Jessica Ludwig serves as Director of Freedom and Democracy at the George W. Bush Institute. In this capacity, she leads the Institute’s efforts to engage with civil society partners and policymakers towards supporting democratic values, human rights, and the rule of law in societies around the world, including through an initiative to counter corruption and transnational kleptocracy and its impact on the prospects for democratic accountability across the globe.
Prior to joining the Bush Institute, Ludwig was a senior program officer at the National Endowment for Democracy’s research and analytical section, the International Forum for Democratic Studies. She is coauthor and coeditor (with Christopher Walker) of various publications that examine the impact of authoritarian “sharp power” influence in young and emerging democracies, including A Full-Spectrum Response to Sharp Power: The Vulnerabilities and Strengths of Open Societies (2021) and Sharp Power: Rising Authoritarian Influence (2017).
Ludwig’s interests focus on how cross-cutting dynamics of the globalized era have created new playing fields for the contestation of liberal and illiberal values. She is fluent in Spanish and has a particular interest in China and Russia’s engagement with Latin America. Her writing has been published in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Global Americans, and the Journal of Democracy. Ludwig holds a M.A. in Latin American and Hemispheric Studies from the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, and a B.A. in International Studies from Baylor University.