The Leadership and Democracy Lab is an independent student-run think tank that conducts case study research on leadership and democracy issues with a particular focus on political risk assessment faced by organizations conducting business abroad. The Lab is currently housed at Western University and was founded in 2012 by Dr. Peter A. Ferguson (Political Science) who serves as the Lab co-director. Dr. Cristine de Clercy (Political Science) functions as a Lab co-director and Bruce Fyfe (DB Weldon Library) is the Lab’s Chief Information Officer. In 2012, the Lab began with 30 undergraduate student volunteers supervised by two senior undergraduates (Tannis Daoust and Scot Andrews) and one graduate student (Ali el Hajj-Hassan). In 2013, the Democracy Lab underwent an expansion, encompassing more than 80 undergraduate student volunteer researchers being led by three senior undergraduates (Eric de Roos, Hailey Tweyman and Tannis Daoust) and two graduate students (Richard Placzek and Patrick Sackville).
Lab research utilizes a case study approach and is motivated by an underlying interest in issues related to leadership and democracy. These issues drive the assessments of political risk organizations face when conducting business in the targeted case countries. Individual Lab country groups put forth academically informed, short term political risk assessment reports.
As an extra-curricular organization, the Leadership and Democracy Lab is committed to the utmost academic standards, seeking to provide dedicated students with the opportunity to turn their academic skills into tangible tools useful for future employment in the public and private sectors.