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Human rights, democracy expert joins McCain Institute

men on stage at debate
November 17, 2014

David J. Kramer, who is completing his tenure after four years as president of Freedom House – a non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights – will assume the role of senior director for Human Rights and Freedom at the McCain Institute for International Leadership Nov. 17.

“David is a world-renowned expert on human rights and democracy, and has vast experience in foreign policy and defending human rights, both inside and outside of government,” said Ambassador Kurt Volker, executive director of the McCain Institute. “David will make a major contribution to the institute’s activism on behalf of human rights and democracy around the globe.”

Located in Washington, D.C., and Arizona, the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University is a non-partisan do-tank dedicated to advancing character-driven leadership based on security, economic opportunity, and human freedom and democracy in the United States and around the world.

Prior to joining Freedom House, Kramer was a Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. He has also taught as an adjunct professor at the Elliott School for International Affairs at The George Washington University.

Before joining the German Marshall Fund, Kramer served as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, from March 2008 to January 2009. He also was a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, responsible for Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus affairs, as well as regional non-proliferation issues. He has also served on the state department’s policy planning staff and as senior adviser to the Undersecretary for Global Affairs.

“I am thrilled to be joining the McCain Institute and to be a part of its terrific team,” Kramer said. “Leaving Freedom House, a fantastic organization, was not an easy decision for me, but I’m delighted to begin a new chapter at the McCain Institute, which is doing really important and fascinating work.”

Earlier in his career, Kramer worked at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He was also a lecturer in Russian studies at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and a teaching fellow at Harvard University. A native of Massachusetts, Kramer received his master's in Soviet studies from Harvard University and his bachelor's in Soviet studies and political science from Tufts University.