Occam Strategies is a political risk and research firm founded by Dr. Brian Klaas, Dr. David G. Landry and Dr. Marcel A. Dirsus. They decided to found the firm after meeting at the University of Oxford. The firm is devoted to helping businesses, foundations, governments and international organisations make sense of a rapidly changing world. At Occam Strategies, we are specialized in emerging markets and countries threatened by political instability. We pride ourselves on combining geographical expertise with rigorous analytical methods to provide actionable insights for our clients. We help you navigate the world of politics so you can focus on what you do best.
Dr. Brian Klaas is an Assistant Professor/Lecturer in Global Politics at University College London and a columnist for The Washington Post. Klaas is also a frequent television commentator and political consultant. He was previously based at the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford.
Dr. Klaas is an expert on democracy, authoritarianism, US foreign policy, American politics more generally, political violence, and elections. He is the author of three books: "The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack on Democracy" (Hurst & Co, November 2017); "The Despot's Accomplice: How the West is Aiding & Abetting the Decline of Democracy," (Oxford University Press, December 2016) and "How to Rig an Election" (Yale University Press, co-authored with Professor Nic Cheeseman; May 2018).
Klaas has advised governments, US political campaigns, NATO, the European Union, multi-billion dollar investors, international NGOs, and international politicians.
Dr. Klaas has extensive experience working in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and United States politics. Prior clients include the premier conflict management NGO in the world, International Crisis Group, the respected international election monitoring organization, The Carter Center, and large private firms. He has conducted field research, interviewing prime ministers, presidents, ministers, rebels, coup plotters, dissidents, and torture victims in an array of countries, including Madagascar, Thailand, Tunisia, Belarus, Côte d'Ivoire, Zambia, and Latvia.
His writing has also recently been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, Foreign Affairs, the Financial Times, Newsweek, The Telegraph, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Foreign Policy, Christian Science Monitor, Quartz, Libération (France), L'Express (France), The Globe & Mail (Canada) and many other publications. Klaas is a regular commentator on a wide array of international media outlets too, including MSNBC, CNN, BBC News, Sky News, NPR News, CNBC, Bloomberg TV, BBC World Service, Monocle 24, France 24, and many others.
Prior to becoming an academic, Dr. Klaas worked on US campaigns -- including serving as the Policy Director / Deputy Campaign Manager for Mark Dayton's successful bid for Governor of Minnesota.
Klaas, an American, speaks French and is proficient in Arabic in addition to his native English. He received his DPhil in Politics from the University of Oxford (New College), an MPhil in Comparative Government from the University of Oxford (St. Antony's), and a Bachelor of Arts (Summa Cum Laude; Phi Beta Kappa) from Carleton College.
Dr. Marcel Dirsus is an expert on regime instability, political violence, foreign policy, Germany and security politics. He has advised governments, foundations, multinational corporations and NATO. Dirsus is currently a member of the Working Group Terrorism & Domestic Security at the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.
Before returning to academia to complete his doctorate, he spent six months working for a multinational company in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Dirsus has also worked for Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Germany and a non-profit in India. He has recently written for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and Berlin Policy Journal published by the German Council on Foreign Relations. He has also provided expert analysis for media outlets including the New York Times, BBC, CNN, CBC Radio, RFI, The Atlantic, NBC News, Foreign Policy, DW, Le Temps, Libération and El País.
Dirsus holds a Master’s of Science in Russian & East European Studies from the University of Oxford (St. Antony’s College). He was educated at the University of Warwick (UK), Zhejiang University (China), Odessa National Polytechnic University (Ukraine) and at Sciences Po Paris (France). His doctorate in Political Science at the University of Kiel in Germany was funded through a Manfred-Wörner-Scholarship for Security Politics by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. Besides his native German, Dirsus speaks English, French and some Russian. He's proficient at R, a programming language for statistical computing. He’s a member of the German Council on Foreign Relations.
Dr. David G. Landry is an expert on international trade and investment, natural resources management, and good governance. He holds a PhD in international economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, where he is currently a postdoctoral researcher. He is a regular consultant for the World Bank and has advised national governments, international organisations, and multinational corporations. Some of Landry's previous consulting engagements entailed analysing Tajikistan’s natural resources revenue streams for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and drafting a report investigating the potential uses of satellite technology to enhance health care systems in developing countries, which he presented at the UN General Assembly. He has also helped design corporate social responsibility projects in multiple African countries for a large Canadian extractive firm.
Landry has spent extended periods of time working and conducting research in Bangladesh, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Kenya, Madagascar, and South Africa. He has been published in Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, the Diplomat, the Financial Times, the Washington Post and the Globe and Mail, and has published journal articles in Energy Policy and Resources Policy. A Canadian, he speaks English and Spanish in addition to his native French. He holds a B.A. in International Development and Economics from McGill University and a M.Sc. in Global Governance from the University of Oxford (St. Antony's College).