Visiting Faculty and Scholars

The Center for West European Studies and the EU Center are pleased to feature a number of UW visiting scholars and faculty. These visitors enrich the European Studies program and the UW’s academic environment through their teaching, research, and outreach. The centers also regularly host European Union Fellows, EU officials based at the UW for up to one year. These EU Fellows teach UW undergraduate courses on EU themes, and give frequent outreach talks at other universities and community organizations throughout our region. The Centers can host a limited number of visiting scholars at any time. We only accept applications from scholars whose research overlaps with UW and Center resources, and who would be coming under the auspices of a major research grant program (e.g. Fulbright) which includes full funding. We regret that neither Center is able to fund post-doctoral or other research/teaching positions.

Current Visiting Faculty and Researchers

Dr. Elise Stephenson is the Deputy Director of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at the Australian National University, founded and chaired by former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard. Elise is a multi award-winning researcher and entrepreneur focused on gender, sexuality and leadership in frontier international relations, from researching space policy, to AI, climate, diplomacy, national security and intelligence, security vetting, international representation, and the Asia Pacific. She is a Gender, Space and National Security Fellow of the National Security College, an adjunct in the Griffith Asia Institute and a Fulbright Fellow of the Henry M Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington.

Elise is recognized by Google as one of Australia’s Top 50 Outstanding LGBTIQ+ Leaders, the United Nations Australia Association as a Community Awardee. She is a three-times university medalist, including being recipient of the Chancellor’s Medal for Excellence in PhD Research, the University Medal for Excellence in Honours/Masters Research, and the Politics, Asian Studies and International Relations Medal for Excellence in her Undergraduate Studies. She has published widely in academic and non-academic publications, and her first book, The Face of the Nation: Women in International Affairs is due to be published by Oxford University Press this January (2024).

Rear Admiral Brett Heimbigner (Ret.) is a Visiting Scholar in the Center for West European Studies and 1987 graduate of the JSIS and the University of Washington’s Naval ROTC Unit. Admiral Heimbigner spent the majority of his 30-year military career as an intelligence officer deploying globally and living overseas mostly in Europe and the Middle East. His wide-ranging roles included extensive combat intelligence special operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Middle East and African terrorist concentrations. He also served three tours in Europe (London, Cambridge and Brussels) including one as the Director of Intelligence and Warning for the NATO Headquarters during the initial phase of Russian aggression against Ukraine from 2014-2016. The Admiral briefed the NATO North Atlantic Council (NAC) and supported the Secretary General directly on regular basis while chairing the Military Intelligence Committee which included over 70 Allied intelligence and security services. He also has significant U.S. national security and interagency experience gained from two U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff and CIA headquarters detailed assignment. The Admiral is currently a Director for the Raytheon Company addressing North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) missile defense requirements in Colorado Springs, CO. He remains current on several European, NATO and Ukraine Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability requirements based on the close working relationship Ukraine and many of the Allies have formed with Raytheon, particularly since Russia’s most recent invasion. He is also an active mentor for JSIS students.

The Admiral also obtained a masters from the Naval War College in National Security Studies and has attended multiple business executive courses, including the Naval Post Graduate School and UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. Heimbigner’s awards include the CIA’s Donovan Award, Director Defense Intelligence Agency’s Award, Bronze Star, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation (two awards) and multiple Iraq and Afghanistan campaign medals in addition to several citations from NATO Allies.

Dr. Chiara Pierobon is DAAD Visiting Professor at the University of Washington and Co-Editor of the Springer Open Access Publication Series „Transformation and Development in the OSCE Region” at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan). She holds a bi-national PhD in Sociology and Social Research awarded by the University of Bielefeld (Germany) and the University of Trento (Italy). Her main areas of expertise are Germany and EU’s support to civil society in Central Asia, promotion of democracy, human rights and sustainable development, prevention of violent extremism (PVE), public diplomacy, social capital and resilience. Her studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals, such as the Central Asian Affairs, Central Asian Survey, Development Policy Review, Evaluation and she has been author and/or contributor of edited volumes from Nomos, Palgrave Macmillan, Routledge, Sage and Springer. In the past years, Dr. Pierobon served as manager and executive director of education exchange initiatives in Europe and Russia funded by the European Commission and the DAAD, and of collaborative research projects in Central Asia funded by the Volkswagen Foundation. Dr. Pierobon is former Visiting Professor for Macrosociology and European Societies at the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg (Germany) and at the Asia-Europe Institute (AEI) of Malaya University (Malaysia) and former Visiting Scholar at American University of Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan), German Kazakh-University (Kazakhstan), University of California/Berkeley (USA) and St. Petersburg State University (Russia). In addition to her academic activities, she has been active as consultant and trainer for international organizations, NGOs and think-tanks such as DVV International / Regional Office for Central Asia, Europe-Central Asia Monitoring (EUCAM), European Neighbourhood Council (ENC) and the UNESCO Cluster Office for Central Asia.

