Penn Faculty and Senior Leadership


Dr. William Burke-White

Richard Perry Professor and Inaugural Director, Perry World House
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William Burke-White is a professor of law at Penn Law School, inaugural director of Perry World House, and a co-faculty lead for the Global Order:  Power, Technology, and Governance research theme. Burke-White is an expert on international law and global governance, served in the Obama Administration from 2009-2011 on Secretary Clinton’s Policy Planning Staff, providing the Secretary direct policy advice on multilateral diplomacy and international institutions. He was principal drafter of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), Secretary Clinton’s hallmark foreign policy and institutional reform effort. Burke-White has written extensively in the fields of international law and institutions, with focus on international criminal and international economic law. His work has addressed issues of post-conflict justice; the International Criminal Court; international human rights, and international arbitration. His current research explores gaps in the global governance system and the challenges of international legal regulation in a world of rising powers and divergent interests. In 2008 he received the A. Leo Levin Award and in 2007 the Robert A. Gorman award for Excellence in Teaching.


Dr. Michael Horowitz

Associate Director; Professor of Political Science
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Michael C. Horowitz is a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania and is a co-faculty lead for the Global Order:  Power, Technology and Governance research theme. He is the author of the award-winning book, The Diffusion of Military Power: Causes and Consequences for International Politics. His research interests include military innovation, the future of war, forecasting, the role of leaders in international politics, and the relationship between religion and international politics. He has published in a wide array of peer reviewed journals, as well as more popular outlets such as the New York Times, Politico and Foreign Policy. Professor Horowitz spent 2013 working for the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy in the Department of Defense as an International Affairs Fellow, funded by the Council on Foreign Relations. He is affiliated with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Center for a New American Security. He is also a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He has held fellowships at the Weatherhead Center, Olin Institute, and Belfer Center at Harvard, where he received his PhD in Government. Professor Horowitz received his BA in political science from Emory University.


LaShawn R. Jefferson

Deputy Director, Perry World House
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LaShawn Jefferson is Perry World House’s Deputy Director. She brings to Perry World House over two decades of legal and policy advocacy, strategic planning and communications, and research and writing on women’s international human rights through civil-society organizations and philanthropy. She joined Perry World House after almost seven years at the Ford Foundation, where she worked to advance women’s human rights globally and in the U.S. through field building and investments in the areas of rights advocacy; strategic communications and engagement; intersectional leadership and analysis; research; and capacity building. For fourteen years, she also held several leadership positions at Human Rights Watch, a global human rights organization, where she led their women’s rights research and advocacy work, providing strategic and intellectual guidance to the work on women’s international human rights, crafting and executing long-term advocacy strategies, and representing HRW at the highest level of national and international fora. She is the author of many reports on a variety of issues confronting women around the world, and has written op-eds and articles that have appeared in the Wall Street Journal and The International Herald Tribune. She received a BA from Connecticut College  and an  MA in International Relations  and Latin American Studies from Johns Hopkins SAIS.


Eugenie L. Birch

Faculty Lead for Global Shifts: Migration, Urbanization and Demography research theme

Eugenie Birch is the Lawrence C. Nussdorf Chair of Urban Research and Education and is the faculty lead for the Global Shifts: Migration, Urbanization, and Demography research theme at Perry World House. She teaches courses in planning history and global urbanization, serves as chair of the Graduate Group in City and Regional Planning, and is founding co-director of the Penn Institute for Urban Research. She was the chair of U.N.-HABITAT's World Urban Campaign (WUC, 2014-2016) and is currently the president of the General Assembly of Partners, the engagement platform that facilitated multiparty stakeholder contributions to Habitat III.


Beth Simmons

Andrea Mitchell University Professor of Law, Political Science and Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania
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(On Sabbatical, AY 2018-2019, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard)

Beth Simmons is Andrea Mitchell University Professor of Law, Political Science and Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania. She researches and teaches international relations, international law and international political economy.  She is best known for her research on international political economy during the interwar years, policy diffusion globally and her work demonstrating the influence that international law has on human rights outcomes around the world.

Two of her books, Who Adjusts? Domestic Sources of Foreign Economic Policy During the Interwar Years (2004) and Mobilizing for Human Rights: International Law in Domestic Politics (2009) won the American Political Science Association's Woodrow Wilson Award for the best book published in the United States on government, politics, or international affairs.  The latter was also recognized by the American Society for International Law, the International Social Science Council and the International Studies Association as the best book of the year in 2010. Simmons directed the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard, is a past president of the International Studies Association and has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

Simmons is leading the Borders and Boundaries Project, part of our global shifts theme, at Perry World House. Her research group is documenting and will explain the paradox of hardening international borders between states in an era of globalization using satellite imagery as evidence of state presence at international border crossings. The Borders and Boundaries research group is also documenting the location in time and space of border walls and fences round the world. A new research subgroup is also developing text analysis strategies to document and analyze border sentiments world-wide. Simmons’s goal is to write a book probing the politics, economics and social anxieties behind international border “thickening.”