In his capacity as Director of the Center for International Development and Conflict Management, he serves as an expert on projects in the area of conflict management policy research, as well as coordinates the development of the biennial publication Peace and Conflict. Previously, Dr. Backer was a Senior Program Officer at the United States Institute of Peace has also taught at the College of William and Mary and the University of Michigan. His specialty is comparative analysis of the choice and impact of transitional justice measures, reflected in ongoing studies of the responses of victims of conflict in Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, South Africa and Kenya. Other notable work examines topics such as political violence, ethnic conflict, elites in closed regimes, nongovernmental organizations in authoritarian settings, and party systems.