Marielle Velander

Senior Program Associate

Marielle supports the programs team by designing and conducting research through community engagements and bolstering business development with her can-do attitude.

An experienced ethnographer, Marielle carried out extensive research on water governance in the Middle East, South Asia, and West Africa over several years. For one such project, she interviewed government ministers, nonprofits, and families across Jordan, Israel, and the West Bank to understand the sociocultural and political barriers to effective dialogue on water resource management. Her final monograph, published in the Elliott School Undergraduate Scholars Journal, incorporated elements of environmental anthropology, political economy, and human geography; it won the Jane B. Hart Award.

Marielle is a systems thinker and keen evaluator interested in dynamic, interdisciplinary solutions. With a team of anthropologists, policy analysts, and architects, she designed a telemedicine system to benefit migrant health workers that won second prize in The Geneva Challenge sponsored by Kofi Annan. In 2015, she led a qualitative evaluation of a London School of Economics (LSE) initiative to crowdsource reporting of peacemaking events in Syria. Her recommendations informed the communications strategy for LSE’s Learning Technology and Innovation unit.

Originally from the wilderness of Sweden, Marielle has lived in contexts as diverse as Malta, Jordan, and India. She is a graduate of George Washington University and holds a Master’s in Anthropology and Development from the London School of Economics. A native Swedish speaker, she is also proficient in Spanish, Arabic, and Urdu—the latter two inspired by her enthusiasm for Lebanese jazz and Sufi rock.