Director, Technology and Democracy

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a 501(c)3, bipartisan organization that serves as America’s leading foundation for freedom, providing support for democratic activists, civil society organizations, and independent media throughout the world, as well as the NED core institutes: the National Democratic Institute (ND), the International Republican Institute (IR), the Solidarity Center, and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). Through nearly $300 million in grants to 1,800 partners in over 100 countries, NED is at the heart of supporting a global infrastructure for democracy.

As the challenges to democracy sharpen, NED is adapting. Digital authoritarianism is a defining challenge to democratic norms and practices globally. The digital revolution also presents opportunities for NED and its grantees, enabling new forms of democratic organizing and the free flow of information, as well as new strategies for holding governments accountable. That’s why we’re seeking a Director, Technology and Democracy to lead NED’s institutional strategy and integrated approach to grantmaking initiatives in this fast-evolving field.

Position Summary:

NED’s Director of Technology and Democracy will lead development of NED’s strategy, grantmaking, learning, and reporting related to technology and democracy. Reporting to the Vice President of Programs, the Director will be part of the Program leadership team, partner closely with the Global program team, collaborate across the organization, and regularly brief NED leadership, board members, and Congress. This new position reflects the institution’s strong commitment to being a leading driver of leveraging technology for democracy around the world.

Currently, NED is supporting grantees in using tech to expand civic participation, share their messages, and hold state actors accountable; enabling grantees to use tech to circumvent censorship and internet shutdowns and enhance digital security; and empowering civil society to bring democratic values to the center of global, regional, and national conversations on digital governance. Drawing on NED’s track record of support in this area, the Director will ensure a coherent and integrated approach to technology and democracy within NED and across the NED family, and maximize the impact of NED’s related grantmaking.

To be considered, candidates must have demonstrable experience in international democracy and human rights programming, and deep expertise in the application and impact of technology on democracy. Strong relationships across the public and private tech and tech policy sectors are critical. The role demands strong interpersonal skills and an entrepreneurial spirit to navigate a new position at NED and to work effectively in the broader tech and democracy community. The position is based in Washington, DC, with frequent domestic and international travel.


Strategy: The Director will be responsible for the development of an institutional strategy to address the rapid and sweeping technological changes that are driving political development in countries around the world. Working in close collaboration with other departments, including NED’s seven regional program teams and peers in the Democracy Support Activities (DSAs) at the International Forum for Democratic Studies (Forum), the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA), and the World Movement for Democracy (WMD), the Director will weave together multiple strands of work to ensure NED’s efforts on technology and democracy are impactful, targeted, and forward-leaning. The Director will be responsible for identifying: areas of engagement where NED is particularly well-placed to have an impact; programming that links together locally-driven priorities with international developments; and tech that is critical to the advancement of NED’s mission. The Director will also lead NED’s effort to develop a coherent approach to technology and democracy across the NED family, including the four core institutes (NDI, IRI, Solidarity Center, and CIPE).

Grantmaking: The Director will serve as the lead on grantmaking related to technology. The Director will oversee the Strategic Cooperation Funds committed to leveraging technology for democracy, leading a deliberative process engaging stakeholders across NED. The Directors will also provide oversight and serve as a resource to the regional and global programs for all grantmaking that relates to technology and democracy.

Learning: In cooperation with the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) team, the Director will be responsible for fostering institutional learning on this cross-cutting issue. The Director will design and implement an internal learning agenda that works across NED, including the Program department and DSAs, to advance institutional learning to ensure a depth and breadth of expertise, and that subject matter expertise is brought to bear in the consideration of grant proposals. The Director will also work with the MEL team to develop benchmarks upon which progress can be evaluated. The Director will also be responsible for working with regional Program peers to evaluate and assess programs.

Coordination and Networking: The Director will ensure coordination across the entire organization—including NED’s four core institutes—in the development, vetting, and implementation of programs. The Director will work with peers across the institution to network with partners, share programmatic strategies and tactics, and develop a coordinated approach. The Director will also liaise with counterparts in the nonprofit and tech sectors, governments, and other donors. The Director will serve as the lead point of contact for external private sector and other partners on technology-related grantmaking.

Reporting and Representation: The Director will be responsible for reporting on, analyzing, and representing NED’s work on tech and democracy. This will require deep familiarity with all grants with a tech and democracy component, as well as the work of the Forum and CIMA, including the relevant reports and articles published by the Forum, CIMA, and Journal of Democracy. The Director will also be responsible for representing and briefing NED’s work on technology and democracy before the executive leadership team, Board of Directors, and external actors, such as Congress, the Executive Branch, and media.

Supervisory and Administrative: The level of responsibility and independence in assigned tasks will increase with experience. Other duties as assigned, may include supervisory responsibility.


– BA in relevant field required; MA or PhD preferred
– 11+ years of professional experience
– Experience with international democracy and human rights programming, either as an implementer or grant-maker
– Deep knowledge of the application and impact of technology on democracy, including artificial intelligence, surveillance, civic tech, big data, social media, cyber-security, internet governance, internet freedom, etc.
– International, field-based experience
– Understanding of related policy issues and political dynamics

Job Specific Requirements:
– Ability to incorporate and synthesize a broad range of highly technical information and translate it into understandable and actionable information for non-tech expert colleagues
– Strong relationships and networks in the field of democracy and technology, including the private sector
– Fluent on trends in emerging technology, digital governance norms, and digital authoritarian practices
– Deep understanding of cyber threats; use of a wide range of social media platforms; and ICT security protocols and tools
– Knowledge of broader IT issues to ensure effective communication with IT and Operational Security departments
– Project and staff management experience
– The position requires regular domestic and international travel
– Authorized to work in the United States

– Excellent written and oral communication skills
– Highly organized
– Strong interpersonal skills
– Entrepreneurial mindset and abilities
– Able to work independently – identify opportunities and challenges and propose strategies and solutions
– Ability to coordinate and engage with a diverse professional staff and a wide range of departments, including Programs, Democracy Support Activities (e.g., Forum, CIMA), Communications and Public Engagement, Government Relations, and Information Technology
– Ability to establish and cultivate positive working relationships with internal and external colleagues
– Demonstrated ability to work in a fast-paced, high stress environment

To Apply:

Apply Online. Applications must include a cover letter, resume, desired salary, and contact information for three professional references, of which one should be a supervisor. Please, no phone call inquiries.

The NED is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, national origin, veteran status, or any other legally protected characteristics covered by applicable law. The NED is committed to working with and providing reasonable accommodation for all qualified individuals and bases all employment decisions on qualifications, merit, and business need. The NED believes that diversity and inclusion among our team members are critical to our success as an organization operating globally and seek to recruit, develop, and retain the most talented people from a diverse candidate pool.

For more information, please visit our website at or