Bridget Welsh is a Senior Research Associate of the Hu Feng Center for East Asia Democratic Studies of the National Taiwan University and a Senior Associate Fellow of The Habibie Center. This September 2019 she became an Honorary Research Fellow with the University of Nottingham Malaysia’s Asia Research Institute (UoNARI) 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.

Prof Welsh in the fields

     Field work in the fields


Her most recent books are entitled Regime Resilence in Malaysia and Singapore (co-edited with Greg Lopez 2018) and The End of UMNO?: Essays on Malaysia’s Former Dominant Party (2018) (which is an extended collection of her earlier 2016 book with the same time but different subtitle Essays on Malaysia’s Dominant Party. 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 book on Malaysia’s 2018 General Election and voting in the ten Pakatan Harapan by elections to be out later this year. She edited a special issue on GE14 in December 2018. She is also working on a number of projects examining democracy, electoral behavior, internet freedom, and regime support across Southeast Asia. She has published on a wide range of issues, from women and gender in politics to conflict and international relations in Southeast Asia. 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 part of the core team of the Asian Barometer Survey working on fourteen East Asian countries and serves as a Senior Advisor for the Myanmar and Cambodia Surveys. She directed the Malaysia survey from 2006-2017. She is a columnist for Malaysiakini, the leading news website in Malaysia, and often contributes commentaries to other regional news outlets.


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. She joined John Cabot University in Rome in January 2017 where she was an Associate Professor of Political Science through August 2019. She is currently based in Kuala Lumpur attached to the Asia Research Institute of University of Nottingham Malaysia focusing on her writing and research.


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.