Meet Our President

Carl Gershman is President of the National Endowment for Democracy, a private, congressionally supported grant-making institution with the mission to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts. In addition to presiding over the Endowment’s grants program in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and Latin America, he has overseen the creation of the quarterly Journal of Democracy, International Forum for Democratic Studies, and the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program. He also took the lead in launching in New Delhi in 1999 the World Movement for Democracy, which is a global network of democracy practitioners and scholars. Mr. Gershman is currently encouraging other democracies to establish their own foundations devoted to the promotion of democratic institutions in the world.

Prior to assuming the position with the Endowment, Mr. Gershman was Senior Counselor to the United States Representative to the United Nations, in which capacity he served as the U.S. Representative to the U.N.’s Third Committee that deals with human rights issues, and also as Alternate Representative of the U.S. to the U.N. Security Council.

While at the U.S. Mission to the U.N., Mr. Gershman also served as lead consultant to the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America, and helped draft the final report.

Prior to his assignment at the United States Mission to the United Nations, Mr. Gershman was a Resident Scholar at Freedom House and Executive Director of Social Democrats, USA.

Mr. Gershman has lectured extensively and written articles and reviews on foreign policy issues for such publications as: Commentary, The New Leader, The New Republic, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times Magazine, Democratization, The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, The Washington Quarterly, and the Journal of Democracy. He is the co-editor of Israel, the Arabs and the Middle East (Bantam, 1972) and the author of The Foreign Policy of the American Labor (Sage, 1975). He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Council on Foreign Relations.

He received The Order of the Knight’s Cross, Government of Poland; President’s Medal, George Washington University; The Distinguished Person for Advancing Democracy in China, Chinese Education Democracy Foundation; International Campaign for Tibet’s 2005 Light of the Truth Award and Romania’s National Order of “faithful service"; Order of Diplomatic Service Merit (Heung-In Medal) of the Republic of Korea; Lithuanian Diplomacy Star of the Government of Lithuania; Leadership in International Relations Award of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute; The Freedom Award of the Atlantic Council, received on behalf of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

Mr. Gershman was born in New York City on July 20, 1943. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Horace Mann Preparatory School in 1961; received a B.A. degree from Yale University, Magna Cum Laude in 1965 and M.Ed. from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1968.

Mr. Gershman is married to Laurie Pfeffer. They have three children (Sarah, Joseph and Jacob).