Eric Bjornlund

Board Chair

Eric Bjornlund is a lawyer and is co-founder and President & CEO of Democracy International (DI), a U.S.-based firm founded in 2003 that provides technical assistance, analytical services, and project implementation for democracy, human rights and governance (DRG), peace and resilience, and other international development programs worldwide. In addition to serving as Board Chair of the Election Reformers Network, he serves on the Advisory Board of the graduate program in Democracy and Governance and as Executive Secretary and Board Member of the Advancing Democratic Elections and Political Transitions (ADEPT) consortium of leading democracy promotion organizations. He served previously by appointment of the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development as a member of the 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-U.S. 

Over the past 35 years, Mr. Bjornlund has designed, managed, evaluated, and provided training and technical assistance for international development programs in 70 countries. He has expertise in elections and election monitoring, democratization, legal reform, and international democracy promotion, including in semiauthoritarian and conflict-affected countries. He 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 numerous book chapters, articles, essays, and reports. In recent years he has taught at Georgetown University, Williams College, and the Institute for Civic and Political Engagement in Myanmar. Mr. Bjornlund 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 television and radio in the U.S. and abroad.

Mr. Bjornlund worked previously in senior positions for the National Democratic Institute (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.

Susan Atwood

Vice President

Susan Atwood has thirty-five years of experience in the fields of international political development, human rights and community participation in the United Kingdom, Belgium and the United States. Having worked at the Liberal Group at the European Parliament and as Executive Director for Liberal International in the 1980s, she is well versed in the challenges facing third parties in first-past-the-post election systems.

During the early 1990s, having moved to the United States, she directed election and civic engagement programs for the International Foundation for Elections Systems (IFES) and subsequently for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) at the time of the first multi-party elections in East and Central Europe.

She holds an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government and taught a Leadership for Global Citizenship course for eight years at the University of Minnesota. From 2012-2014 she worked at the Center for Victims of Torture as director of the New Tactics in Human Rights program in the Middle East and North Africa region. She is a dual citizen of the US and the United Kingdom and speaks French and German.

Edward McMahon

Vice Chair

Edward McMahon currently holds a joint appointment as Adjunct Associate Professor of Community Development and Applied Economics, and Political Science at the University of Vermont. He previously was Dean’s Professor of Applied Politics and Director of the Center on Democratic Performance (CDP) at Binghamton University (SUNY).  Dr. McMahon also served as Senior Advisor for Democracy and Governance in USAID’s Policy and Program Coordination Bureau.

From 1989-98 he was Senior Program Officer and Regional Director for East, Central and West Africa at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.  He previously spent 10 years as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, specializing in African Affairs.  He has served as a Senior Research Associate at Freedom House and as a consultant for numerous democracy and governance projects.

Dr. McMahon’s recent research includes analysis of the functioning of the new Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Dr. McMahon has co-authored Piecing a Democratic Quilt: Universal Norms and Regional Organizations (Bloomfield: Kumerian Press, 2006).  He is co-editor of Democratic Institution Performance: Research and Policy Perspectives (Greenwood/Praeger, 2002) and African State Governance: Subnational Politics and National Power. New York: (Palgrave Press, 2015). He has contributed journal articles and book chapters in edited publications on a range of democratic development issues.

Tavan Pechet

Secretary

Tavan Pechet is Principal of Pechet Advisors where he provides strategic advice to successful philanthropic families. He previously served as CEO of a family office, managing the business and financial operations of a complex, multi-generational family. Now he counsels families and family foundations on best practices and bespoke solutions for their governance and strategy challenges.

Like his clients, Mr. Pechet feels fortunate for his success and for the opportunity to give back. His personal focus includes both funding nonprofits and helping them with capacity building and strategic planning to leverage their resources.

Mr. Pechet has also served as a business executive and as an attorney, and clerked for a federal judge. He holds a BA in Government from Harvard College, a JD from Harvard Law School, and an MBA from UCLA Anderson.

Kevin Johnson

Executive Director

Kevin Johnson is co-founder and executive director of Election Reformers Network (ERN). Since 2017, Kevin has led ERN’s research and advocacy programs focused on impartial election administration, independent redistricting, and voting rules. Kevin draws on decades ofexperience supporting emerging democracies overseas and advancing reforms inthe US.

Kevin has authored studies of secretary of state conflict of interest, impartial election management, and proportional approaches to electoral college reform. He has published more than two dozen opeds on a wide range of reform topics in media outlets including The Washington Post, Governing, Commonwealth Magazine, and The Daily Beast.

