Bridget Welsh is a Visiting Professor of Political Science at John Cabot University, a Senior Research Associate at the Center for East Asia Democratic Studies of the National Taiwan University, a Senior Associate Fellow of The Habibie Center and a University Fellow of Charles Darwin University. She analyzes Southeast Asian politics, especially Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Indonesia and other countries in the region. She is committed to engagement, fostering mutual understanding and empowerment.
Her most recent book is entitled The End of UMNO: Essays on Malaysia’s Dominant Party (2016). She has edited Reflections: The Mahathir Years (2004), Legacy of Engagement in Southeast Asia (2008), Impressions of the Goh Chok Tong Years in Singapore (2009), Democracy Takeoff?: Reflections on the BJ Habibie Period (2012),Awakening: Abdullah Badawi’s Years in Malaysia (2013) (the Malay abridged edition Bangkit 2014). She is currently working on a number of projects examining democracy, electoral behavior and polling in Malaysia and regime support across Southeast Asia. She is also currently studying women and gender in politics in Southeast Asia, and has ongoing projects examining electoral politics, freedom in Southeast Asia, Great Power relations in Southeast Asia, and political conditions in Myanmar/Burma. Her dissertation at Columbia University examined the relationship between state power, political rights and revenue extraction in colonial Malaya. These projects reflect a keen interest in democracy and development in Southeast Asia.
She is the Malaysia Director, Senior Advisor for the Myanmar Survey and Southeast Asia Coordinator of the Asian Barometer Survey Project working on surveys in eight countries in the region. She is also a contributor to New Mandala and malaysiakini, the leading news website in Malaysia.
From 1997 to 2001 she taught political science at Hofstra University in New York. In 2001 she joined the Southeast Asia Studies program at the Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University. She joined the faculty of Singapore Management University as an Associate Professor in Political Science from July 2009 through June 2014. In October 2015, she joined the political science faculty of Ipek University in Ankara Turkey as a Professor. In July 2016, the Turkish authorities closed the university.
In 2004 she was a Henry R. Luce Southeast Asian Fellow at the Australian National University. In 2006 she received a grant from the USIP to study Islamic political parties in Southeast Asia. In 2009 she received the Max Fisher Teaching Excellence Award at Johns Hopkins University. In 2011 she was awarded the Distinguished Teacher Award in the School of Social Sciences at Singapore Management University, followed by a nomination as the Distinguished Teacher for SMU in 2013-2014. Bridget Welsh was the former Chair of the Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei Studies Group and been a consultant to Freedom House, the World Bank and the United Nations. She is a member of the Research Council for the International Forum of Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy.
She had the fortunate experience of being raised abroad and lived in South America, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Europe and Southeast Asia. Her hobbies include travel, wine tasting, reading and movies. She is often on the road conducting fieldwork in Southeast Asia.