Dr. Adams is a researcher and practitioner working in the area of civil society and human rights in less democratic contexts. She is currently the Director for Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning for the USAID-funded global civil society and media strengthening award called CSM-STAND at Pact. Previously, she served as Senior Director for Strategy, Development and Learning at Freedom House, and as a Democracy Fellow in the Learning Division of the Center of Excellence in Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (DRG Center) at USAID.
Prior to her transition into the practitioner world, Laura was in academia for fifteen years, most recently at Harvard University as Director of the Program on Central Asia and the Caucasus, Academic Advisor to the M.A. program in Russian, East European and Eurasian area studies, and a Lecturer in Sociology. She continues to do research on social movements in authoritarian contexts and to write about contemporary Central Asia. She is the co-author of a report on the precursors to civic mobilization in hard authoritarian contexts that is forthcoming in fall, 2022.
Ph.D. and M.A. – Sociology, UC Berkeley
BA – Sociology and Soviet Area Studies, Macalester College
Civil society and social movements; authoritarianism; Central Eurasia; monitoring, evaluation and learning within international development.