Ortrun Merkle is a PhD fellow at UNU-MERIT. She 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. Her PhD thesis focuses on the role of corruption in state-building and specifically the role of civil society and external actors in the process. She is especially interested in the mechanisms, which lead to state-building failures and subsequently increase the risk of conflict recurrence. Ortrun has worked for the Corporate Compliance Department of Daimler and at Transparency International USA, has extensive training in mediation and is a certified intercultural trainer.