Our Volunteers

Board Members

Doug Addison (President and Treasurer) is the originator of CFFAD.  He fought poverty around the world as an economist for the World Bank between 1985 and 2016.  Doug holds a M.Phil. in economics from the University of Sussex, a M.A. in economics from the University of Maryland, and a B.A. in economics from the University of Colorado.  Doug’s country experiences led him to deeply value the benefits of a healthy democracy – having been many places where democracies were weak or absent.  His travels include Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Zambia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Nepal, Solomon Islands, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), and Cyprus.  All but Ghana and Zambia suffered from major civil conflict within the last 50 years.  He is now studying at George Mason University, investigating the conditions under which democracy can and can not reduce conflict.



Eric Palladini (Secretary) is a historian working in economic development, focused on micro-finance, inequality, and institutions. He manages an oral history program for members of the Latino LGBTQ community in Washington, DC.  He served as a poll worker in New Mexico.  Eric also co-authored a book on micro finance which is used in the Boulder Institute’s Micro-finance training. He holds a PhD in History from Tulane University and a B.S. in Languages and Linguistics from Georgetown University.




Barak Hoffman is a Political Economist at the World Bank and provides independent consulting services for various other public and private institutions. His areas of expertise include the political economy of development, developing monitoring and evaluation systems, and program design and evaluation. He has worked in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Dr. Hoffman has previously worked for the United States Agency for International Development, the United States Department of the Treasury, the United States Federal Reserve, Georgetown University (Director at the Center for Democracy and Civil Society), and Stanford University. His research has been published in a range of journals, including Comparative Politics, the Journal of Democracy, and World Development, as well as in numerous official publications of USAID, the World Bank, and similar organizations. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.



Mark Nelson is a former journalist and development specialist who has written extensively on aid effectiveness, governance and the role of media in development. He joined the Center for International Media Assistance after working 17 years as a governance and capacity development expert at the World Bank in Washington, DC. Before moving to Washington in 2004, he spent eight years in Paris as head of the World Bank Institute’s European office, where he focused on democratic governance, including the role of the media. From 1985 through 1996, Mr. Nelson was European diplomatic correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, based in Brussels, Berlin and Paris. He covered the negotiations leading to the Maastricht Treaty, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the war in Bosnia. From 1992 to 1993 on leave from the Wall Street Journal, he was a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He began his career as a researcher on international affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. From 1983 through 1985, he was a staff reporter at the St. Petersburg Times in Florida, where he covered local government. A native of South Carolina, he is a graduate of Oberlin College in Ohio and completed a masters-level degree in international economics at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium.

Advisory Board

Liza Prendergast is a specialist in democracy, human rights, and governance. For more than a decade, she has designed and implemented civic education and engagement programs in the United States and around the world. Currently, she serves as a Director at Democracy International, where she oversees proposal development and program design for DI’s global democracy support programs and analytical projects funded by USAID and the U.S. State Department. Previously, she served as a Technical Specialist at World Learning, where she supported the design and implementation of civic engagement programming in Algeria, Burma, Egypt, South Sudan, and Thailand. She also conducted courses in Social Accountability methods for World Bank officials across the Middle East and North Africa. Before that she served as Assistant Director of the Center for Civic Education’s Washington, D.C. office where she advocated for the Education for Democracy Act, authorized legislation that supported democracy education in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. In that role, she managed the Campaign to Promote Civic Education, a fifty-state effort to improve democracy education in the United States, and she managed Civitas International programs, including in Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. She has served on the Working Group on Democracy Education at the Council for a Community of Democracies and on the board of Friends of European Humanities University, a Belarusian university in exile in Lithuania. She holds an M.A. in Democracy and Governance from Georgetown University and a B.A. in History from George Washington University.

Scott Lansell has more than 20 years of experience in program management, development, design, and outreach, with expertise in international democracy, governance, and civil society programming. An active development professional in democracy and governance programs, he served as the director for civil society and governance at World Learning, senior director of programs and strategic operations at the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) and an internal cooperation specialist with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Regional Mission for Europe, during which he served as interim USAID country director for Lithuania and Albania. He has led or participated in more than 40 field missions throughout Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and the Middle East, and has worked with and for numerous international and local civil society organizations.  After the 2000 elections, built a U.S. elections assistance portfolio of 12 unique contract awards across every jurisdictional level including Federal, State, County, City and Territories.  Scott holds an MBA from George Mason University and a BA in political science from Miami University in Ohio.

Chris Foley has twenty-five-plus years of professional experience in directing and designing strategic plans for international and domestic local democratic governance and administration programs. Includes twelve years directing program design, implementation and staff development for the National Democratic Institute (NDIIA); four years teaching graduate-level program design, proposal writing and monitoring, evaluation & learning courses for the School for International Training (SIT)/World Learning; five and a half years implementing economic development, strategic planning, community redevelopment, redistricting and Census outreach initiatives for the Los Angeles County Chief Administrative Office (CAO) and Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (RR/CC); one and a half years local government technical assistance and democracy building with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); and six months managing a military relocation assistance program and conducting legislative analysis in Russia for the Urban Institute.

Mary McNeil spent over twenty-five years at the World Bank leading efforts in the field of community-driven development, citizen participation and open and accountable governance.  She was the corporate lead for development of the Global Partnership for Social Accountability, and developed the model for the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability now active in East Asia. She is the co-editor of Demanding Good Governance: Lessons for Social Accountability Initiatives in Africa, and was founding editor of the Bank’s flagship publication Development Outreach. Most recently as a consultant she has advised CARE International on the mainstreaming of good governance throughout its programs and drafted a report on new initiatives in the field of open governance for the Governance Global Practice of the World Bank, among other assignments.  Prior to joining the World Bank, she was a journalist working for Congressional Quarterly where she covered environmental affairs, and an editor for the Smithsonian Institution and the National Academy of Sciences. She holds a Masters Degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she was the Joel Leff Fellow in Political Economy, and a BA with honors from Wake Forest University.

The Center for Free, Fair, and Accountable Democracy

Our Mission

We provide non-partisan civic education for adults age 18 and above, focused on the benefits of representative democracy, the foundations of trust in representative democracy, and the role of citizens in defending their democracies.

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