Our Team


Research, 2019+

Joseph Laposata: I was born in Boston in 1995. I’m interested in Democracy Promotion because, for the majority of my early life, democracy was a global norm and backsliding was unthinkable. I came of age just as the hopes of the Arab Spring began to falter and the inevitability of democracy seemed to fall away. Seeing the failure of democratic protests abroad made me ask what made our own democracy sustainable thus far and my interest has only grown from there. Now as a M.A. candidate at Georgetown, I am excited to become involved in pro-democratic research in both an academic and practical sense. In particular, I am interested in analyzing patterns of gains and backsliding of democracy felt by some in the USA on the state level from a quantitative perspective, to provide a clearer international comparison. I’m thrilled to be onboard! 

Social Media, 2019+

Christopher Hubbard is currently pursuing an MA in English and holds a BA in philosophy and psychology, along with a minor in applied ethics. During his undergraduate years studying philosophy, he focused on political philosophy and ethics. He volunteered in 2015 as a freelance journalist for an independent news site, writing articles on topics such as environmental issues, education, and policy. Since then, he has worked as a freelance writer and also in social media for a couple of years within the gaming industry. Some of his interests include history of technology and thought, political science, and depictions of societies and their social structures within literature. His main goal in politics is to help inform people about policies, recent changes, and their implications for citizens.

Researcher, 2019

Katherine Lerner graduated from James Madison University in 2019 with a B.A. in Sociology, and minors in Environmental Humanities and Geographic Science. She is interested in addressing the intersectionality between sustainability, social and economic inequality, and access to resources in regard to environmental governance and management practices.

Board Members

Addison resized
President, Treasurer

Doug Addison is the originator of CFFAD.  He helped fight poverty around the world as an economist for the World Bank between 1985 and 2016.  Doug holds an M.Phil. in economics from the University of Sussex, an M.A. in economics from the University of Maryland, and a B.A. in economics from the University of Colorado.  Traveling abroad led him to deeply value the benefits of a healthy democracy – having been many places where democracies were weak or absent.  His travels include Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Zambia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Nepal, Solomon Islands, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), and Cyprus.  All but Ghana and Zambia suffered from major civil conflict within the last 50 years.  He is now studying at George Mason University, investigating why some democracies reduce conflict better than others.

Director, 2019+

Margaret Mankin Barton is a graduate of University College at Oxford University and Sawanee University of the South. She was a staff assistant in the Office of the Vice President (George H.W. Bush). She also worked as a development coordinator at WETA, was on the board of the National Constitution Center, helped the National Archives with their promotion of the Magna Carta, was a regional finance director at the Republican National Committee, worked with USAID, founded and directed the Republican Network to Elect Women, was Executive Director for the National Women’s Business Council, has been a campaign fundraiser and worked in public relations.

Cheryl Cook-Kallio has a long history of public service and volunteerism. She has an M.A. in History with an emphasis on the United States Constitution that she earned from San Jose State University as a James Madison Fellow, CA ’97. She has served Senator Feinstein and a Madison Congressional Fellow in 2002 and served the Federal Courts in D.C. as a Madison Fellow in 2005. She also is a member of the California State K-12 Civic Education Task Force Advisory Board.  Cheryl serves as a board member for the Pleasanton Partnership in Education Foundation, and as the Northern California Senior Consultant for the Center for Civic Education.  Cheryl also served as a member of the CA Civic Learning Task Force Advisory Board and a member of the Teacher Advisory Board for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s iCivics Foundation.  She is a 35-year veteran teacher specializing in high-school civics. She received the American Civic Education Teacher Award in 2008, one of only three in the nation. Cheryl has been honored by the Fremont Education Foundation for Excellence in Education in 2006, Irvington High School’s Teacher of the Year 2005, Woman of the Year 2004 by State Senator Liz Figueroa, Teacher of the Year by the Sons of the American Revolution 1997. In 1997, Cheryl was also awarded a James Madison Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a prestigious merit scholarship awarded to only one teacher per state each year to pursue a master’s degree with an emphasis on the United States Constitution. Cheryl also served on the city council of Pleasanton, California from 2006 through 2014.  She is currently serving as state coordinator for the We the People Programs provided by the Center for Civic Education.

