Leonardo A. Villalón, TSEP co-director, coordinator of the Sahel Research Group
Leonardo A. Villalón, TSEP co-director, is Professor of Political Science and African Studies at the University of Florida, where he is also coordinator of the Sahel Research Group. From 2001-2012 he served as director of the university’s Center for African Studies. Villalón holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, and degrees from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris, the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University, and Louisiana State University. Villalón is a specialist on politics in the Francophone countries of the African Sahel, and his research has focused particularly on questions of of Islam and politics, religion and educational reform, and on democratization, elections, and political stability in the region. He has lived, traveled and lectured extensively across the region.
Daniel A. Smith, TSEP co-director
Daniel A. Smith, TSEP co-director, is Professor of Political Science and a specialist on voting and electoral issues. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and a B.A. in History from Penn State University. Smith has published extensively on direct democracy, campaign financing, voting rights and elections, and political parties in the American states. He has also published on Ghanaian politics and served as a Senior Fulbright Scholar at the University of Ghana. Smith is a frequent media contributor, an advisor on electoral issues to government and NGOs, and an expert consultant on election-related legal cases.
Mamadou Bodian, TSEP project coordinator
Mamadou Bodian, Project Coordinator for the Trans-Saharan Elections Programme (TSEP), is a PhD student in Political Science at the University of Florida. His current research focuses on elections and democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa with a particular focus on Senegal, Mali and Niger. He was a Senior Researcher in the Project Office “Islam Research Programme” at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Senegal, a project sponsored by Leiden University and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has published several works on Islam and education in the Sahel.
Thessalia Merivaki, TSEP project assistant (2010-2012)
Thessalia “Lia” Merivaki served as the TSEP program assistant from 2010-2012. A Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Florida, she also holds degrees from the University of Macedonia, Greece and the University of Sheffield, UK. She has worked on Greek national and municipal election campaigns as well as in Brussels for the European Parliament Elections of June 2009.