Carl Gershman

Former President of the National Endowment for Democracy (1983-2021)

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, the International Forum for Democratic Studies,  the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program, and the Center for International Media Assistance. 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.

Prior to assuming the position with the Endowment in 1984, 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 U.S. Mission, 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 CommentaryThe New LeaderThe New RepublicThe Wall Street JournalThe Washington PostThe New York Times MagazineDemocratizationThe Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International RelationsThe 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 has received The Order of the Knight’s Cross, Government of Poland; The Distinguished Person for Advancing Democracy in China, Chinese Education Democracy Foundation; International Campaign for Tibet’s 2005 Light of Truth Award; Romania’s National Order of “faithful service;” the Order of Diplomatic Service Merit (Heung-In Medal) of the Republic of Korea; the Diplomacy Star of the Government of Lithuania; the Leadership in International Relations Award of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute; The Freedom Award of the Atlantic Council, received on behalf of the NED; and, most recently, the Order of Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon from the President of Taiwan.

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

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