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Chatham House, with support from the Robert Bosch Stiftung, have launched an interactive directory of experts from Russia, the Eastern Partnership and Central Asia region to re-energise media conversations with a more diverse set of voices.

Political developments in the region reverberate beyond its borders, but only a small pool of local voices have had the opportunity to shape international media reporting on the region.

In 2012-2020, the Robert Bosch Stiftung Academy Fellowship at Chatham House has done a great deal to address this by raising the profile of 18 emerging experts (nine men and nine women) from the region. Chatham House has chosen to build on this work by launching a digital directory to amplify the influence of fresh voices in international debates and policy responses. The directory was named ‘Eksperty’.

After a competitive tender process, CTI Digital were selected to build the online directory. The agency worked closely with Chatham House’s digital team and wider stakeholders to conduct a project discovery and understand the needs of both the experts who would be promoted and the key site audiences (such as the media, conference developers and political experts) who would be searching for subject matter experts.

Experts are invited to manage their profiles within the directory. Once vetted and approved, the expert profiles are made available on the site. Thereafter, the site can provide the target groups with expertise to public and private discourse on the region, the influences upon the region, and the responses to global challenges.

Extensive research and planning went into the site’s search, enabling users to discover profiles through filter-enhanced search. Users can continuously refine their results as they learn about the experts available. The importance of this is not just a pleasant user experience, but a fierce requirement to ensure the correct expert is found, not simply the one who uses the terminology known to the searcher.

Drupal 8 was selected for the website for its enhanced security, accessibility, and flexibility to integrate and build a bespoke feature set. Drupal 8 is also utilised by the Chatham House core website, providing a consistent growth and maintenance roadmap for all Chatham House services.

"The CTI Digital team understood the broader vision behind this project, brought fresh ways of thinking, and remained focused on making the directory a success.

CTI were a great team to work with: knowledgeable, transparent, and honest throughout the process. They really went above and beyond. The requirement gathering and definition of the project were meticulously planned and followed thereafter.

Since gaining access to the platform, we have already begun building profiles for regional experts. Over 150 experts have expressed interest in participating and we have added over 40 profiles to the directory already. We are excited about the potential this platform provides for boosting  visibility and recognition for early-to-mid-career experts from the region.” said Dora Popova, Digital Experience Manager at The Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House.

“The success of this project was down to our collaborative understanding of the fundamental challenge. Chatham House knew that it was difficult for leaders and journalists to access experts, but it was the ‘why’ and ‘how’ which needed to form the solution. Using a design sprint and rapid prototyping our Digital Strategy and Drupal experts were able to deliver something that is simple where it needs to be, and complex where complexity is required.” said Jamie Feely, Account Manager at CTI Digital.

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