Kurt Bassuener (@KurtBassuener) is a co-founder and senior associate of the Democratization Policy Council, a Berlin-based think-tank established in 2005. His received his PhD in 2021 from the University of St. Andrews’ Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, after successfully defending his dissertation, “Peace Cartels: Internationally Brokered Power-Sharing and Perpetual Oligarchy in Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia.” In it, he demonstrates that internationally brokered peace agreements with integral power-sharing arrangements in these countries “entrench an incentive structure that preserves warlord politics and resists endogenous change.” Peace brokering powers that midwife these systems have a propensity for helping elites maintain them over time. He wrote for Just Security on Lebanon’s peace cartel following the August 2020 port explosion. His Fulbright-St. Andrews Award (2016–2017) enabled his doctoral studies.
Kurt is co-author and research director for the Diplomat’s Handbook for Democracy Development Support, a project of the Community of Democracies. Prior to studying at St. Andrews, he lived for 11 years in Sarajevo, starting in 2005 as a strategist for then-High Representative Paddy Ashdown. He was political and campaign analyst for the OSCE-ODIHR election observation mission in Ukraine in 2004–2005, and previously conducted analysis-based advocacy in Washington D.C. for the Balkan Institute, the Balkan Action Council, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the International Rescue Committee.
Prior to his PhD, Kurt received his MA from Central European University in 1994 and his BA from The American University’s School of International Service in 1991.