Kiel Downey

Director of Research and Resilience Initiatives


Geographical Expertise:

China, East Asia and the Pacific, Taiwan

Kiel Downey is Director of Research and Resilience Initiatives for the Rule of Law Collaborative (ROLC), where he returned in March 2023. He brings twelve years of experience working on rule of law and human rights issues across the public, non-profit, and higher education sectors combined. At ROLC, he has overseen the development and implementation of training activities focused on fundamental concepts in rule of law and justice sector reform for USG interagency, multilateral, and rule of law implementer audiences; faculty-led research projects on selected topics in rule of law; and digital research and learning resources for rule of law practitioner audiences.

Previously, he served as Senior Advisor for the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), where he worked on issues related to criminal justice, freedom of the press, regulation of digital communication, disinformation, transnational repression, and authoritarian influence in international organizations, among others. In that capacity, he performed open-source research in multiple languages on complex topics and produced analysis for CECC products delivered to Congress and the President. He also advised CECC staff leadership on substantive issues within his areas of research. Through his work with the CECC, he also provided background memoranda and in-person briefings to Congressional and State Department staff.

From 2012 to 2014, he was in the Department of Political Science at the University of South Carolina, where he served as Director of the Master of Arts in International Studies program, Internship Director, and Adjunct Faculty, and where he taught courses on world politics, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy. He also previously worked as a Program Officer for the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, where he administered grants for projects that focused on rule of law, democracy, and human rights issues in a variety of countries and regions worldwide. He is professionally proficient in Mandarin Chinese and conversant in Spanish, and he has translated academic and commercial materials from Chinese to English. He holds an M.A. from the Fletcher School, Tufts University, and a B.A. in International Relations and Linguistics from Stanford University.