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Thomas Asher

Director of Research & Engagement at Columbia World Projects, Columbia University

As Director of Research & Engagement at Columbia World Projects (CWP), Thomas Asher leads work that unites academic communities with practitioners to identify fresh thinking on problem areas related to democratic futures, inclusive urbanism, pandemic recovery, and scaling for implementation. He directs CWP's election infrastructure initiative, which gathers academic researchers, advocacy organizations, and election officials to examine what constitutes a healthy electoral system and how to design an election architecture that increases voter participation and safeguards integrity. This work is part of a larger effort he heads to build communities of practice that aim to enhance civic engagement and foster forms of participatory governance in NYC – and well beyond, including in Europe, India, South Africa, and the United States. Prior to CWP, Tom worked at the Social Science Research Council, where he directed grant and fellowship programs to build research networks addressing pressing issues across the world.