Inside the Political Mind
‘Inside the Political Mind’, the new book from GPG’s Founder and Chair, Greg Power, will be published later this year.
Drawing on the experiences of hundreds of MPs in some of the world’s most complex environments, the book explores their personal motivations and daily pressures in filling the gaps left by failing states.
It argues that whilst political behaviour in such contexts frequently deviates from the expectations of outsiders, it is rarely for the reasons you think. There is always a powerful logic to political behaviour, shaped as much by social norms, reciprocity, and personal interest, as it is by the electoral incentive. And it is from this human side of politics that change is most likely to flow.
The book sets out the basis for a more behavioural approach to political reform – one that starts with individuals rather than institutions – and combines insights from change management, behavioural economics, and political science in the process.
Anyone interested in GPG’s work will, we hope, find the contents both intellectually stimulating and practically useful.
The book will be available in November 2023 – you can pre-order it now:
Work with us
GPG is hiring! We are looking for a MENA Senior Project Manager and a MENA Project Manager to oversee and manage specific projects within GPG’s expanding roster of programmes in the MENA region, including Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq and Sudan, and contribute to GPG/ F’s wider research, communication, and business development activities.
Concerning developments in Sudan
On April 15th, violence erupted across the country and forced all our operations in Sudan to a halt. Our immediate priority was the safety and wellbeing of all staff and partners in Sudan, who are safe and well. The security situation, however, has not improved, and the GPG team shares the concerns of the international community about the ongoing violence in the country and its heavy human cost.
One of the key impacts of the situation in Sudan is on migration from Sudan to other countries in the region and beyond. According to the UN, as many as 800 000 refugees could flee the country as a result of the conflict. IOM has recorded over 400 000 fleeing to neighbouring countries and over 1 000 000 internally displaced people. Sudan also takes in more refugees than most other countries. Consequently, the probability of refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan becoming victims of trafficking will likely increase. A June 2023 update from UNHCR indicates that traffickers and smugglers have shifted routes to meet the increased demand, making efforts to tackle trafficking in the aftermath of the conflict more relevant than ever.
As many of you in our networks are aware, GPG has been delivering a modern slavery and human trafficking project from Sudan over the last few years. The recent developments and the impact on migration routes makes this an important time for these efforts. In the current phase of this anti-trafficking project funded by the Modern Slavery Innovation Fund (MSIF), we have been working hand-in-hand with local partners and stakeholders to support target localities in developing a pilot Referral Mechanism (PRM) – a system through which the characteristics, manifestations, and vulnerability factors for victims and potential victims of human trafficking would be mapped out, with particular attention to how they present in the specific local context of the area targeted. Once launched, a PRM would allow local authorities and service providers to recognise victims and potential victims earlier and support them sooner and more appropriately, and serve as a tool to develop a coordinated response amongst local authorities and organisations providing services to survivors of trafficking.
GPG hosts a delegation from Kuwait’s Youth Assembly
GPG provided a delegation from the Kuwaiti Youth Assembly, who were invited by the British Embassy in Kuwait, with a tour of the UK’s political institutions, including the House of Commons and the House of Lords. GPG Associate and former Director of Public Engagement for the House of Commons Aileen Walker shared her experience on parliamentary outreach and the functions of UK’s youth organisations.
Later in their visit, GPG Associate Lord Jeremy Purvis spoke to the youth delegation about his experiences in politics, including becoming the youngest constituency-elected MSP in the Scottish Parliament. This was followed by meeting the team at the Lewisham Young Mayor Programme and the British Youth Council, at which the delegates learnt about their focus on engaging young people on both a local and national scale.
We are continuing our engagement with the Kuwaiti Youth Assembly and our other stakeholders in the country. We were delighted to receive further expressions of interest for GPG’s support and look ahead to further activities in Kuwait.
