Jonathan Papoulidis

Executive Advisor on Fragile States, World Vision;
Visiting Scholar, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University


In this Current Issues podcast, host Alistair Edgar is joined by Jonathan Papoulidis, Executive Advisor on Fragile States for World Vision and Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, to discuss state fragility and responses to different forms of fragility. Papoulidis’ role at World Vision is focused on new ways of working in fragile contexts through program innovation, multi-stakeholder partnerships and policy development. This podcast explores these new ways to address fragility in light of emerging trends and challenges in development cooperation. As Papoulidis explains, there is a need to move beyond narrow views of fragility as tantamount to only conflict, and tackle multiple dimensions of fragility across a more inclusive set of fragile countries, efforts which have been enabled by the recent definitional framework for fragility by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Papoulidis highlights the importance of resilience and “adaptive development” for working in fragile states, along with the need to reimagine country coordination processes and methods for scaling-up.  He argues that ultimately, fragile states must be placed at the center of efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) if we are to keep the promise to “leave no one behind”.


  • Visit the World Vision Inc. website.
  • George Ingram and Jonathan Papoulidis, “State Fragility is the Key to Reaching the Last Mile in Ending Poverty” (Brookings Institution, November 2017). To read the article, click here.
  • Jonathan Papoulidis and Larry Cooley, “Scalable Solutions in Fragile States” (Brookings Institution, November 2017). To read the article, click here.
  • Jonathan Papoulidis, “Towards a New Paradigm of International Engagement in Fragile States” (Harvard International Review, September 2011). To read the article, click here.
  • OECD report, States of Fragility 2016: Understanding Violence. This publication “takes a long hard look at violence in the world – and what we should do about it. The report showcases emerging thinking about violence, presents a new risk-based approach to monitoring various dimensions of fragility, and looks at financial flows in support of fragile contexts.” To read the full report, click here.

Jonathan Papoulidis is Executive Advisor on Fragile States at World Vision where he provides broad leadership on the Agency’s policy, programming and multi-stakeholder partnerships for fragile states.  He previously served with the United Nations, including in Indonesia as Chief of Policy and Programs in the Office of the UN Recovery Coordinator and then as Special Advisor and Coordinator for Aceh and Nias and Area Security Coordinator for Sumatra. From 2004-2006, he served in the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia as advisor to the UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Governance and Recovery. Before that, he was the senior UN OCHA representative in Turkey, preparing for the 2003 Iraq humanitarian response.  Prior to these postings, Papoulidis served at UN headquarters in New York, focusing on protection of civilians, conflict prevention, private sector partnerships and post-crisis transitional planning. He has published in the Harvard International Review, Yale Journal of International Affairs, DevEx and the Cambridge Review of International Affairs. He has a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Cambridge.

To view Papoulidis’ biography in the ACUNS Expert Directory, please click here.