on youth participation in Georgia, international security and development issues in Eurasia, and has designed and implemented field experiments on voter contact and civic engagement in the United States. He also holds a B.A. in Political Science and Russian Studies from Stetson University, and an M.A. in Security Policy Studies from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.

Why do you believe innovations in participatory democracy are important?

When governing institutions are accountable only to small groups with narrow interests, they are unwilling or unable to make policy for the public good. Innovations that facilitate democratic participation are vital to helping institutions, and the people that inhabit them, understand that they are accountable to all citizens, not just particular interest groups.

What do you hope to see at the 2018 Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference?

I want to see some cutting edge things that people are doing in increase political and civic engagement, but I would also like to see evidence that some of these things work — that these innovations are producing gains in engagement beyond the set of people involved in the program.