Lauren Kirby

Director of Strategy and Design

Lauren Kirby is the Director of Strategy and Design at Democracy International. In her role, she leads the strategy and design team through her technical expertise on democracy, human rights, and governance policy and program issues. Ms. Kirby’s expertise specifically focuses on civil society and civic activism, independent media, workers’ rights, elections, political processes, and inclusive development.

Prior to joining DI, she was the Civil Society, Labor, and Media Office Director in USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance, where she led technical teams in innovative program design and formation of U.S. government policy priorities. She is a committed advocate for and practitioner of procurement reform to shift power to local partners, and she helped draft USAID’s Local Capacity Strengthening Policy. Ms. Kirby joined USAID in 2011 as a Presidential Management Fellow. Over her 12 years with USAID, she worked in multiple DC-based bureaus and overseas missions, including Liberia, South Sudan, and the Regional Development Mission for Asia. She was one of the pioneers behind USAID’s Women in Power learning activity, which presents programmatic best practices for measuring and increasing women’s political participation.

Ms. Kirby has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy from Boston College and a Master of Public Policy in International Policy and Development from Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. She also received USAID’s 2017 Women, Peace, and Security award for her work designing and implementing the Getting Ready to Lead activity, which increased women’s voter turnout and candidate participation in Liberia’s 2017 general elections.

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