Eric Bjornlund is a lawyer and is co-founder and President of Democracy International (DI). Over the past 30-plus years, he has designed, managed, evaluated, and provided training and technical assistance for international development programs in 70 countries. He has extensive experience across the full range of democracy and governance, human rights, and peace and resilience programs and is a recognized expert on international and domestic election monitoring and on analytical methods for international development assistance. Since 2003, he has co-led the successful effort to build DI into a thriving, contributing, influential international development company.
Mr. Bjornlund also serves as Board Chair of the Election Reformers Network, a nonprofit organization that draws on the experience of international democracy promotion to advocate for election reform in the U.S.; on the Advisory Board of the graduate program in Democracy and Governance at Georgetown University; and as Executive Secretary and Board Member of the Advancing Democratic Elections and Political Transitions (ADEPT) consortium of leading democracy promotion organizations. He has served previously, by appointment of the Administrator of USAID, as a member of the U.S. Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid; on the Executive Advisory Board of the Council of International Development Companies; and as Co-Chair of the Democracy, Rights, and Governance Workgroup of the Society for International Development-Washington.
Mr. Bjornlund is author of Beyond Free and Fair: Monitoring Elections and Building Democracy (2004; Arabic edition 2013), a seminal study of the emergence and significance of election monitoring, as well as book chapters, articles, essays, and reports on election reform, election monitoring, democratization, and international democracy assistance. In recent years he has taught at Georgetown University, Williams College, and the Institute for Civic and Political Engagement in Myanmar. He has testified on a number of occasions before the U.S. Congress and at the United Nations and has appeared often as an expert at international conferences and on media news programs in the U.S. and abroad.
Mr. Bjornlund worked previously in senior positions at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and the Carter Center, and he was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Earlier in his career, he practiced corporate and international law at Ropes & Gray, one of the largest law firms in the U.S. Mr. Bjornlund holds a Juris Doctor from Columbia University, a Master in Public Administration from John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude from Williams College.