Dr Maryam Zarnegar Deloffre

Associate Senior Fellow

Related project

What NGO-NGOs Do – Organizing Transnational Governance

Beyond Cooperation and Competition: A Relational Approach to NGOs in Global Politics

Current affiliation

George Washington University, Elliott School of International Affairs



Dr Maryam Zarnegar Deloffre joined the research group 'Pathways and Mechanisms of global Cooperation' as a Senior Research Fellow from July 2019 to June 2020. She stays affiliated with the Centre as Associate Senior Fellow.


Research Project

Collective Accountability in Humanitarian Governance

Global governance increasingly involves polycentric arrangements to effectively tackle complex, transborder policy problems such as climate change, the spread of infectious disease and the migrant crisis. Polycentric governance is characterized by multiple actors with decision-making powers operating autonomously in a given policy arena. Polycentric systems include actors – non-governmental organizations (NGOs), multi-national corporations, inter-governmental organizations, and states – with varying types of power and authority who are accountable in different ways to their legitimating audiences. Accountability in polycentric governance is therefore multi-faceted and diffuse and defining collective accountability requires agreeing upon shared values and goals. Yet, we know little about how accountability is defined, negotiated and ensured in polycentric systems of governance.

Beginning in the 1990s first NGOs, then state aid agencies, established shared collective accountability standards, such as the Core Humanitarian Standard, to regulate their behavior and improve the quality of humanitarian aid. My project examines collective accountability in humanitarian governance and is guided by three main research questions: which actors are shaping how collective accountability standards are defined, practiced, and enforced? How do (and do) collective accountability standards diffuse across levels of analysis? What are the political, social, and operational effects of these collective accountability standards? The project objectives include creating understanding of whether and under which conditions polycentric governance might improve accountability, collaboration, and trust, and transform power relations.


Research Interest

  • Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
  • Accountability in global governance
  • Global humanitarianism
  • Global health

Current Projects

  • Bridging the Peace-Humanitarianism-Development Nexus: Imagining Better Governance through Learning and Revision
  • Power in Humanitarian Governance


From 08/2020

The George Washington University

Elliott School of International Affairs

Associate Professor of International Affairs and Director of the Humanitarian Assistance Initiative


Temple University

Department of Political Science

Visiting Research Scholar


Arcadia University

Department of Historical and Political Studies

Associate Professor of Political Science


Arcadia University

Department of Historical and Political Studies

Assistant Professor of Political Science


International NGO Legitimacy: Challenges and Responses in Routledge Handbook of NGOs and International Relations Thomas Davies (Ed.). Taylor and Francis (2019): 606-620 with Hans Peter Schmitz.

“Making Change-makers: Integrating Project-based Learning in NGO Management Courses,” In Agnieszka Paczynska and Susan F. Hirsch (Eds.) Conflict Zone, Comfort Zone: Ethics, Pedagogy, and Effecting Change in Field Based Courses. Ohio University Press, pp. 159-179 (2019).

“What role for Political Scientists? Civic engagement, citizen empowerment, advocacy and activism,” edited Symposium and Introduction, with Carrie Booth Walling, PS: Political Science and Politics, 50 (4): 985-989 (2017). DOI: doi.org/10.1017/S1049096517001111

“Global Accountability Communities: NGO Self-Regulation in the Humanitarian Sector,” Review of International Studies, 42 (4): 724-747 (2016). DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0260210515000601

“Human Security Governance: Is UNMEER the Way Forward?” Global Health Governance: The Scholarly Journal for the New Health Security Paradigm, Vol. X, No. 1: 41-60 (Spring, 2016).

“Policymaking in the Global Context: Training Students to Build Effective Strategic Partnerships with Nongovernmental Organizations,” Journal of Public Affairs Education 21(3): 417-434, (2015) with Cristina M. Balboa.

“NGO Accountability Clubs in the Humanitarian Sector: Social Dimensions of Club Emergence and Design.” In Mary Kay Gugerty and Aseem Prakash (Eds.) Nonprofit Clubs: Voluntary Regulation of Nonprofit and Nongovernmental Organizations. Cambridge University Press, pp. 169-200, (2010).