Kevin has held board or advisory positions with The Carter Center, Common Cause Massachusetts, Rank the Vote, and American Promise. For 18 years, Kevin ran Liberty Global Partners, an investment advisory firm focused on venture capital and private equity in emerging markets. Kevin earned an MBA from Wharton and a BA from Yale, and lives with his wife and three children in Newton, MA.

Larry Garber

Board Member

Larry Garber is an independent consultant, with more than 35 years of experience on election related work.  Previously, he served on the faculty of the National Defense University, a senior policy-maker at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), mission director for USAID’s West Bank/Gaza program and as the Chief Executive Officer of the New Israel Fund.

In 1984, he authored Guidelines for International Election Observing, which transformed election observation from a casual process with limited structure into a rigorous discipline. As Senior Associate for Electoral Process at the National Democratic Institute, Mr. Garber led multiple observation missions and advised senior leaders in several countries undertaking comprehensive electoral reforms following political transitions.  Most recently, he served as country director for a 2018 Carter Center expert mission to Sierra Leone and as the NDI co-director of the 2018 Zimbabwe International Election Observer Mission.

Mr. Garber has contributed chapters to several edited books and prepared articles, book reviews and blogs on issues relating to international development, democracy promotion, human rights, and election reform. Currently, Mr. Garber is a member of the National Task Force on Election Crises. Mr. Garber has a JD/Master in International Affairs from Columbia University and a BA from Queens College.

Maureen Harrington

Board Member

Maureen Harrington is head of client coverage for the financial institutions group in North America at Standard Bank, where she has held a series of senior positions since 2009. Previously, she was vice president of policy and international relations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. government corporation aimed at driving economic growth and reducing poverty in developing countries. Maureen also has been a special assistant in the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. State Department, and the director of the Massachusetts Trade Office. During the 1990s, she helped to build democracy in South Africa in a series of positions at the International Republican Institute.

Janet Sawaya

Board Member

Janet Sawaya has over 20 years of experience in international development with a focus on civic engagement and empowering citizens to advocate for their rights and needs. She is currently an independent consultant working with private funders, multilaterals and international nonprofits  on strategy, advocacy, and evaluation. She served in various positions at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; on improving women’s participation in political decision-making at Women’s Campaign International; strengthening parliamentary committees and their relationships with civil society for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Malawi; conflict mitigation in Indonesia’s restive provinces at United States Agency for International Development Office of Transition Initiatives in Indonesia; and on developing civil society for Mercy Corps in Indonesia and based in the U.S.

Eric Bjornlund

Board Chair

Eric Bjornlund is a lawyer and is co-founder and President & CEO of Democracy International (DI), a U.S.-based firm founded in 2003 that provides technical assistance, analytical services, and project implementation for democracy, human rights and governance (DRG), peace and resilience, and other international development programs worldwide. In addition to serving as Board Chair of the Election Reformers Network, he serves on the Advisory Board of the graduate program in Democracy and Governance and as Executive Secretary and Board Member of the Advancing Democratic Elections and Political Transitions (ADEPT) consortium of leading democracy promotion organizations. He served previously by appointment of the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development as a member of the 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-U.S. 

Over the past 35 years, Mr. Bjornlund has designed, managed, evaluated, and provided training and technical assistance for international development programs in 70 countries. He has expertise in elections and election monitoring, democratization, legal reform, and international democracy promotion, including in semiauthoritarian and conflict-affected countries. He 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 numerous book chapters, articles, essays, and reports. In recent years he has taught at Georgetown University, Williams College, and the Institute for Civic and Political Engagement in Myanmar. Mr. Bjornlund 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 television and radio in the U.S. and abroad.

Mr. Bjornlund worked previously in senior positions for the National Democratic Institute (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.

Edward McMahon

Vice Chair

Edward McMahon currently holds a joint appointment as Adjunct Associate Professor of Community Development and Applied Economics, and Political Science at the University of Vermont. He previously was Dean’s Professor of Applied Politics and Director of the Center on Democratic Performance (CDP) at Binghamton University (SUNY).  Dr. McMahon also served as Senior Advisor for Democracy and Governance in USAID’s Policy and Program Coordination Bureau.

From 1989-98 he was Senior Program Officer and Regional Director for East, Central and West Africa at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.  He previously spent 10 years as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, specializing in African Affairs.  He has served as a Senior Research Associate at Freedom House and as a consultant for numerous democracy and governance projects.

Dr. McMahon’s recent research includes analysis of the functioning of the new Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Dr. McMahon has co-authored Piecing a Democratic Quilt: Universal Norms and Regional Organizations (Bloomfield: Kumerian Press, 2006).  He is co-editor of Democratic Institution Performance: Research and Policy Perspectives (Greenwood/Praeger, 2002) and African State Governance: Subnational Politics and National Power. New York: (Palgrave Press, 2015). He has contributed journal articles and book chapters in edited publications on a range of democratic development issues.

