David Dettman is the Director, Communications for Democracy International. Prior to joining the home office, he served as Chief of Party for DI’s Democratic Participation and Reform (DPR) program in Bangladesh. Joining DI in 2011, Mr. Dettman brings more than 20 years of political campaign and democracy promotion experience. He has served on U.S. Democratic Party presidential, congressional, and local campaigns working in field organizing, communications, and campaign management. In the early 1990s, he worked on and managed campaigns throughout the Southeastern United States including a Presidential campaign in 1992; campaigns for the United States House of Representatives in South Carolina and Georgia; and as a field operative on President Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign of 1996. In 1997, Mr. Dettman joined the nonpartisan political technology consulting firm Aristotle International, Inc. in Washington, DC where he consulted for dozens of campaigns for U.S. president, House, and Senate. He also worked with member offices in the U.S. Congress, political action committees, and associations including the 2000-02 NAACP Voter Empowerment Project.
In 2003, Mr. Dettman joined the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI). He served as the Chief of Party for the NDI Ukraine office until 2006. While in Ukraine, he also worked on projects in Moldova, Georgia, Belarus, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and West Bank/Gaza. He has worked on programming to help develop political parties; assist with civil society organizations; increase the participation of women in politics; improve the effectiveness of governments; and set up domestic, party, and international election monitoring. In 2006-07, he was the NDI Middle East and North Africa regional political advisor, based in Jerusalem, with responsibilities for political party development in Egypt, West-Bank/Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. In 2004, The New Yorker magazine and George Packer’s book The Assassin’s Gate: America in Iraq featured his work in Iraq. In 2005, the new government of Ukraine awarded him a “Heroic Order” medal for his work supporting the development of democracy there. In 2007, his work in the months leading up to the Ukrainian Orange Revolution was chronicled in the book The New Cold War, by Mark MacKinnon.
In 2008, Mr. Dettman joined the 527 political-group, Progressive Majority, as Ohio State Director, where he recruited, trained, and helped elect progressive Democrats. He was a part of the Ohio Democratic Party coordinated campaign working on national, state, and local campaigns. In 2010, he managed a Democratic campaign for the United States Senate in Ohio. After the campaign, he joined state government as the Special Assistant to the Ohio Secretary of State/Policy Director where he was part of an election administration team, managed a project to implement bi-lingual ballots, helped increase voter education, and worked with the Secretary to advocate reforms of the U.S. banking and financial system.