Lola Cecchinel, Partner – Director International Development

Lola began her research career in Afghanistan conducting a study for the Michigan-based Fetzer Institute, during which time she worked in Kandahar, Kabul and Herat to investigate perceptions of reconciliation and peace among the international aid community. She also worked with journalists and authors Edward Girardet and Bill Dowell on the production of the Essential Field Guide to Afghanistan, conducting the field evaluation.  Lola then joined ATR as the Head of Research, where she currently oversees all project activities and development of the company.  Drawing on an in-depth knowledge of the socio-spatial terrain and cultural codes of Afghan society, Lola has traveled to more than ten provinces, including some of the most unstable of the country.

Specializing in the analysis of national and local political dynamics, Lola has managed several stabilization projects under SIKA (Stability In Key Areas) in the country’s North and South, and was the lead analyst on the nationwide study conducted to assess Afghans’ perceptions of the Taliban.

She has developed recognized expertise in the power and security dynamics of two strategically important provinces of Northern Afghanistan, Kunduz and Baghlan. In the course of her research Lola has secured access to former jihadi political figures, high-ranking officials in the administration and police, local commanders and US Special Forces.  She has taken the lead in advancing research and advocacy for ATR’s  stabilization partners on the case of the Afghan Local Police.  The findings of her research framed the political engagement of a major stabilization programme on the issue of the ALP in key districts of Kunduz province.

Lola regularly contributes to the think tank Afghanistan Analysts Network.

Lola graduated from Sciences Po Paris and holds a Masters in International Security. She is fluent in French, English, Spanish and Italian, intermediate in Dari and working on her Pashto.


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