NED Congratulates New NDI President Dr. Tamara Cofman Wittes 

Photo courtesy of NDI

The National Endowment Democracy (NED) congratulates Dr. Tamara Cofman Wittes on her appointment as the president of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), one of NED’s four core institutes.  

“Tamara is the right leader at an urgent time for our work. She brings a strong record of academic, policy, and management experience, along with a deep knowledge of NDI and an abiding commitment to our mission,” said NED President and Chief Executive Officer Damon Wilson. “She is fiercely committed to supporting freedom. I’m eager to have her as a partner in renewing democracy around the world.” 

Dr. Wittes currently serves as the director of foreign assistance at the State Department and was the lead policy coordinator for sanctions on Russia during the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. She served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs during the Obama Administration, coordinating U.S. policy on democracy and human rights in the Middle East. Dr. Wittes was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, where she led the Center for Middle East Policy. From 2014 to 2022, she served as a member of NDI’s Board of Directors. 

“We are thrilled Tamara will become president of NDI, where she made measurable contributions during her service as an NDI Board Member,” said NED Chair Kenneth Wollack, who served as president of NDI for over 25 years before retiring in 2018. “Her appointment comes at a consequential moment for democracy around the world, when the work of the NED family – NDI, the International Republican Institute; Center for International Private Enterprise, and the Solidarity Center – is now more important than ever.”  

Dr. Wittes follows the leadership of former Ambassador Derek Mitchell, president of NDI from 2018 to 2023. She begins her role as NDI President on March 15, 2024. 

In a statement released by NDI, Dr. Wittes expressed her unwavering commitment to our mission at a time when democratic societies face unprecedented challenges: “The defense and promotion of democracy is one of the defining issues of the 21st century. I am honored to join this incredibly talented team working on the frontlines supporting and defending democracy for four decades in over 150 countries.” 



The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is an independent, nonprofit, grant-making foundation dedicated to the development and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. With an annual appropriation from Congress, NED funds more than 2,000 grants in over 100 countries. NED’s grants program is augmented by the International Forum for Democratic Studiesthe Reagan-Fascell Fellowships Program; the World Movement for Democracy; and the Center for International Media Assistance.

NED’s approach draws on support from the two leading political parties, business, and labor. NED’s core institutes include: the Center for International Private Enterprise, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and the Solidarity Center.



Christine Bednarz, Director of Communications,; +1-202-200-6872