Jonas Claes is a senior program officer at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where he conducts research and analysis on the prevention of electoral violence and mass atrocities. In this capacity, Claes coordinates prevention projects and consults senior U.S., U.N. and EU officials in fine-tuning prevention practices. He has engaged in election observation, research and training around the world, including in Kenya, Liberia, Bangladesh, Suriname and Honduras.

Mr. Claes is the editor of “Electing Peace,” a USIP research volume that takes an important step at identifying what works, and what does not, in preventing election violence. The book evaluates the utility of preventive diplomacy, security sector engagement, peace messaging and several other instruments for the purpose of election violence prevention. Claes has written extensively on the responsibility to protect as well, including a journal article on “Protecting Civilians from Mass Atrocities: Meeting the Challenges of R2P Opposition” published in Global Responsibility to Protect, and a chapter on “The Responsibility to Prevent” in the Cambridge volume The Role of Business in the Responsibility to Protect.

Previously, Jonas served as senior program specialist in the Center for Conflict Management, supporting USIP’s work on conflict analysis and prevention, including the Working Group on the Responsibility to Protect co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and the late Ambassador Richard Williamson. In 2016, he worked from the European Institute of Peace (EIP) office to continue his work on election security from Brussels, and to integrate the work of USIP and EIP. He holds a master’s degree in security studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and a master’s degree in international relations from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium).

Publications By Jonas

Military Crackdown Mars Zimbabwe’s First Post-Mugabe Election

Military Crackdown Mars Zimbabwe’s First Post-Mugabe Election

Monday, August 6, 2018

By: Jonas Claes

Over 80 percent of eligible voters participated in Zimbabwe’s July 30 polls—a tense, reasonably competitive, and possibly historic election. After 37 years of authoritarian rule under former President Robert Mugabe, there was hope for a break with the past, with a halt to the political oppression of opposition members and civil society. But fears loomed large of a return to tyranny when protesting opposition members faced a violent response by the Zimbabwean army shortly after Election Day. 

Electoral Violence

Electing Peace in Liberia

Electing Peace in Liberia

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

By: Jonas Claes; Inken von Borzyskowski

The day after Christmas Liberians went to the polling stations to elect George Weah, a former international soccer player, as the new President of Liberia. Weah beat the former vice president and chief opponent, Joseph Boakai, in a run-off election. The risk of election-related violence was substantial given...

Electoral Violence; Democracy & Governance

Jonas Claes on Liberia and Kenya’s Elections

Jonas Claes on Liberia and Kenya’s Elections

Friday, October 13, 2017

By: Jonas Claes

Jonas Claes joins us to talk about Liberia’s election and the significance of the country's first peaceful transfer of power since 1944. Claes also lays out the challenges for the Kenyan election...

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