Salam and welcome! I am Dr. Elise Anderson, an expert on Uyghur issues currently based in Washington, D.C., where I work at the intersections of international development, human rights, and research. I am currently a senior program officer at Freedom House and nonresident senior fellow at the New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy.

Photo by J.S. Almonte, November 2022

Previously, I worked at the Uyghur Human Rights Project and served as a Liu Xiaobo Fellow at the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. I have professional experience in grant-writing, university teaching, and academic editing gained through assistantships in graduate school, and in event planning and public outreach gained through volunteer work. I am also an occasional translator/interpreter and performer.

I have 15 years of close experience with Uyghur language and culture gained while conducting primary field and archival research on muqam (a genre of Uyghur music), and I lived in the Uyghur homeland for close to four years. I earned dual Ph.D. degrees in Central Eurasian Studies and Ethnomusicology from Indiana University-Bloomington (IU) in 2019. My graduate studies and research were supported by grants from Fulbright, Fulbright-Hays, and the FLAS program.

I am an experienced public speaker and have delivered dozens of talks to universities and other organizations around the globe. I’ve testified before the Canadian House of Commons and Uyghur Tribunal, and once interpreted between Uyghur and English in a hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the U.S. Congress.

My research and commentary on the Uyghur crisis have been cited in a number of major outlets, including the New York Times, the Atlantic, BBC, New Statesman, and Der Spiegel, among many others. My writing has appeared in several scholarly and public-facing venues, including Asian Music, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Georgetown Journal of International Affairs.

Photo by J.S. Almonte, November 2022

Some personal notes: I was born and raised in a tiny town (pop. ~3,000) in rural southern Oklahoma. I am a trained vocalist with an undergraduate degree in vocal studies. I’m also an instrumentalist and play clarinet, bass clarinet, soprano recorder, baritone saxophone, dutar, and ukulele. In my years in the Uyghur homeland, I had a minor entertainment career on stage and screen. I spend my non-work time pursuing a number of hobbies, including dancing (mostly swing!), music, jogging, flaneuring, and writing. In my community, I volunteer with New Columbia Swing, the Capital Area Food Bank, and Lasagna Love, and I occasionally organize neighborhood clothing swaps through my local Buy Nothing group.

For inquiries connected to my work at Freedom House, please contact me at anderson at freedom house dot org. To reach me in my capacity at New Lines, please contact me at eanderson at newlinesinstitute dot org. For all other requests, please write me at eliseanderson at gmail dot com.

I tweet (mostly RT) about my professional work at @AndersonEliseM and share images and reflections from my personal life on Instagram @eliseanderson. I’m on Linkedin, too.

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