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WCED Lecture. The Rise of Imitation Election Observers

Lee Morgenbesser, associate professor, School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University
Tuesday, March 14, 2023
5:00-6:30 PM
555 Weiser Hall Map
In the pursuit of both domestic control and international credibility, dictatorships have fueled the rise of “imitation” election observers to validate their flawed polls. The cast of characters includes ambassadors, academics, celebrities, civil servants, corporate executives, journalists, lawyers, members of parliament, public relations consultants, and even former presidents and prime ministers. This lecture addresses the origins, features, and impact of this global phenomenon.

Lee Morgenbesser is an associate professor with the School of Government and International Relations at Griffith University and fellow with the Australian Research Council. His latest book is The Rise of Sophisticated Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2020), and he is currently working on a new book tentatively entitled "Faithful Imposters: The Wrecking of International Election Observation." A regular contributor to international media outlets and consultant to international organizations, some of his research has appeared in Comparative Political Studies, Democratization, Journal of Democracy, Political Studies, and The Pacific Review. In addition, he has been invited to present his research at the Council on Foreign Relations, European Parliament, National Endowment for Democracy, United States Department of State, as well as the United States Agency for International Development, amongst many other institutions. His research areas are authoritarian politics, dictators, democratization, election observation, and Southeast Asian politics.

This lecture will be presented in person in 555 Weiser Hall and on Zoom. Webinar registration required at

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Asia, International, Politics, Southeast Asia
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, International Institute

International Institute Programming

The International Institute’s centers sponsor numerous conferences, lectures, exhibits, and cultural performances throughout the year. These events are designed to educate the university community and the public about global issues and inspire discussion and dialogue. 

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