Janika Spannagel is a research associate at the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) in Berlin. Her research interests evolve around international human rights politics and the exploration of quantitative methods and data projects in this and related fields. At GPPi, she is currently working on the development of a new methodology to measure academic freedom across the world. In addition, Janika is finalizing her doctoral project in political science at the University of Freiburg on the topic of human rights defenders, studying the emergence and effectiveness of international efforts towards their protection. In this context, she collaborated closely with the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, as well as the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). She previously worked on political prisoner advocacy, using an extensive database of several thousand prisoner cases that she has helped build with others at GPPi.

Before joining GPPi, Janika was a Carlo Schmid Program Fellow at the Geneva headquarters of OHCHR, supporting the Human Rights Council branch and the Middle East and North Africa section. Her professional experience also includes an internship at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Tunis in 2011, during the initial period of democratic transition following the Tunisian uprising. She has been an active member of Amnesty International for many years and a participant in the German dialogue forum Junge Islam Konferenz since 2013.

Janika completed a master’s degree in political science in a joint program between the University of Freiburg and Sciences Po Aix. The latter awarded her thesis on the Palestinian LGBTQ movement and its ties to transnational advocacy as the best thesis of the academic year. Her doctoral project is funded by the German National Academic Foundation, while previous scholarships for her studies, internships and research have come from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German National Academic Foundation, and the Mercator Foundation.