Eric Bjornlund is a lawyer and is co-founder and President of Democracy International. He is also Adjunct Professor in the Department of Government at Georgetown University, where he teaches in the graduate program in Democracy and Governance; serves as Secretary and Board Member of the Advancing Democratic Elections and Political Transitions (ADEPT) consortium; and by appointment of the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development serves as a member of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Assistance. At Democracy International, Mr. Bjornlund oversees a rapidly growing organization with more than 200 full-time, professional staff members.
Over the past 25-plus years, Mr. Bjornlund has designed, directed, evaluated, and provided training and technical assistance for international development programs in more than 70 countries. He has extensive experience and expertise across the full range of democracy, human rights and governance (DRG), conflict, and transition programs and is a recognized expert on international and domestic election monitoring. He also has extensive experience with evaluation methodology, analytical methods, and survey research, as well as with USAID processes and regulations.
Mr. Bjornlund has written and spoken extensively about transitional and postconflict elections, democratization, governance and legal reform, and international democracy promotion. He is author of Beyond Free and Fair: Monitoring Elections and Building Democracy (Wilson Center/Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004; Arabic edition 2013), a seminal study of the emergence and significance of international and domestic election monitoring, as well as numerous book chapters, articles, essays, and reports. At Georgetown, he has taught courses on Democracy Promotion and Democratic Theory, Post-Conflict Political Reconstruction, and Funding for International Development. Mr. Bjornlund has testified on a number of occasions before the U.S. Congress and at the United Nations and has served as an expert on elections, election monitoring, and civil society advocacy for the U.S. Department of State. He has spoken at conferences and universities throughout the world and has appeared often on television and radio in the U.S. and abroad, including on BBC, C-SPAN, CNN, National Public Radio, Voice of America, and other media outlets.
From 1989 to 2000, Mr. Bjornlund worked for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) in various positions, including as Senior Associate and Asia Director, Country Director in Indonesia, Country Director in Palestine (West Bank and Gaza), and Director of Program Coordination and General Counsel. In 2004, he served as Field Office Director for The Carter Center in Indonesia. Awarded a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 2000-01, Mr. Bjornlund drew on his experience as a leading practitioner in the emerging field of election observation to synthesize lessons for the academic and policy-making communities. Earlier in his career, he practiced corporate and international law for four years at Ropes & Gray in Boston, Massachusetts, one of the nation’s largest law firms.
Mr. Bjornlund holds a J.D. from Columbia University, an M.A. in Public Administration from John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a B.A. magna cum laude from Williams College.