Dinorah Azpuru received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. She also received an MA in Political Science from the same university, and has an MA in Teaching and Research from Guatemala’s Catholic university, Rafael Landivar. She did additional graduate work in Switzerland and Sweden.

Her expertise is on democratization and democracy assistance to developing nations, survey research on Latin America, U.S.-Latin America relations and peace processes in Central America. More specifically, through the analysis of survey data, she studies public opinion about democracy, democratic values and behavior (for example, voting behavior).

She has published extensively in diverse academic journals in the United States, Europe and Latin America, and applied policy venues. She is also engaged in sharing her research findings through public scholarship in sites such as The Washington Post and El País. She is co-author of the book Building Democracy in Post-Conflict Societies, Guatemala and El Salvador in Comparative Perspective.

She teaches courses on democracy, comparative politics, Latin American politics, and political data analysis. Before coming to WSU she was visiting professor and research coordinator of the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) at Vanderbilt University. She continues her involvement with the LAPOP project as Director of the Guatemala Program.


Academic Interests and Expertise

Public opinion in Latin America, democracy and democratization, democracy assistance to the developing world, peace processes in Central America, U.S-Latin America relations

Areas of Research Interest

Survey research in Latin America, political culture, citizens’ support for non-democratic governance, populism

Areas of Teaching Interest

Courses Taught at WSU

  • Democracy and Authoritarianism
  • Developing World
  • Latin American Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • Latin American International Relations
  • Comparative Foreign Policy
  • Foreign Aid
  • Political Data Analysis, Senior Thesis (capstone course for Political Science majors)

Journal Articles

  • “Parenting Attitudes and Public Support for Political Authoritarianism in Latin America,” in International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Volume 31, Issue 3. Autumn 2019. With Mary Fran Malone.
  • “Democratization in Latin America: Insights for the Arab States,” in International Journal on World Peace, June, Vol. XXXIV No. 2, (2017): 47-76. With Michael Hall.
  • “Is US Influence Dwindling in Latin America? Citizens’ Perspectives,” in The Latin Americanist, December, Vol. 60, Issue 4 (2016): 447-472.
  • “Individual-Level Determinants of Anti-Americanism in Contemporary Latin America,” in Latin America Research Review, Vol. 50, No. 3 (2015): 111-134. With Dexter Boniface.
  • “Migration in Central America: Magnitude, Causes and Proposed Solutions,” in KAS International Reports, February. (2015): 72-95. With Violeta Hernández.
  • “The Salience of Ideology: Fifteen Years of Presidential Elections in El Salvador,” in Latin American Politics and Society. Vol. 52, Issue 2 (2010): 103-138.
  • “The United States and the Promotion of Democracy in Latin America: Then, Now and Tomorrow,” in Orbis (A Journal of World Affairs), Vol. 54, No. 2 (2010): 252-267. With Carolyn Shaw.
  • “Perceptions of Democracy in Guatemala: An Ethnic Divide?” in Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Vol. 34, Issue 67 (2009): 105-130.
  •  “Trends in Democracy Assistance. What has the US Been Doing?” in Journal of Democracy, Volume 19, No. 2 (2008): 151-159. With Steve Finkel, Aníbal Pérez-Liñán and Mitchell A. Seligson.
  • “¿Qué ha estado haciendo Estados Unidos?” in  Journal of Democracy en español, Vol. 1,            July (2009): 191-202. 
  • “2007: Un año de contrastes para la democracia en Guatemala,” in Revista de Ciencia Política, Instituto de Ciencia Política, Universidad Católica de Chile. Vol. 28, No. 1 (2008): 217-244. With Ligia Blanco.
  • “The 2007 Presidential and Legislative Elections in Guatemala,” in Electoral Studies, Vol. 27, Issue 3 (2008): 562-566.
  • “Guatemala 2006: El aniversario de la paz y la democracia,” in Revista de Ciencia Política, Instituto de Ciencia Política, Universidad  Católica de Chile, Vol. 27, Esp. (2007): 149-163. With Ligia Blanco.
  • “La Ciencia Política en Guatemala: el reto de la consolidación como disciplina independiente,” in Revista de Ciencia Política, Instituto de Ciencia Política, Universidad Católica de Chile. Special Issue. Vol. 25, No. 1 (2005): 171-181.
  • “The General Elections in Guatemala, November-December 2003,” in Electoral Studies, Vol. 24, Issue No. 1 (2005): 143-149.2.

