Ortrun Merkle holds a MA in Economics, a MA in International Relations and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Security Studies from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, NY. Prior to that, she received a B.Sc. in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Passau, Germany and spent a year at the Helsinki School of Economics. Her PhD thesis focuses on the role of corruption in state-building and specifically the role of civil society and the impact of corruption on the political participation of women. During her PhD she has been a visiting researcher at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS) as well as UNU-GESTin Reykjavik.
Previously, Ortrun has worked for the Corporate Compliance Department of Daimler and at Transparency International USA, she has extensive training in mediation and is a certified intercultural trainer