Barak Hoffman is a Political Economist at the World Bank and provides independent consulting services for various other public and private institutions. His areas of expertise include the political economy of development, developing monitoring and evaluation systems, and program design and evaluation. He has worked in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Dr. Hoffman has previously worked for the United States Agency for International Development, the United States Department of the Treasury, the United States Federal Reserve, Georgetown University (Director at the Center for Democracy and Civil Society), and Stanford University. His research has been published in a range of journals, including Comparative Politics, the Journal of Democracy, and World Development, as well as in numerous official publications of USAID, the World Bank, and similar organizations. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.

Mark Nelson is a former journalist and development specialist who has written extensively on aid effectiveness, governance and the role of media in development. He joined the Center for International Media Assistance after working 17 years as a governance and capacity development expert at the World Bank in Washington, DC. Before moving to Washington in 2004, he spent eight years in Paris as head of the World Bank Institute’s European office, where he focused on democratic governance, including the role of the media. From 1985 through 1996, Mr. Nelson was the European diplomatic correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, based in Brussels, Berlin, and Paris. He covered the negotiations leading to the Maastricht Treaty, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the war in Bosnia. From 1992 to 1993 on leave from the Wall Street Journal, he was a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He began his career as a researcher on international affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. From 1983 through 1985, he was a staff reporter at the St. Petersburg Times in Florida, where he covered local government. A native of South Carolina, he is a graduate of Oberlin College in Ohio and completed a masters-level degree in international economics at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium.

Eric Palladini (Secretary) is a historian working in economic development, focused on micro-finance, inequality, and institutions. He manages an oral history program for members of the Latino LGBTQ community in Washington, DC.  He served as a poll worker in New Mexico.  Eric also co-authored a book on micro-finance which is used in the Boulder Institute’s Micro-finance training. He holds a Ph.D. in History from Tulane University and a B.S. in Languages and Linguistics from Georgetown University. 

Kourtney A. Pompi brings 20 years of international development experience in over 50 countries.  She has held positions or consultancies with Broderick-Haight Consulting, Camris International, Counterpart International, Creative Associates, Democracy International, International Alert, International Organization for Migration, International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute, Nonviolent Initiative for Democracy, Social Impact, and the US Department of State’s Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.  Ms. Pompi has significant experience with citizen engagement, electoral participation, and community empowerment. She has worked on projects related to civic and voter education, international and domestic election monitoring, parliamentary monitoring, community organizing and empowerment, religious tolerance, access to information, and open data.

Rosarie (Ro) Tucci has worked in a variety of positions supporting human rights and issues disproportionately affecting vulnerable populations. She currently serves as the Director for Inclusive Societies at the U.S. Institute of Peace.  She previously served as deputy director for the Democracy, Rights, and Governance (DRG) Center at USAID (2015-2017) and senior advisor to the Deputy Administrator of USAID (2011- 2015). She provided expertise and leadership to generate policy recommendations and develop projects and tools on rule of law, human rights, atrocity prevention and support for vulnerable populations, including youth, women, people with disabilities and the LGBT community. She also provided strategic and political guidance on programs and policies on these issues in South Sudan, Ukraine, CAR, and Yemen. Rosarie was a Fulbright Scholar in Sofia, Bulgaria examining the development of the human rights movement in a transitional democracy. She holds an L.L.M. in International Human Rights Law from the University of Nottingham and a B.A. in Political Science and Communications from Boston College.

