A homecoming for NDI’s new president


Credit: NDI

A former program officer is set to take over as the new president of the National Democratic Institute, the Washington-based democracy assistance group.

In announcing the NDI board’s decision to appoint former Ambassador Derek Mitchell (left) to the post, NDI Chairman Madeleine K. Albright said, “I am excited and pleased that Derek Mitchell has agreed to take the helm of NDI at this critical moment in the global struggle for democratic institutions and values.”

“Throughout his varied and stellar career, Derek has been an innovator, a successful leader, and an eloquent advocate for improved governance and larger freedom,” she added. “No one grasps better than he the intimate connection between the health of democracy abroad and the security of America at home. He is a worthy successor to our distinguished outgoing President, Kenneth Wollack (right).”

From 2012 to 2016, Derek Mitchell served as U.S. Ambassador to Myanmar (Burma), adds NDI, a core institute of the National Endowment for Democracy:

Prior to that, he was a Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, and from 2001 to 2009, a senior fellow for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). From 1997 to 2001, Mitchell was Special Assistant for Asian and Pacific Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He began his service in Washington from 1986 to 1988 as a foreign policy assistant in the Office of Senator Edward Kennedy. Ambassador Mitchell’s selection as president of NDI represents a homecoming. For nearly four years, in the mid-1990s, he was a Senior Program Officer for NDI, first in Asia and then in the former Soviet Union.

“The emerging challenge to democracy worldwide is a defining issue of our times,” said Ambassador Mitchell. He will begin his new duties on September 4th.

“The Institute will be fortunate to benefit from Derek’s leadership, experience and expertise,” said outgoing NDI President Wollack. “As a former NDI program officer, Department of Defense official, and as special envoy and later ambassador to Myanmar, he has always had a deep and abiding commitment to efforts that advance democracy globally — efforts that reflect the values and serve the interests of the U.S.”


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