Research paper on voter turnout in Lebanon launched
Our Winning With Women project in Lebanon has been working with 47 aspiring women politicians from all over Lebanon on sessions around leadership, technical campaigning skills, and the roles and functioning of municipal councils and politics.
One of the unique features of our programme in Lebanon is our approach of working with both men and women on gender equality and women’s leadership. The Male Allies phase incorporated men from our participants’ networks into our project, working on addressing gender norms and the pre-conceptions which hindered women’s access to politics. The male allies engaged in our programme have pledged their support to the women candidates, who may be either family members or professional contacts.
We are also delighted to observe the impact of the network of women leaders that GPG helped establish across the country. Through this network, the programme’s participants can stay in touch and support each other outside of the formal workshops, reinforcing and applying learnings and exchanging ideas on local development and community assistance initiatives. This allows the group to transcend the political and sectarian affiliations that often govern relationships in the country.
In case you missed it, at the end of May, we launched our latest research paper: ‘Voter turnout and mobilisation in local elections in Lebanon: Lessons for women candidates’. The research, which builds on our involvement in the country in the last few years, as well as the networks we have developed within its municipalities, investigates the main drivers of low participation in local elections in Lebanon. In particular, it examines the challenges and opportunities informing young and women voters’ decision to participate, as well as the determinants of their choice of candidates, especially women. The launch event was hosted by panellists from GPG’s team and our Associates Dr Halima Kaakour, Member of the Lebanese Parliament, municipal councillor Dr Josephine Zgheib, and political activist Victoria El-Khoury Zwein, alongside representatives from our partners LOST (the Lebanese Organisation for Studies and Training)and LADE (the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections). You can find recordings of the event in English and Arabic on our YouTube channels.
Article on our Malawi work in The Parliamentarian
GPG Founder and Board Chair, Greg Power, has written a piece for the latest issue of The Parliamentarian in which he focusses on the parliament of Malawi and the work of GPG in collaboration with USAID and Democracy International.
‘Parliamentary Innovation and Engagement with the Parliament of Malawi’ is available to read online now.
New paper from our Covid-19 and human trafficking research
We were also delighted to hear that the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab successfully submitted an article to Human Rights Review Online, outlining the findings of the 2021 research paper we published in partnership with them, RUSI, and Waging Peace, on the impacts of Covid-19 on human trafficking in Sudan.
The full research report is available on our website.
The article, which is already available online, will be published in print in the autumn.
New challenges in Iraq
Former FCO Minister and Minister for Women and Equality Meg Munn is one of GPG’s long standing Associates. She has been involved in our work in Iraq since 2010. In this blog, she looks back on her time with GPG and her frequent visits to the country.
“Take Hard Cover!”: Stories from Baghdad and Basra
This blog by Joe Power is based on accounts from GPG staff and partners working on previous projects in Iraq.
Are parliaments of any help in times of conflict?
Dr. Gustavo Bonifaz considers the cases of Bolivia and Peru, and compares how each country’s parliament weathered the political crisis they recently experienced, and which factors contributed to widely different outcomes – further violence for Peru on the one hand, against peaceful transition in the case of Bolivia.
Associate Profile Series | Dr. John K. Johnson
Dr. John K. Johnson is a comparative parliamentary specialist with 35 years’ experience working in and supporting parliaments. He discusses his background, experience, and his work with GPG in Sierra Leone.
Associate Profile Series | Kirsty Williams
Kirsty Williams served in the Senedd for 22 years, prior to which she was appointed to advise Ministers on how the new democratic structure should operate. She discusses her career, devolution, and her impact on Welsh and British politics.
Associate Profile Series | Ambassador Roosevelt Gondwe
Ambassador Roosevelt Gondwe has been a public officer in the Government of Malawi since 1978 before retiring in 2015. For over thirty years, he served in various senior positions including Ambassador of Malawi to Japan and Clerk of the Parliament of Malawi. He discusses his career, his current job and how he is using all his career experience at this time.