Advisory Board

Liza Prendergast is a specialist in democracy, human rights, and governance. For more than a decade, she has designed and implemented civic education and engagement programs in the United States and around the world. Currently, she serves as a Director at Democracy International, where she oversees proposal development and program design for DI’s global democracy support programs and analytical projects funded by USAID and the U.S. State Department. Previously, she served as a Technical Specialist at World Learning, where she supported the design and implementation of civic engagement programming in Algeria, Burma, Egypt, South Sudan, and Thailand. She also conducted courses in Social Accountability methods for World Bank officials across the Middle East and North Africa. Before that, she served as Assistant Director of the Center for Civic Education’s Washington, D.C. office where she advocated for the Education for Democracy Act, authorized legislation that supported democracy education in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. In that role, she managed the Campaign to Promote Civic Education, a fifty-state effort to improve democracy education in the United States, and she managed Civitas International programs, including in Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. She has served on the Working Group on Democracy Education at the Council for a Community of Democracies and on the board of Friends of European Humanities University, a Belarusian university in exile in Lithuania. She holds an M.A. in Democracy and Governance from Georgetown University and a B.A. in History from George Washington University.

Scott Lansell has more than 20 years of experience in program management, development, design, and outreach, with expertise in international democracy, governance, and civil society programming. An active development professional in democracy and governance programs, he served as the director for civil society and governance at World Learning, senior director of programs and strategic operations at the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) and an internal cooperation specialist with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Regional Mission for Europe, during which he served as interim USAID country director for Lithuania and Albania. He has led or participated in more than 40 field missions throughout Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central, and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and the Middle East, and has worked with and for numerous international and local civil society organizations.  After the 2000 elections, built a U.S. elections assistance portfolio of 12 unique contract awards across every jurisdictional level including Federal, State, County, City, and Territories.  Scott holds an MBA from George Mason University and a BA in political science from Miami University in Ohio.

Grayson Lewis CropGrayson Lewis holds an M.A. in Democracy and Governance from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. A native of Richmond Virginia, he graduated Virginia Tech with a BA in Political Science in 2017. He came to CFFAD on a volunteer basis in 2018, and has helped with website development and content creation. His academic interests include democracy assistance, and the US national security process. When not working, Grayson enjoys hiking and camping, and playing games of all types. 

Wilma Goldstein is retired and lives in Southwest DC after a career in politics, research, and teaching, as well as two political appointments that focused on women’s entrepreneurship.  Goldstein was born and raised in the part of Michigan most known for producing automobiles and lived in both Flint and Detroit at various times in her life. She went to work in the late 1960’s for a survey research firm that did polling for a political campaign she was involved in at a time when candidate research was at its most rudimentary. In 1975 she moved to Washington, DC after starting a Canadian market research company that partnered with her firm, then known as Market Opinion Research and headquartered in Detroit. She was recruited to be the Director of Survey Research for the Republican Party and supervised the conduct of polls for candidates, as well as teaching the staffs and field forces about survey research and focus groups. That work expanded into doing the same for organizations then emerging as part of the women’s political movement, political action committees and corporations that wanted to provide political training for some of their employees. She stayed active in campaigns, research and training political operatives, combined with teaching in traditional and non-traditional settings, along with two stints at the Small Business Administration (SBA.) Wilma co-founded the Campaign Management Institute at American University in Washington D.C. and served as its first Director. After retiring in 2007 she did a Fellowship at The Dole Institute at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Upon her return, she began tutoring and preparing elementary students in reading so they could comply with the standards for moving on as part of the goals of the No Child Left Behind program. In 2013 she moved back to DC from VA where she helped found Waterfront Senior Village, which is part of the network of aging in place associations where she continues membership as an active volunteer; she became a member of her apartment complex tenant association, continues her work promoting jazz for Westminster Church in South West DC and works on research projects for senior citizens.

Mark J. Molli retired from the Center for Civic Education where he served as an Associate Director for nearly thirty years managing government relations in Washington, DC.  The Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in California dedicated to promoting an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy in the United States and other countries. In addition to promoting the Center’s educational programs in Congress and with the Administration, Mr. Molli was closely involved in several of the Center’s national initiatives including providing public information for the National Standards for Civics and Government, co-managing four ground-breaking Congressional Conferences on Civic Education, assisting in the successful implementation of the American Civic Education Teacher Awards (ACETA), and co-director of the Campaign to Promote Civic Education. He was among the first group of education professionals who went to Bosnia-Herzegovina shortly after the war to help implement an education for democracy program in the schools. He has made several presentations on civic education and education reform in the United States and internationally. Molli is a former chief of staff for U.S. Congressman Augustus F. Hawkins of Los Angeles.   

