Kenneth Wollack

Kenneth Wollack is chairman of the National Endowment for Democracy and a member of the George W. Bush Institute’s Advisory Council on Human Freedom. Mr. Wollack served as co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates for the presidential and vice presidential debates during the lead up to the 2020 election.

Mr. Wollack has been actively involved in foreign affairs, journalism, and politics over the past five decades. For more than 25 years, he served as president of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a nongovernmental organization dedicated to advancing democracy worldwide. He retired in September 2018, after 32 years at the Institute.

Mr. Wollack joined NDI in 1986 as executive vice president. The Institute’s board of directors, then chaired by former Vice President Walter Mondale, elected him president in March, 1993. Mr. Wollack traveled to more than 100 countries, many on multiple occasions, in every region of the world on behalf of the Institute’s democratic development programs. Chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright from 2001 until her death in 2022, NDI maintains offices in more than 50 countries and works to support democratic elections, political parties, parliaments, civic engagement and women’s political empowerment. NDI was established as the result of a 1983 Act by the US Congress.

Before joining NDI, Mr. Wollack co-edited the Middle East Policy Survey, a Washington- based newsletter. He also wrote regularly 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).

Mr. Wollack has been active in American politics, serving on the national staff of the 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.

He has testified before congressional committees, appeared on national television and radio, and spoken before world affairs councils across the country. He has served on task forces sponsored by the Brookings Institution, the United States Institute of Peace, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Center for U.S. Global Engagement, the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Atlantic Council. He was chairman of the U.S. Committee for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), served on the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Democracy Promotion, and was a member of the advisory committee for the U.S. Agency for International Development and a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He also co-chaired the Ronald Reagan Institute’s bi-partisan Working Group on advancing freedom and promoting democracy in the 21st century.

For his efforts on behalf of democracy, Mr. Wollack was the recipient of NDI’s W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award, the Presidential Order of Excellence as well as Honorary Citizenship from the Republic of Georgia, the National Order “Faithful Service” from the government of Romania, and the Medal of Honor “Lithuanian Millennium Star” from the government of Lithuania.