Book Chapters

  •  “Political Participation in the Northern Triangle in Central America” in La evolución de la cultura política en el Triángulo Norte en Centroamérica (The Evolution of Political Culture in the Northern Triangle in Central America). Edited by Ricardo Córdova Macías. Fundaungo (El Salvador). 2020.
  • “Political Culture in Central America” in Encrucijadas de la democracia en Honduras y América Central (Crossroads for Democracy in Honduras and Central America). Edited by Julieta Castellanos and Salvador Romero Ballivián. National Democratic Institute and Honduras National University. 2019.
  • “El Salvador Twenty Years Later: Successful Democratization but Questionable Peace” in Understanding Quality Peace. Peacebuilding After Civil War.  Edited by Peter Wallensteen and Madhav Joshi. Routledge, 2018.
  • “Does Gender Make a Difference? The Gender Gap in Latin American Politics” in Women, Politics and Democracy in Latin America. Edited by T. Dosek, F. Friedenberg, M. Caminotti and B. Muñoz-Pogossian. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.
  • “Political Science: More than Practical Politics” in Political Science for the Curious: Why Study Political Science. Edited by Kishor Vaidya.The Curious Academic Publishing, 2015.
  • “Democracy and Governance in Conflict and Post-War Latin America: A Quantitative Assessment” in In the Wake of War: Democratization and Internal Armed Conflict in Latin America. Edited by Cynthia Arnson. Stanford University Press/Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2012.
  • “The Promotion of Democracy: Actors and Methods” in Achieving Democracy: Democratization in Theory and Practice. Edited by Mary Fran Malone. Continuum International Publishing Group. 2011.
  • “Carta a los estudiantes de Ciencia Política” in Cartas a los estudiantes de Ciencia Política, Volumen 1. Edited by Jorge Cortés and José Ramón López Rubí. Mexico: Miguel Ángel Porrúa-BUAP. 2010. 
  • “Democratización en Guatemala y El Salvador: un desarrollo desigual” in Perspectivas para la democracia en América Latina (Prospects for Democracy in Latin America). Edited by Leticia Heras and John Booth. University of North Texas and Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México. 2009.
  • “From Peace to Democratization: Lessons from Central America” in Contemporary Peacemaking, Conflict, Peace Processes and Post-war Reconstruction. Edited by John Darby and Roger McGinty, Second Edition. Palgrave McMillan. 2008. With Cynthia Arnson.
  • “From Peace to Democratization: Lessons from Central America” in Contemporary         Peacemaking. Edited by John Darby and Roger McGinty. Palgrave McMillan. 2003.
  • “Strengthening Human Rights Institutions in Guatemala” in Promoting Democracy in Post-Conflict Societies: Views and Lessons from Africa, Asia and Central America. Edited by Jeroen De Zeeuw and Krishna Kumar. Lynne Rienner Publishers. 2006.
  • “Los Jóvenes y la Democracia en Guatemala” in Con la herencia de la paz: cultura política de la juventud centroamericana. Edited by Florisabel Rodríguez, Silvia Castro and Johnny Madrigal. Costa Rica: EFUNA. 2003.
  • “El liderazgo político en Guatemala: Un Proceso de Reconstrucción y Redefinición” in El Liderazgo Político en América Latina. Edited by Wilhelm Hofemeister. Konrad Adenauer Foundation. 2002.
  • “Las dimensiones y el impacto político de la delincuencia en Guatemala” in Población del Istmo 2000: familia, migración, violencia y medio ambiente. Edited by Luis Rosero. University of Costa Rica. 2000. With Mitchell A. Seligson.
  • “Peace and Democratization in Guatemala: Two Parallel Processes” in Comparative Peace Processes in Latin America. Edited by Cynthia J. Arnson. Stanford University Press and W


Selected Recent Public Scholarship (Research-based articles)

             Also published in Spanish: El riesgo de retroceso democrático durante la pandemia en     América Latina), Agenda Pública de El País (main newspaper in Spain). May 3, 2020.                                                                         http://agendapublica.elpais.com/el-riesgo-de-retroceso-democratico-en-america-latina-durante-la-pandemia/

Selected Recent Monographs

  • Cultura política de la democracia en Guatemala y en las Américas, 2017: Un estudio comparado sobre democracia y gobernabilidad (Vanderbilt University, USAID, ASIES. 2018).

            English version (2019): The Political Culture of Democracy in Guatemala and the           Americas, 2017: A Comparative Study on Democracy and Governability.                              https://www.vanderbilt.edu/lapop/guatemala/AB2016-17_Guatemala_Country_Report_English_V3_02.01.19_W_02.18.19.pdf       

  • Cultura política de la democracia en Guatemala y en las Américas, 2014: Gobernabilidad democrática a través de 10 años del Barómetro de las Américas (Vanderbilt University, USAID and University Rafael Landívar. 2015).

