Naazneen H. Barma is Director of the Doug and Mary Scrivner Institute of Public Policy, Scrivner Chair, and Associate Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She is a political scientist whose work spans topics including peacebuilding, foreign aid, the political economy of development, and global governance, with a regional focus on Southeast Asia and the Pacific. She is one of the founders and a co-director of Bridging the Gap, an initiative devoted to enhancing the policy impact of contemporary international affairs scholarship. She is currently co-authoring a book that develops a principled and pragmatic roadmap for a modern global liberalism.
Barma's most recent book, The Peacebuilding Puzzle: Political Order in Post-Conflict States, was published by Cambridge University Press (2017). Drawing on fieldwork in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and East Timor, it explains the disconnect between the formal institutional engineering undertaken by international peacebuilding interventions and the governance outcomes that emerge in their aftermath. The book argues that transformative peace operations fall short of achieving the modern political order sought in post-conflict countries because the interventions themselves empower post-conflict elites intent on forging a neopatrimonial political order.
Barma 's research has been supported by the United States Institute of Peace, the Minerva Research Initiative, and the Berggruen Institute among others, and has been published in several refereed journals and edited volumes. She is co-author of Rents to Riches? The Political Economy of Natural Resource-Led Development (World Bank, 2011), as well as co-editor of Institutions Taking Root: Building State Capacity in Challenging Contexts (World Bank, 2014) and The Political Economy Reader: Markets as Institutions (Routledge, 2008). She has also co-authored policy-oriented pieces on global political economic order that have appeared in Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, Foreign Policy, and The National Interest.
Barma received her PhD (2007) and MA (2002) in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and her MA (1997) in International Policy Studies and BA (1996) in International Relations and Economics from Stanford University. From 2007–2010, Barma was a Young Professional and Public Sector Specialist at the World Bank, where she conducted political economy analysis and worked on operational dimensions of governance and institutional reform in the East Asia Pacific Region. From 2010–2020, Barma was a professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.