Rebecca A. Shoot is a democracy and governance practitioner and international lawyer. She has nearly 15 years of experience in the non-governmental, inter-governmental, and private sectors supporting democratic processes and institutions worldwide. Ms. Shoot has held senior leadership positions with the National Democratic Institute, Global Partners & Associates, and Parliamentarians for Global Action. A parliamentary specialist, her publications include the first ever Global Parliamentary Report. She also has consulted and/or provided expertise on matters of international law and democratic development for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), The Carter Center, the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, and U.S. Marine Corps University. Domestically, she has worked closely with the bipartisan House Democracy Partnership and Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. House of Representatives. Her legal interests include international criminal, humanitarian, and human rights law, and she served as a Visiting Professional with the Presidency of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Ms. Shoot attended Kenyon College for her undergraduate degree, graduating Magna Cum Laude with Commendation in Political Science, among other academic honors. She holds a Master of Science (MSc.) in Democracy & Democratization from University College London School of Public Policy. Her Juris Doctorate with Honors is from Emory University School of Law, where she received several academic distinctions, including the Emory International Law Review Founder’s Award for Legal Research and Writing, David J. Bederman Fellowship in International Law, and Conley-Ingram Scholarship for Public Interest Leadership. Additionally, she holds certificates in Conflict Analysis from the U.S. Institute of Peace and in Public International Law from the world-renowned Hague Academy of International Law.  In her free time, she acts, directs, and writes for the theater, and moonlights as personal assistant to Mackers, a global influencer and four-year-old Jack Russell terrier.  

Review Board

Cheryl Cook-Kallio is the Review Board Director and a Director on the CFFAD Board.  Cheryl is a James Madison Fellow (CA 97) with an M.A. in United States History with an emphasis on the United States Constitution.  Cheryl served as a board member for Pleasanton Partnership in Education Foundation, and as a Northern California Senior Consultant for the Center for Civic Education.  Cheryl also served as a member of the CA Civic Learning Task Force Advisory Board and a member of the Teacher Advisory Board for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s iCivics Foundation.  She is a 39-year veteran teacher specializing in high-school civics. She received the American Civic Education Teacher Award in 2008, one of only three in the nation. Currently she also serves on the National Board for the Center for Civic Education and as the State Coordinator for California We the People and Project Citizen. 

Jennifer DresdenJennifer Raymond Dresden is an Assistant Teaching Professor and Associate Director of the Democracy and Governance Program at Georgetown University.  Her research focuses on the political outcomes of civil wars and the dynamics of authoritarian regimes.  She has contributed research and expertise to projects linking academics and policymakers across several US government agencies and served as a training facilitator for the US State Department.  She holds a Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown, an M.Litt.  in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom, and an A.B. in Government from Harvard University.

William CorcoranWilliam Corcoran is the Director Emeritus of the Metzger Rule of Law Initiative of the Partnership for Transparency in Washington, DC.  A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, he served as a federal prosecutor with the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and for 15 years prosecuted public officials for the commission of federal crimes, including public corruption.  He was an instructor for 25 years at the U.S. Department of Justice Advocacy Institute.  After serving with the Justice Department, he served for five years as Counsel, United States Senate Select Committee on Ethics.

Christopher Barton was an advisor to the Inter-American Development Bank. While there, he was actively involved in planning and implementing several of the IDB’s key policy initiatives, including the development and implementation of a strategic outreach, engagement, and communications campaign in support of a $70 billion General Capital Increase for the IDB with the United States Congress and the Canadian Parliament as well as the US and Canadian executive branches. As a principal communications specialist in the IDB’s External Relations Department, Mr. Barton has coordinated the development and implementation of multi-national strategic communications programs using traditional media and social media platforms for two key units within the IDB. Prior to that, Chris served as a Director on the National Security Council and as Chief Counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.