About ARC

We collaborate with our partners to contribute to global thinking on how to improve public accountability and build more inclusive societies.

Village social auditor training in the field, prior to commencement of social audit. Photo credit: SSAAT

About ARC

The Accountability Research Center (ARC) is an action-research incubator based in the School of International Service (SIS) at American University. ARC’s two main goals are to:

Help improve the organizational effectiveness of our partners
Inform agenda setting within the global transparency, participation, and accountability field

Each goal reinforces the other. By working together on the real world challenges our partners face ARC provides our partners with both technical and analytical support for research and learning. This also involves playing the role of the “critical friend,” creating the space needed to reflect on problems and limitations in research and practice. In addition, ARC seeks to contribute to international discussions about change strategies by disseminating our partners’ research and insights.

ARC Team

Jonathan Fox

Jonathan Fox is a professor in the School of International Service at American University and the founder and director of ARC. He studies the relationships between accountability, transparency and citizen participation. For more of his work, see https://jonathan-fox.org/.

Naomi Hossain

Naomi Hossain is a Research Professor at ARC. She has researched food and fuel riots, the politics of public service delivery, and closing civic space. Some of her work can be seen here: https://nomhossain.wordpress.com/.

Angela Bailey

Angela Bailey serves as the managing director of ARC. Prior to joining ARC in 2016, Angela was director of a health accountability program in Uganda. Angela holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Joy Aceron

Joy Aceron is the convenor-director of Government Watch (G-Watch), an action research organization working on accountability and citizen empowerment in the Philippines. Concurrently, she is a research fellow and advisor to ARC.

Mariana Cepeda

Mariana Cepeda holds a master’s degree in International Development from SIS at American University. Her ARC research focuses on the implementation of Colombia´s Peace Agreement.

Julia Fischer-Mackey

Julia Fischer-Mackey is a researcher with a PhD from American University’s School of International Service. Julia focuses on facilitating internal learning and developing ARC’s research publications.

Rachel Nadelman

Rachel Nadelman is a researcher at ARC. She holds a PhD from American University’s School of International Service. Rachel’s work with ARC is primarily related to citizen engagement in World Bank operations.

Suchi Pande

Suchi Pande is a researcher at ARC. She holds a PhD in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. Suchi’s work with ARC includes research collaborations in India.

Maria Ortega

Maria Ortega is ARC Part Time Grants and Finance Coordinator. She has a BA in accounting and MSc in International Business. She has worked in the private sector and consulted with the Inter-American Development Bank and Peace Brigade International. Maria is originally from Venezuela.

Judy Gearhart

Judy Gearhart is a visiting scholar at ARC and an adjunct professor at Columbia University. Previously she served nine years as the executive director at the International Labor Rights Forum and twelve as the programs director at Social Accountability International. She has worked for the UN and grassroots NGOs in Mexico and Honduras on trade, labor rights, and democratic participation.

Abrehet Gebremedhin

Abrehet is a Research Assistant and a current PhD student at American University’s School of International Service. Her interests are in international development, evaluation, and beneficiary feedback. Abrehet supports ARC’s work across publications, communications, and research.


The 12 ARC advisors are all thought leaders in the transparency, participation and accountability (TPA) field. Advisors are either public interest strategists or applied researchers, all known for their commitment to rights-based approaches and social inclusion.

Joy Aceron

Government Watch

Victoria Boydell

Visiting Fellow, Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

Abhijit Das

Global Convener, COPASAH;
Director, Centre for Health and
Social Justice
New Delhi

Shereen Essof

Cross Regional Progammes Director
Just Associates
Washington, DC

Walter Flores

Director, Center for the Study of Equity and Governance in Health Systems (CEGSS)
Guatemala City

Brendan Halloran

Senior Fellow, Strategy and Learning, International Budget Partnership
Washington, DC

Anuradha Joshi

Institute for Development Studies

Rosie McGee

Institute for Development Studies

Miguel Pulido

Director of Critical Thinking Advocates,
Creatura [Mexico]
Mexico City

Fletcher Tembo

Director, Mwananchi Accountability Research and Learning

Albert van Zyl

Learning Coordinator
International Budget Partnership
Cape Town

Lisa VeneKlasen

Just Associates
Washington, DC

American University Faculty Project Collaborators

Adam Auerbach

Adam Auerbach is an Assistant Professor in American University’s School of International Service. His research and teaching interests include the political economy of development, local governance and representation, and comparative political institutions, with a regional focus on South Asia and India. His main ARC collaboration is with SATHI.

Rachel Robinson

Rachel Robinson is an Associate Professor in American University’s School of International Service and holds a PhD in sociology and demography from the University of California at Berkeley. Her research focuses on sex-related health interventions in sub-Saharan Africa, including family planning, HIV/AIDS, and sexuality education. Rachel collaborated with White Ribbon Alliance in Nigeria. She is co-Principal Investigator on the MacArthur Foundation project “Sandwich Strategies: Comparative Analysis of Institutional Change in the Global South.”

Supported by

Ford Foundation

Across eight decades, the Ford Foundation has invested in innovative ideas, visionary individuals, and frontline institutions advancing human dignity around the world. The Ford Foundation supports a diverse range of actors and programs advancing civil rights, education, arts and culture, human rights, poverty reduction and urban development.
The Ford Foundation Civic Engagement and Government strategy centers on expanded participation, equitable resources and powerful engagement. Ford Foundation provides core support for ARC to enable transparency and accountability practitioners to engage in action-research and learning exchanges to effect social change.
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William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is a nonpartisan, private charitable foundation that advances ideas and supports institutions to promote a better world. For 50 years, Hewlett Foundation has supported efforts to advance education for all, preserve the environment, improve lives and livelihoods in developing countries, promote the health and economic well-being of women, support vibrant performing arts, strengthen Bay Area communities and make the philanthropy sector more effective.
The Hewlett Foundation provides core support to ARC through the Global Development and Population Program makes grants to expand women’s reproductive and economic choices, amplify citizen participation, and improve policymaking through evidence.
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Open Society Foundations

The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people. Since their founding in 1979, Open Society Foundations have been committed to the global struggle for open society and responding quickly to the challenges and opportunities of the future.
The Fiscal Governance Program works to ensure that public resources are used efficiently, effectively, and accountably to benefit those who need them most. The Fiscal Governance Program promotes new global norms, strengthens independent oversight mechanisms, and increases government capacity to harness public resources for development.
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John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including over-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk, and significantly increasing financial capital for the social sector. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism, as well as the strength and vitality of our headquarters city, Chicago.
MacArthur’s On Nigeria grantmaking aims to bolster the momentum around Nigerian-led efforts to address the corruption, impunity, and lack of accountability that have posed major governance challenges in Nigeria. MacArthur has been making grants in Nigeria since 1989, opening an office in Abuja in 1994 staffed by Nigerians.
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