Larry Garber

Board Member

Larry Garber is an independent consultant, with more than 35 years of experience on election related work.  Previously, he served on the faculty of the National Defense University, a senior policy-maker at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), mission director for USAID’s West Bank/Gaza program and as the Chief Executive Officer of the New Israel Fund.

In 1984, he authored Guidelines for International Election Observing, which transformed election observation from a casual process with limited structure into a rigorous discipline. As Senior Associate for Electoral Process at the National Democratic Institute, Mr. Garber led multiple observation missions and advised senior leaders in several countries undertaking comprehensive electoral reforms following political transitions.  Most recently, he served as country director for a 2018 Carter Center expert mission to Sierra Leone and as the NDI co-director of the 2018 Zimbabwe International Election Observer Mission.

Mr. Garber has contributed chapters to several edited books and prepared articles, book reviews and blogs on issues relating to international development, democracy promotion, human rights, and election reform. Currently, Mr. Garber is a member of the National Task Force on Election Crises. Mr. Garber has a JD/Master in International Affairs from Columbia University and a BA from Queens College.

Susan Atwood

Vice President

Susan Atwood has thirty-five years of experience in the fields of international political development, human rights and community participation in the United Kingdom, Belgium and the United States. Having worked at the Liberal Group at the European Parliament and as Executive Director for Liberal International in the 1980s, she is well versed in the challenges facing third parties in first-past-the-post election systems.

During the early 1990s, having moved to the United States, she directed election and civic engagement programs for the International Foundation for Elections Systems (IFES) and subsequently for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) at the time of the first multi-party elections in East and Central Europe.

She holds an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government and taught a Leadership for Global Citizenship course for eight years at the University of Minnesota. From 2012-2014 she worked at the Center for Victims of Torture as director of the New Tactics in Human Rights program in the Middle East and North Africa region. She is a dual citizen of the US and the United Kingdom and speaks French and German.

Kevin Johnson

Executive Director

Kevin Johnson is co-founder and executive director of Election Reformers Network (ERN). Since 2017, Kevin has led ERN’s research and advocacy programs focused on impartial election administration, independent redistricting, and voting rules. Kevin draws on decades ofexperience supporting emerging democracies overseas and advancing reforms inthe US.

Kevin has authored studies of secretary of state conflict of interest, impartial election management, and proportional approaches to electoral college reform. He has published more than two dozen opeds on a wide range of reform topics in media outlets including The Washington Post, Governing, Commonwealth Magazine, and The Daily Beast.

Kevin has held board or advisory positions with The Carter Center, Common Cause Massachusetts, Rank the Vote, and American Promise. For 18 years, Kevin ran Liberty Global Partners, an investment advisory firm focused on venture capital and private equity in emerging markets. Kevin earned an MBA from Wharton and a BA from Yale, and lives with his wife and three children in Newton, MA.

Maureen Harrington

Board Member

Maureen Harrington is head of client coverage for the financial institutions group in North America at Standard Bank, where she has held a series of senior positions since 2009. Previously, she was vice president of policy and international relations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a U.S. government corporation aimed at driving economic growth and reducing poverty in developing countries. Maureen also has been a special assistant in the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. State Department, and the director of the Massachusetts Trade Office. During the 1990s, she helped to build democracy in South Africa in a series of positions at the International Republican Institute.

Janet Sawaya

Board Member

Janet Sawaya has over 20 years of experience in international development with a focus on civic engagement and empowering citizens to advocate for their rights and needs. She is currently an independent consultant working with private funders, multilaterals and international nonprofits  on strategy, advocacy, and evaluation. She served in various positions at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; on improving women’s participation in political decision-making at Women’s Campaign International; strengthening parliamentary committees and their relationships with civil society for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Malawi; conflict mitigation in Indonesia’s restive provinces at United States Agency for International Development Office of Transition Initiatives in Indonesia; and on developing civil society for Mercy Corps in Indonesia and based in the U.S.

Tavan Pechet

Secretary

Tavan Pechet is Principal of Pechet Advisors where he provides strategic advice to successful philanthropic families. He previously served as CEO of a family office, managing the business and financial operations of a complex, multi-generational family. Now he counsels families and family foundations on best practices and bespoke solutions for their governance and strategy challenges.

Like his clients, Mr. Pechet feels fortunate for his success and for the opportunity to give back. His personal focus includes both funding nonprofits and helping them with capacity building and strategic planning to leverage their resources.

Mr. Pechet has also served as a business executive and as an attorney, and clerked for a federal judge. He holds a BA in Government from Harvard College, a JD from Harvard Law School, and an MBA from UCLA Anderson.