Ortrun Merkle

PhD fellow

Research group(s):
3. Economic Development, Innovation, Governance and Institutions
6. Migration and Development

Ortrun Merkle holds a MA in Economics, a MA in International Relations and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Security Studies from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, NY. Prior to that, she received a B.Sc. in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Passau, Germany and spent a year at the Helsinki School of Economics. Her PhD thesis focuses on the relationship of gender and corruption. Challenging the one-dimensional approach most corruption research takes on gender, she argues that one must understand underlying gender norms to truly comprehend how corruption is rooted in society. Using a mixed method approach her thesis particularly focuses on the role of political participation of women and the gendered experiences of corruption of migrants. During her PhD Ortrun has been a visiting researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS) as well as UNU-Gest in Reykjavik.

Since joining UNU-MERIT, Ortrun has extensively taught on the Bachelor and Master level and supervised numerous Master and Bachelor thesis, focusing on security issues, corruption and gender. She is an academic advisor at the University College Maastricht (UCM) and a Competence Coach for the Premium Masters Honor Program at Maastricht University. Ortrun is also co-organizing two blog series at UNU-Merit on Challenges to Peacekeeping in the 21st Century and Gender Full Spectrum.

Previously, Ortrun has worked for the Corporate Compliance Department of Daimler and at Transparency International USA, she has extensive training in mediation and is a certified intercultural trainer.




Selected publications by Ortrun Merkle


Articles (journal, professional, popular)
Merkle, Ortrun, Julia Reinold & Melissa Siegel, 2018, Corruption, Gender and Migration, 2018 Anti-Corruption & Integrity Forum, More information
Bruni, Vittorio & Ortrun Merkle, 2018, Gendered effects of corruption on the Central Mediterranean route, ECDPM GREAT Insights Magazine, 7(1 (Winter 2018)), More information


UNU-MERIT Working Papers
Vasylyeva, Anna & Ortrun Merkle, 2018, Combatting corruption in higher education in Ukraine, UNU-MERIT Working Paper 2018-021


Research reports
Merkle, Ortrun, Julia Reinold & Melissa Siegel, 2017, A Gender Perspective on Corruption Encountered during Forced and Irregular Migration, comissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), More information
Merkle, Ortrun, Julia Reinold & Melissa Siegel, 2017, A Study on the Link between Corruption and the Causes of Migration and Forced Displacement, comissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), More information


Conference contributions
Merkle, Ortrun, 2018, Corruption, Gender and Migration: what are we missing?, OECD Global Anti-corrruption & Integrity Forum: Youth ResearchEdge Competition Winner - Research Pitch and Poster Presentation, More information
Merkle, Ortrun, 2017, Corruption & Migration: How Women and Girls Pay a Heavy Toll, Roundtable discussion at the European Development Days 2017 in Brussels (7./8. June 2017), More information
Merkle, Ortrun & Diego Salama, 2017, Operation Peace: Challenges to Peacekeeping in the 21st Century, Organizer of the Breakout session: “Operation Peace: Challenges to Peacekeeping in the 21st Century” at the Future Force Conference 2017; Organized by the Dutch Ministry of Defense;, More information
Merkle, Ortrun, 2016, Long term peacebuilding in Georgia: The Role of Corruption and Civil Society, ISA's 57th Annual Convention: Exploring Peace, More information
Merkle, Ortrun & Pui-hang Wong, 2016, Rethinking the old boys club: corruption and gender equality in  Sierra Leone, ISA's 57th Annual Convention: Exploring Peace, More information
Merkle, Ortrun, 2016, Political Participation of Women – The Nexus of Patriarchy and Corruption, Inclusive Peace: Women, Peace and Security Post 2015: UNU-GEST and University of Iceland, More information
Merkle, Ortrun, 2016, Understanding the Gender Gap: Political Participation of Women in Georgia, Human Development & Capability Association Conference:Capability and Diversity in a Global Society, More information


Other (editorship, media appearance, keynote, etc.)
Merkle, Ortrun, 2018, Corruption and Migration: What is the Connection?, Tijdschrift VN Forum, 2017-2 (Migration and Development), More information
Salama, Diego & Ortrun Merkle, 2018, Bystanders for 7 years – is the UN ready for a peacekeeping mission in Syria?, Strife Series on United Nations Peacekeeping; Strife Blog, More information
Merkle, Ortrun & Diego Salama, 2017, U.N. Peacekeeping Cuts Could be a Disaster for Women and Girls, NewsDeeply Women & Girls, OpEd, More information
Merkle, Ortrun & K. Sigurbjörnsdóttir (eds.), 2016, Gender Full Spectrum, UNU-MERIT Blog Series, A journey through various UN bodies and UNU institutes, this series looks at the many roles of gender in different research areas. Co-organised by UNU-GEST in Iceland and UNU-MERIT in the Netherlands, it presents research findings from a gender perspective, methodological challenges for researching gender, and topical discussions on gender issues, More information
Merkle, Ortrun, Diego Salama & Khalid Koser, 2016, Challenges to Peacekeeping in the 21st Century: New Series, UNU-MERIT Blog, More information
Merkle, Ortrun & K. Sigurbjörnsdóttir, 2016, 'Getting Out of Our Comfort Zone': Women, Peace & Security Post-2015, UNU-MERIT Blog, ,, More information
Merkle, Ortrun, 2016, Arming the Peacekeepers: Dilemmas of new Military Technology, UNU-MERIT Blog, More information
Merkle, Ortrun & K. Sigurbjörnsdóttir, 2016, Marking International Day vs. Sexual Violence in Conflict, UNU-MERIT Blog, More information
Merkle, Ortrun, Tamara A. Kool, E.H. Hjálmarsdóttir & K. Sigurbjörnsdóttir, 2016, Gender Full Spectrum – UNU’s New Series, UNU-MERIT Blog, More information
Merkle, Ortrun & Tamara A. Kool, 2016, The Endless Road to Equality? International Women’s Day 2016, UNU-MERIT Blog, More information
Merkle, Ortrun & Diego Salama (eds.), 2016, Challenges to Peacekeeping in the 21st Century, UNU-MERIT Blog Series, Peacekeeping is one of the cornerstones of the United Nations and was, is and will be an essential tool for creating lasting peace in war-torn societies. The international system has changed in many ways since the first deployment of peacekeepers in 1948; new actors and challenges have emerged and mandates have evolved. The 21st Century brings enormous challenges to the international community’s peace and security – and peacekeeping will have to address many of these challenges. This series, culminating on International Day of UN Peacekeepers, 29 May, will bring innovative analysis and offer solutions to some of the most pressing issues facing peacekeeping today, More information
Merkle, Ortrun & Tamara A. Kool, 2015, Women, Peace & Security: 15 Years since UNSCR 1325, More information
Marchand, Katrin & Ortrun Merkle, 2015, Born Out of Necessity: The Role of Refugee Entrepreneurs, UNU-MERIT Blog, More information
Merkle, Ortrun, 2014, The Role of Political Parties and CSOs in Democratic Governance’, Closing Conference of the UNDEF funded Project “Promoting Democracy in Georgia through Empowering Young Members of Political Parties and Civil Society Organizations”; Tbilisi, Georgia;