IFES Annual Report 2017
Dear Friends and Supporters of IFES,
We celebrated our 30th anniversary as the global leader in democracy promotion in 2017, giving us the opportunity to review our organization’s immense impact. Throughout the last three decades, IFES has supported citizens’ rights to participate in free and fair elections. Our independent expertise strengthens electoral systems and builds local capacity to deliver sustainable solutions. To mark our 30th anniversary, we featured 30 human interest stories throughout the year that highlighted our unique contribution to giving a vote to every voice.
In October, we held the Eighth Annual Charles T. Manatt Democracy and 2017 Joe C. Baxter Awards at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C. The 2017 awardees included His Excellency Luis Almagro, secretary general of the Organization of American States; former IFES Board Vice Chair Judy Black (R); Congressman David Price (D-N.C.); and Joe C. Baxter awardee Tamar Zhvania, chairwoman of the Central Election Commission of Georgia. Cook Political Report Editor and Publisher Charlie Cook emceed the ceremony, which was co-chaired by IFES Board Director and Connecticut State Treasurer Denise Nappier and IFES Board Director and Foley & Lardner LLP partner Cleta Mitchell.
IFES was engaged in critical elections around the world in 2017. In Africa, IFES supported Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and Liberia’s National Elections Commission with innovative strategies for civic and voter education that were critical for reaching women, youth, and other marginalized com-munities and building the reputation of both election commissions, as the two countries held general and run-off presidential elections in 2017.
I first joined the IFES Board of Directors in 1993, was chair from 1999-2001, and then joined as president and CEO in 2009. It has been a challenging and rewarding experience. With the organization in a strong place, I feel that it is time to step aside and allow for fresh leadership. As I reflect back on my many years with the organization, there are four themes that come to mind.
IFES is all about its people. I have had the opportunity to work with so many gifted individuals and marvel at the unique collection of talent coming from all over the world from many diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Under the IFES umbrella, this remarkable team is at the forefront of promoting credible and transparent elections and protecting the right to vote.