            English version: The Political Culture of Democracy in Guatemala and the Americas, 2014:         Democratic    Governance across 10 Years of the AmericasBarometer. http://www.vanderbilt.edu/lapop/guatemala.php


Working Papers

Selected Working Papers

  • “Democracy Assistance to Post-Conflict Guatemala: Finding a Balance between Details and Determinants,” Working Paper No. 30, Netherlands Institute for International Relations (The Hague, Netherlands, 2004). With L. Blanco, C. Mendoza and E. Blank
  • “Paz, Democracia y Cultura Política en Guatemala,” Working Paper No. 2004-04, Procesos, Serie Cuadernos de Trabajo. (San José, Costa Rica: 2004)
  • “The Consulta Popular: A Vote Divided by Geography in The Popular Referendum and the Future of the Peace Accords in Guatemala,” Working Paper #243, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars (Washington, D.C., October, 1999)
Professional Experience


  • Wichita State University, Department of Political Science
  • Full Professor (2018-present)
  • Associate Professor (2012-2018)
  • Assistant Professor (2005- 2011)
  • Visiting Professor
  • Universidad de Salamanca, Spain, short course, Instituto de Iberoamérica (Fall 2014)
  • Vanderbilt University, United States (2004-2005)
  • University of San Carlos, Guatemala, short course (2002-2003)
  • University of Guelph/University of Saskatchewan, short course, Canada (2001-2003)
  • University Rafael Landívar, Guatemala, Adjunct Professor (1987-1996)

Other Academic Appointments

  • Wichita State University:  Undergraduate Advisor of the Department of Political Science (2018-2019),
  • Interim Chair of the Political Science Department (2011), Graduate Faculty Member (2007-present)
  • Vanderbilt University: Research Coordinator for the Latin American Public Opinion Project, LAPOP (2004-2005)
  •  Association for Social Research (Asociación de Investigación y Estudios Sociales - ASIES), Guatemala:
  • Senior Researcher in the Political Research Department (2000-2004), Coordinator of the Political Research Department (1992-1997)
  • University Rafael Landívar, Guatemala: Assistant Dean of the School of Political and Social Sciences (1989-1991), Chair of the Political Science Department (1990-1991)

Other Professional Employment

  • Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Guatemala and Organization of American States (OAS): Executive Secretary of the Commission for Electoral Reform derived from the Peace Accords (1997).
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala: Deputy Director of the Department for North America (1988-1991).
  • Ministry of Urban and Rural Development of Guatemala: Program Officer in the Department for International Cooperation (1986-1987).
  • Save the Children Alliance Guatemala (Alliance of European and American Save the Children organizations): Assistant to the Director (1981-1985).
  • Consultant in short-term projects with different organizations (1997-2016), including: Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars (USA), Development Associates, Inc. (USA), Organization of American States, OAS (Guatemala Mission), Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Políticos, INCEP (Guatemala), PROCESOS (Costa Rica), Instituto Interamericano de Derechos Humanos, IIDH (Costa Rica).
Awards and Honors

Academic Awards

  • Fulbright/LASPAU Fellowship for graduate study in the United States. To pursue a PhD program in Political Science. Fall 1997-spring 2000.
  • Latin American Social and Public Policy Fellowship, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Pittsburgh. To pursue PhD program in Political Science. Fall 1997-spring 2000.
  • Scholarship from the Institute for International Education (IIE), Regional Program of Graduate Fellowships in the Social Sciences. To pursue PhD in Political Science in the United States. Fall 1997-spring 1999.
  • Fellowship from the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Fall 1997-spring 2000.
  • Scholarship from the government of Switzerland, to pursue graduate Certificate in Development Studies at The Graduate Institute, Geneva, Switzerland. Academic year 1985-96.
  • Scholarship from the government of Sweden, to participate in the Graduate Program in Conflict Resolution at Uppsala University. Spring-summer 1990.
  • Selected for participation in the student exchange program American Field Service (AFS), for a year of High School in the United States, 1977-1978.

Current Grants and Research Appointments

  • Country Director for Guatemala of the comparative survey research project Political Culture of Democracy in Latin America. Part of a cross-national study conducted in 26 countries of the Western Hemisphere by the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP). Funded by: United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and other international organizations such as the United Nations Development Program and the InterAmerican Development Bank. (2003-Present).
  • Country Expert for the Project V-Democracy (for Guatemala), based at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden (since 2015).
  • URCA Research Grant from Wichita State University, Office of Research Administration. Support for research on populism and authoritarian political culture. Summer 2020, and Summer 2006.
Areas of Service

External Groups

Wichita State University

  • Co-Advisor for the Undergraduate Certificate in Latin American and Latinx Studies (2020-Present).
  • Undergraduate Advisor for the Department of Political Science (2018-2019).
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Member of the College Council (2016-2018 and 2006-2009).
  • Undergraduate Research Committee (2015-2018).
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Scholarship Committee (2010-2018).
Additional Information

