Eivind Senneset
31 May 2024

Selbervik and Kirya new U4 Director and Deputy Director

Hilde Beate Selbervik becomes the new director of the U4 Anti-Corruption Centre at CMI from June 1. Joining her in the management of the U4 team is Monica Kirya, who will become deputy director.

-I’m thrilled to join the U4 team and to be working with highly skilled, dedicated, and great people, and together contributing to the dissemination of research-based knowledge to address and combat corruption in development assistance, says Hilde B. Selbervik.

Selbervik is joining the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre from her current position at the University of Bergen, but she is very well acquainted with CMI where she has worked for more than 15 years and has held several key leadership positions, including as research director for various research groups, deputy director of the Development Learning Lab and deputy director of CMI.

She is not in doubt when asked to explain what has made U4 as success story.

-I believe that U4’s advantages and recipe for success are tied to long-term work, strong thematic insight, and local knowledge. Additionally, it is a diverse international and dynamic team that has managed to adapt to changing needs. They have consistently managed to stay relevant and delivered high-quality work.

She has high ambitions on behalf of U4 and hopes to build on and refine the success factors inherent in U4, so the centre can continue to be innovative, relevant, and deliver high-quality products for the next 20 years.

-To sustain U4 performance over time we will collectively strive to build the best team while also allowing room for individual professional development. There will likely be even greater pressure on public resources, and aid budgets are under strain. At the same time, international challenges and the need for development assistance are increasing. Therefore, U4's work is more important than ever, which is to inform key aid donors to ensure that much-needed aid funds do not fall victim to corruption, she says.

Monica Kirya is a lawyer specialising in law and development. She joined U4 in 2016 and has coordinated U4’s theme on mainstreaming anti-corruption in public service delivery and integrating gender in anti-corruption programming. Stepping up to U4 Deputy Director, she is committed to leveraging U4’s resources and expertise to support anti-corruption efforts and drive change.

To her, what makes U4 stand out in international anti-corruption arena is its evidence-based approach, interdisciplinary research, and focus on practical, actionable solutions.

-We are renowned for our commitment to understanding what works in addressing corruption, and we do not shy away from pointing out what does not work. Our work is purposefully collaborative, involving partnerships with our eight funding partners – Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK – and local stakeholders and global organisations. This ensures that our engagements and outputs are contextually relevant. Moreover, we strive to ensure that our online courses, basic guides and publications are engaging and accessible to non-academic audiences. All our outputs are public goods freely available on our website. By providing cutting-edge research, policy advice, and capacity development, U4 empowers stakeholders at all levels to effectively combat corruption and foster integrity in governance.

Asked what motivates her to continue her work in the field of anti-corruption, now as Deputy Director of U4, she says that her inspiration comes from a deeply rooted desire to fight injustice.

-As a young girl, I wanted to become a lawyer to fight injustice and this desire continues to motivate me in my work at U4. Much of the discourse on corruption often focuses on how it hinders sustainable development, but that formulation is a bit abstract and sanitised for me. To me, corruption is deeply unjust and is one of the main reasons for the persistent unfairness and inequality in our world.  I am appalled by corruption’s disproportionate impact on women and girls, and most of my work at the moment is focused on the link between gender discrimination and corruption and seeing how we can use anti-corruption efforts to improve the lives of women and girls.

I am privileged to work with wonderful colleagues who share this passion and commitment to addressing corruption. As Deputy Director, I look forward to working with them to continue supporting our partners and others working in this field to promote governance based on integrity, transparency, and accountability, enabling all people everywhere to live their lives with dignity.  

The U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre is part of CMI, and the new U4 leadership will work closely with the institute’s management. CMI Director Espen Villanger looks forward to the collaboration.

-We are very glad to have a great new leadership in place for the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre. Having Hilde Beate Selbervik as the Director and Monica Kirya as the Deputy Director makes an exceptionally strong team on all parameters. We look forward to working together with them to support the U4 in continuing to deliver at a very high level.