Our team includes a small staff, a policy board, an advisory board, and a review board to ensure high quality products. All are unpaid volunteers. We are drawn from conservative, progressive and independent thinkers. Our ages have ranged from the low 20s through the 80s. Most of our board members have deep experience in teaching or promoting democracy around the world, and some have been actively involved in politics at the local, state, and national levels.
Editor & Writer
Alison Bitterly is a lawyer whose practice focuses on civil rights litigation. She also has past experience in journalism and editing. Alison has long had an interest in politics, international affairs, and civic education. She graduated from Georgetown University in 2011 with a degree in Government before attending law school in New York City. She is now based in the Boston area and hoping to contribute her skills and passion to supporting and improving American democracy.
Juliann Wiersma is a Minnesota native who is passionate about local government and an advocate for younger people to get involved. She graduated in 2020 with a bachelor degree in International Relations from Minnesota State University Mankato and is a current graduate student at Regent University for Public Administration. Juliann’s professional background is in nonprofits and is currently a communications manager at Habitat for Humanity South Central Minnesota.
As the son of a living historian who participated in numerous historical re-enactments, Jeff was instilled with a respect and appreciation for history at an early age. As a high school history teacher he devoted much of his 32 year career advocating for civic literacy and engagement. He has taught a variety of subjects including U.S. history, European history, Foundations of Civilization, World Geography, Civics, Political Philosophy and The U.S. Presidential Election Process with a common message: historical study matters because it promotes the knowledge, interpretive thinking skills and open mindedness needed to participate effectively in our democracy. As a teacher, Jeff’s push for deeper understanding of historical content was coupled with an emphasis on how to study history. He has researched and written a number of study guides including Why Study History? The Interpretative Approach to History, Thinking Like an Historian, Writing like an Historian and An Historian’s Guide to Research. Having recently retired from teaching, Jeff has continued to educate by presenting historical lectures to audiences of senior citizens at a retirement community where he currently works in landscaping and maintenance. He has produced three multi-lecture series including The Election Process, The Other Time We Were Divided and On Democracy. Jeff lives with his wife, Lynsie in Vermont.
Jenny Rose John
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!
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR FORMER VOLUNTEERS:
Judi Schade (2021-22)
Marianna Jardim (2021)
Emma Newman (2020-21)
Chris Boose (2020-21)
Peter Alexander (2020)
Christopher Hubbard (2019-20)
Katherine Lerner (2019)
Grayson Lewis (2018-20)
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 a M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University, a M.Phil. in economics from the University of Sussex, a 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 liberal republican democracy – having seen many places where democracies were illiberal, 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. His most recent research completed in August 2022 investigated how affective political polarization interacts with election violence and autocratization.
Franklin Bonner is the Director Of Government Relations at the National Endowment for Democracy. He has been a government relations, advocacy, and democracy development professional with 24 years of experience in Washington, D.C. and challenging overseas environments. In 1997, Franklin started his career in the Office of Senator Connie Mack (FL). His public service career included stints in the Office of Governor Jeb Bush (FL), Office of Governor Charlie Crist (FL), the U.S. Department of Labor Public Liaison Office, and the White House Office of Homeland security’s legislative team.
In 2009, Franklin joined the international Republican Institute on their South Sudan project in support of South Sudan’s establishment as an independent nation. As a program officer and later as country director, he worked in partnership with political parties, civil society organizations, and government institutions in South Sudan to forward the USAID Democracy & Governance mission of free & fair elections; transparent & responsible governance; and peaceful, participatory, democratic institutions. Franklin also observed elections in Nigeria and Zimbabwe as both a short-term and long-term election observer for USAID funded missions. Over a 12-year international development career, Franklin has led and consulted in democracy development projects in Kenya, Timor-Leste, Bangladesh, Somaliland, and Liberia. Franklin is currently serving as the Director of Government Relations at the National Endowment for Democracy.
Franklin received his B.A. in Political Science from Northwestern University and originally hails from Miami, Florida.
Rosarie (Ro) Tucci has worked in a variety of positions supporting human rights and issues disproportionately affecting vulnerable populations. She is currently the Director of the USAID Center for Democracy, Human Rights and Governance. She previously served as Director for Inclusive Societies at the U.S. Institute of Peace (2018-2021) and 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Advisor, former Volunteer
Grayson 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.
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.
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.
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.
Margaret Mankiw Barton
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.
Michael K. Morrow
Mike Morrow served with the U.S. Department of State as a diplomat for 35 years, working with foreign leaders and civil society groups to develop good governance and improve rule of law. Having retired in 2021 with the rank of Minister-Counselor, he is now dedicated to strengthening America’s democracy by applying his experience in building and maintaining healthy democracies around the world. Currently he is the Senior Democracy Strategist for Learning Life, a Washington, DC-based non-profit lab that promotes citizen engagement. With Learning Life, Mike is developing a regional democracy Learning Community that brings together metro DC professionals, elected officials, activists, and academics to talk about democracy’s challenges and opportunities. During his diplomatic career, Mike led the U.S. Embassy in Juba, South Sudan as Charge d’Affaires from 2017 to 2018. Prior to that, he served at the State Department headquarters in Washington for six years as: Chief of Staff to the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Legislative Affairs; Director for East African Affairs; and Director for Central European Affairs. From 2018-21 he was a Senior Diplomatic Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. His earlier Foreign Service postings included Iraq, Thailand, Botswana, Poland, Russia, and Nigeria. He holds an M.A. from Columbia University and a B.A. from Miami University (Ohio).
Our Review Board
Advisory Board Director & Review Board Head
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.
William 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.
Jennifer Raymond Dresden
Jennifer Dresden is a policy advocate at Protect Democracy. She previously served as 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.