Selected Invited Presentations


  • Invited Panelist. Political Culture in Guatemala. Seminar “The Public and Democracy in the Americas”. University of Los Andes and Vanderbilt University. Bogota, Colombia, October 2019.
  • Invited Panelist. Political Culture in Central America. International Seminar on Democracy in Latin America and Honduras. National Democratic Institute and Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras. Tegucigalpa, Honduras, December 2018.
  • Invited Speaker. The Causes of Migration from the Northern Triangle. Migration in the Americas, International Conference. Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Mexico City, December 2017.
  • Invited Panelist. Presentation in panel Participación ciudadana y fortalecimiento democrático (Citizens’ Participation and Democratic Strengthening). VII Foro de la democracia latinoamericana. Educación cívica, cultura política y ética ciudadana: desafíos para el fortalecimiento democrático. Organized by the Mexican Instituto Nacional Electoral and the Organization of American States (OAS). Mexico City, October 2016.
  • Invited Keynote Speaker. Presentation: La legitimidad de la democracia en América Latina a la luz de su desempeño: Una evaluación de las preferencias ciudadanas, 2004-2015 (The Legitimacy of Democracy in Latin America and Its Performance: An Assessment of Citizens’ Preferences). International Seminar Los dilemas de la democracia en América Latina: a cuatro décadas de la transición (The Dilemmas of Democracy in Latin America: Four Decades After the Transition). Organized by the Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM) and FLACSO-Mexico. Mexico City, October 2015.
  • Invited Speaker. Presentation: International Experiences-Lessons from the Peace Process in Guatemala. Seminar Lecciones y desafíos para la transición hacia la paz en Colombia (Lessons and Challenges for the Transition to Peace in Colombia). Organized by Universidad EAFIT. Medellín, Colombia, 2015.
  • Invited Keynote Speaker. Presentation: Anti-Americanism in Latin America. University of Deusto. College of Social Sciences. Bilbao, Spain, October 2014.
  • Invited Panelist. Presentation: Channeling Distrust and Contestation. Conference Ethics in Democracy II, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Canada, the Centre d’Étique de l’Université de Montréal and the Centre for Ethics at the University of Toronto, FUSADES and FUNDE. San Salvador, El Salvador, November 2009.
  • Invited Panelist. Presentation: The Impact of Crime on Democratization in Central America (in Spanish). Seminar Democracia en America Latina: Repensando sus Desafíos   (Democracy in Latin America, Rethinking the Challenges), organized by the Catholic University of Chile and the United Nations Development Program. Santiago, Chile, August 2008.

United States

  • Invited Presenter at the Meeting on Regional Integration in a Post-Chávez Era, organized by the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum at the Social Science Research Council, New York,  2013.
  • Invited Speaker. Presentation: Citizens’ Attitudes Toward Global Powers: The U.S. and China Compared. Seminar Latin America and China: Public Perceptions and Policy Implications, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Latin American Program. Washington, D.C., March 2013.
  • Invited Panelist. Presentation: El Salvador, Successful Democratization but Questionable Peace. Conference Quality Peace: The Role of Third Parties and the Search for Indicators, organized by the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame. May 2012.
  • Invited Panelist. Presentation: The Geopolitical Origins and Evolution of Guatemala’s Strategic Culture. Workshop Strategic Culture Study of Guatemala, Florida International University’s Applied Research Center (FIU ARC), in collaboration with the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and FIU’s Latin American and Caribbean Center (LACC). Florida International University. Miami, May 2010.
  • Invited Keynote Speaker. Lecture: Financing Democratic Change. Saul O’Sidore Memorial Lecture Series 2007-2008, Exploring Democracy at Home and Abroad, organized by the University of New Hampshire. Durham, February 2008.
  • Invited Presenter at the Roundtable Meeting UN and Democracy Assistance: A New Strategy? Organized by the United Nations Development Program and the International Peace Academy. New York, September 2007.
  • Invited Panelist. Presentation: Negotiations and Political Reintegration of Armed Opposition Groups in Guatemala and El Salvador.  Seminar Negotiations with Armed Oppositions to the State, organized by the Naval Postgraduate School. Monterey, California, August 2007.
  • Invited Panelist. Presentation: Democracy in Guatemala and El Salvador: An Uneven Performance. Symposium Prospects for Democracy in Latin America, organized by the University of North Texas. Denton, April 2007. 
  • Invited Panelist. Presentation: The State of Democracy in Conflict and Post-Conflict Latin America. Conference Democracy and Peace Processes in Latin America organized by the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center. Washington, D.C, April 2006.
  • Invited Speaker. Presentation: Democracy in Guatemala at the Crossroads: Citizens’ Support for Undemocratic Options. American University. Sponsored by the Council on Comparative Studies at AU and the Department of Government. Washington, D.C., August 2003.