Kenneth Wollack

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Kenneth Wollack is president of the National Democratic Institute, a nonpartisan US-based but internationally operating democracy promotion organization that supports democratic election and governance processes. His background includes foreign policy, journalism, and domestic politics. At NDI, he has testified before Congress and spoken frequently to the media, and has been on task forces under the Brookings Institution, the United States Institute of Peace, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Center for U.S. Global Engagement. At present, he is a member of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid and is the chairman of the board of directors for the U.S. Committee for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and a member of the Board of Advisors of the Project on Middle East Democracy. He is a nonresident senior fellow of the Truman National Security Project.


Starting in 1986 as executive vice president, he was elected president in 1993, by a board headed by former Vice President Walter Mondale. He serves under a current board headed by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Immediately after the 2009 Afghanistan presidential election, he said, in Kabul, that while the elections appeared to have been conducted in accordance with democratic principles, "We have seen too many elections around the world and it is why we reserve a final assessment to an end of a process not as the process is still unfolding". NDI is continuing to monitor the situation. [1]

In 2005, he testified on concerns about failing democratic processes in Latin America. One of his major concerns was that political parties were the least trusted of social institutions there. [2]

About the 2000 elections in Zimbabwe, he spoke to the issue of institutions and the entire process. "...the environment leading up to the election day was fundamentally flawed. It was an environment of fear and anxiety. You had a campaign of violence and intimidation directed primarily at the opposition. You had an unlevel playing field, biased news coverage. You had the legal framework that was also flawed, lack of an independent election commission. It was very positive that election day was peaceful. The process is not completed. There will be a complaint process, and how those complaints are handled by the courts will also contribute to the overall view of this election process...If the government now recognizes that Zimbabwe today is a multiparty state, de facto and not just de joure and that the parliament is allowed to debate public policy issues and decide on those public policy decisions rather than decisions being made by decree or being made by the executive, then this could be a very positive future for Zimbabwe."[3]


He was co-editor of the Middle East Policy Survey, a Washington-based newsletter, and wrote on foreign affairs for the Los Angeles Times.


From 1973 to 1980, he served as legislative director of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). He was part of the George McGovern presidential campaign in 1972.


He graduated from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, and was a senior fellow at UCLA’s School for Public Affairs.


  1. Steve Herman (22 August 2009), "Taliban Reportedly Cut Off Fingers of 2 Voters", Voice of America
  2. Kenneth Wollack, President (March 9, 2005), Challenges to Democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean, House International Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs
  3. "Zimbabwe's Election", Jim Lehrer's Newshour, Public Broadcasting Service, 27 June 2000