IFES Welcomes Ambassador Derek Mitchell as New NDI President

Ken Wollack to Step Down After Years of Service Advancing Human Rights


AP Photo/Khin Maung Win
Publication Date: 
14 Jun 2018

News Type:

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) congratulates Ambassador Derek Mitchell on his appointment as president of the National Democratic Institute (NDI). He brings vast experience in diplomacy and the Asia region to NDI.

"Ambassador Mitchell has had a distinguished career in foreign service and has a deep understanding of and appreciation for the fundamental values of good governance and democratic rights," said IFES President and CEO Bill Sweeney. "He was an ally and staunch supporter of IFES' work in the historic 2015 elections in Myanmar and I look forward to working with him in his new capacity."

Ambassador Mitchell most recently served as senior advisor at the Albright Stonebridge Group and previously served as U.S. ambassador and first special representative and policy coordinator for Myanmar. He was also principal deputy assistant secretary of defense on Asian and Pacific security affairs at the Defense Department, where he previously held field positions in China, Taiwan, Mongolia, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore. Ambassador Mitchell was a senior fellow and director of the Asia Division of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and senior program officer for Asia and the former Soviet Union at NDI.

Ambassador Mitchell has authored numerous books, articles, and opinion pieces on Asian security affairs.

"We also thank outgoing NDI President Ken Wollack for his many years of service," said Sweeney. “NDI has been fortunate because Wollack has been able to focus all his commitment, intellect and passion in support of the mission for over a generation. He has had an extraordinary career and impact on the cause of human rights.”

Wollack joined NDI in 1986 as executive vice president and was elected president in 1993. He has been involved in foreign affairs, journalism and politics since 1972.

IFES, NDI and the International Republican Institute are partners in the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS). Established in 1995, CEPPS has a 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.

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