Dr. Kavita Heijstek Ziemann

“In his novel, Il Gattopardo, the Italian novelist Di Lampedusa wrote, “everything needs to change, so everything can stay the same”. After interviewing numerous reformers around the world, I realised that peaceful, systemic changes often occur when established elites recognise that resistance to innovation would eventually bring about their own demise."

Kavita Heijstek-Ziemann is an empirical political scientist by training. She is a member of HiiL's Measuring Justice team and works on topics related to the rule of law, judicial reform, access to justice, legal empowerment and dispute resolution processes (in fragile and conflict-affected states in addition to stable and developed democracies).

Before joining HiiL, Kavita worked as a project officer and lecturer at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University. She specialised in democratisation processes, democratic legitimacy, institutional change, citizen participation and public opinion research. During this period she taught courses in the Bachelor's and Master's program in the field of international relations, comparative politics, political psychology and methods & statistics. From 2008 to 2010, Kavita also worked at University of Oxford and Victoria University of Wellington.

Kavita has published several articles on democratisation, constitutional reform and democratic legitimacy. She also authored a book and organised various conferences and workshops on political change, economic crises and protest movements around the world.


Dr. Kavita Heijstek Ziemann
Senior Justice Sector Advisor
+31 (0) 70 762 0700
+31 (0) 6 1421 8134