Dr. Thomas Benedikter (born 1957) is an economist and political scientist, publicist, and the executive director of South Tyrol’s Center for Political Studies and Civic Education (POLITiS). He has conducted professional activity in the South Tyrolean provincial administration, vocational colleges, in empirical social and economic research focused on current issues of South Tyrol’s society, politics and economy. Dr. Benedikter has also worked for human rights organisations (e.g. 1992-1998 he was head of the South Tyrolean section of the Society for Threatened Peoples), as well as for civic education and participatory democracy projects. He has cooperated with various research institutes in South Tyrol and elsewhere. He has participated in projects on comparative autonomy research with EURAC Bozen as well as two years of research and project activities in Latin America, the Balkans (Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina) and South Asia (Kashmir, Nepal, North East India). He is the author of numerous publications on South Tyrol, direct democracy, ethnic conflicts, minority rights and autonomy in various regions of the world, including “The World’s Modern Autonomy Systems” (EURAC – ATHESIA) and “100 Years of Modern Territorial Autonomy” (LIT Berlin).