Previous Visiting Faculty and Researchers

Dr. Niko Switek is an affiliated Senior Research Fellow with the Center for West European Studies following his 2018-2021 term as the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Visiting Assistant Professor at the Jackson School of International Studies and the Department of Political Science. Previously, Dr. Switek was a Lecturer and Researcher in the Department of Political Science/NRW School of Governance at the University of Duisburg-Essen, where he received his PhD with a thesis on the coalition politics of Germany’s Green party. His research focuses on German and European party organizations and party systems in comparative perspective. Recent publications include Collective Leadership and Divided Power in West European Parties (with D. Campus and M. Valbruzzi – Palgrave MacMillan 2021). He also pursues interdisciplinary research on popular culture and politics, most recently editing a volume on political representations in television series (2018). Currently he works in a project on internationalization strategies at the German Rector’s Conference (HRK) in Bonn.

Dr. Max Lemke is the Head of Internet of Things (IoT) unit in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology. He is responsible for Horizon 2020 programmes on the digital transformation of key industrial sectors, including in particular in agri-food, smart energy and mobility. In the new Horizon Europe and DIGITAL programmes, he coordinates the developments on the next generation IoT as well as on data spaces and digital industrial platforms for the above sectors.

In his previous roles at the Commission, Max Lemke had a leading role in developing and coordinating the Digitising European Industry strategy, and was involved in the development of the European Strategy for Artificial Intelligence. He was responsible for embedded and cyber-physical systems, advanced computing, and ICT for manufacturing (Industry 4.0). He was co-responsible for the joint technology initiative ECSEL (Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership) and the public-private partnership Factories of the Future. In the latter context, he has gradually built the I4MS (ICT Innovation for Manufacturing SMEs) initiative.

Max has a scientific background in numerical mathematics, high-performance computing, and software engineering. He holds diploma in Mathematics and Computer Science, as well as a Doctorate in Natural Sciences. In 2020, he conducted a study on “The digital industrial ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest” and taught a course on “Geopolitics of innovation: The US, the EU and China” as a European Union Fellow at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Jürgen Salay is an expert on European climate policy with close to 20 years of professional experience in preparing, negotiating and implementing climate legislation on national and European Union (EU) level.  He has worked extensively in the field of international and EU climate policy, including on EU policies and measures, the European Emissions Trading Scheme and climate co-operation with Russia and Eastern Europe. From 1999 to 2009, Salay represented the EU in international climate negotiations.

Dr. Frank Wendler was the DAAD Visiting Assistant Professor at the UW Department of Political Science and the Jackson School of International Studies. His primary research interest is the study of European integration, with a particular focus on the evolution of parliamentary democracy, party politics, and public debate in the context of governance in the European Union. In his current research he compares parliamentary debates on European integration in Austria, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Wendler published a monograph on the evolution of participatory modes of governance in the field of EU Social Policy entitled “Soziales Europa und demokratische Legitimität” (2005, Nomos) and has edited the volume Food Safety Regulation in Europe (2007, Intersentia, with Ellen Vos). Further he has published in a number of peer-reviewed academic journals including the Journal of European Integration, European Integration Online Papers and German Politics. At UW, Frank Wendler teaches courses on the European Union, the Europeanisation of political systems, and parliamentary politics in the EU.

Professor Stefano Sacchi joined the EU Center as a visiting scholar in June 2016. Professor Sacchi currently holds an appointment as Associate Professor at the University of Milan in Italy, he is also affiliated with Collegio Carlo Alberto at the Univerity of Torino. Professor Sacchi is an expert in the areas of comparative political economy, European political development, European and comparative social policy, empirical democratic theory, methodology of the social sciences and hold a PhD in political science from the University of Pavia.

Ernesto Peñas Lado joined the EU Center as a visiting EU Fellow for the 2016-2017 academic year. Mr. Peñas Lado has been Director for Policy Development and Coordination at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries since 16 July 2010. From 2009 to 2010 he was Director for Baltic Sea, North Sea and Landlocked Member States.