IFES Executive Curriculum in Electoral Leadership (iEXCEL)

Comprehensive Electoral Leadership Training for EMB Leaders
Headshot of Katherine Ellena
Vice President for Programs
Managing Director Center for Applied Research and Learning

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems' Executive Curriculum in Electoral Leadership (iEXCEL) is a scenario-based electoral leadership curriculum that develops the skills needed to strengthen institutional independence, deliver elections within the context of a crisis, resist manipulation of elections by political actors and foster institutional resilience and capacity.

iEXCEL was developed to reflect lessons from past leaders who have shepherded elections through extraordinary times such as health crises and transitions of power. In the videos above, hear directly from exceptional leaders whose experiences helped shape the training, including:

  • Bhojraj Pokharel, who led Nepal’s transitional elections following a decadeslong violent conflict
  • Dr. Irena Hadžiabdić, who is confronting the rising tide of disinformation campaigns in elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Charlotte Osei, who navigated an attack on the Ghanaian election commission’s website and oversaw Ghana’s third consecutive peaceful transfer of power since it became a democracy
  • Lamin Lighe, who managed Liberia’s elections during the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa

Electoral leaders often operate at the center of fundamental power transitions, under enormous political pressure and while facing uniquely complex challenges to their independence. This role has become even more challenging with the proliferation of new media and election technologies that offer bad actors evolving opportunities to undermine electoral institutions, processes and public perceptions. iEXCEL draws on real-world peer experiences to help prepare leaders of election management bodies to effectively meet these challenges.

Development of the curriculum was made possible with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS), as part of the "Global Elections and Political Transitions Program."

Established in 1995, CEPPS pools the expertise of three premier international organizations dedicated to democratic development: IFES, the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute. CEPPS has a 20-year track record of collaboration and leadership in democracy, human rights and governance support, learning from experience, and adopting new approaches and tools based on the ever-evolving technological landscape.

IFES Executive Curriculum in Electoral Leadership (iEXCEL)

iEXCEL is a scenario-based, skill-building program from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and United States Agency for International Development. Topics include adaptive leadership styles and skills, safeguarding of election management bodies’ independence, upholding ethics in practice and preventing and managing electoral crises.