Washington, DC – IRI today announced the following staff changes: Thomas E. Garrett was named Vice President for Programs; Dan Fisk, Coordinator for Governance Programs; Julija Belej Bakovic, Director for Asia Programs; Stephanie Blanton, Director for Special Projects; Barbara Broomell, Deputy Director for Middle East and North Africa Programs; Paul Fagan, Director for Africa Programs; Jeff Lilley, Director of the Office of Monitoring and Evaluation; Scott Mastic, Director for Middle East and North Africa Programs; Tina Mufford, Deputy Director for Asia Programs; and Kimber Shearer, Deputy Director for Latin American and Caribbean Programs. Blanton, Fisk and Lilley fill newly established positions at the Institute.

Garrett, a native of Oklahoma, has 20 years of professional political and governmental experience including more than 10 years’ work in democracy building programs outside the United States.  Garrett began his career in Texas and Oklahoma where he worked as a consultant on statewide campaigns.  In 1993, Garrett served in the American Volunteers for Overseas Development program of the National Forum Foundation in Ukraine where he trained first-time candidates in advance of the 1994 parliamentary elections.  Garrett first joined IRI in November of 1994, as Resident Program Director for Ukraine.  He left the Ukraine program in January 2000 to serve as IRI’s Resident Advisor to Mongolia’s parliament.  He most recently served as Director for Middle East and North Africa Programs.  He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma.

Fisk comes to IRI from a number of positions in the U.S. government, including as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs on the National Security Council (NSC).  He joined the NSC from the State Department, where he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.  In these positions, Fisk oversaw the development and implementation of policies to expand initiatives towards Latin America in the areas of good governance, economic development and trade, health, education and housing.  His experience in the U.S. government also includes service as the Senior Foreign Policy and National Security Advisor to Senator Mel Martinez (FL); as a senior staff member and associate counsel for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations; as a staff member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; as Deputy Director for International Counternarcotics Matters in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs; as Special Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs at the State Department; and as the Deputy Coordinator for Central American Public Diplomacy in the White House Office of Communications.  Fisk began his work in government as a Research Associate on the staff of the Republican Study Committee in the House of Representatives.  As Coordinator for Governance, Fisk works with IRI’s regional divisions to develop and implement programs to work with public officials and civil society to make government more responsive, accessible and accountable to the people it serves. Fisk holds a juris doctor from Georgetown University Law Center.

Belej Bakovic first began working with IRI in 1999 in her native country of Serbia where she worked on local government reform and national government communications programs.  In early 2003, Belej Bakovic left IRI to pursue a professional career in molecular biology.  Belej Bakovic rejoined IRI in September 2004, working on political party programming in northern Iraq.  She was promoted to Resident Country Director in August 2005.  In June 2006, she returned to Washington, DC to direct IRI’s Iraq Program.  As Director of Asia Programs, Belej Bakovic will oversee programs in Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, North Korea and Timor-Leste.  Belej Bakovic holds a master’s in science in molecular biology and physiology from the University of Belgrade.

Blanton most recently served as IRI’s Director for Africa Programs, overseeing work in Kenya, Nigeria, Somaliland, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe.  Blanton also served as Deputy Director for Africa Programs, a position she was appointed to in January 2006.  In her new position, Blanton assists in strengthening and furthering IRI’s partnerships to better reflect the international democracy promotion environment.  She helps oversee the strategic assessment of IRI’s programs and leads IRI’s involvement in multilateral institutions.  She is also engaged in special initiatives, such as projects on information technology and democracy programming.  Before joining IRI, Blanton served as Deputy Policy Director for the U.S. House of Representative Rules Committee, working on trade and foreign relations policy issues.  She also served as a professional staff member for the House Rules Committee and as a Legislative Aide.  A graduate of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, Blanton has a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Broomell is a veteran IRI staffer, having worked for the Institute in various positions for more than 10 years.  Broomell has served as Resident Country Director for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and as Resident Program Officer in Bucharest, Romania and has worked extensively in IRI’s Eurasia division.  Most recently, Broomell served as Deputy Director of the Women’s Democracy Network.  As Deputy Director for Middle East and North Africa, Broomell oversees programs in Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Oman, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and West Bank/Gaza.  In addition to her experience with IRI, Broomell served in the Administration of President George W. Bush as Confidential Assistant in the Office of the Director of the U.S. Peace Corps.  Broomell holds a bachelor’s degree in Russian and international studies from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and completed the American University’s Campaign Management School.

Fagan first joined IRI in 1995 in the Eurasia division, where he worked as Program Officer for Georgia and Azerbaijan.  He later served overseas as IRI’s Resident Program Director for Kenya from 2002-2003 and as Resident Program Director for Zimbabwe from 2003-2005.  Fagan also served as the Acting Deputy Director for Africa programs from 2005-2006.  He most recently served as the Deputy Director for Latin America and Caribbean Programs before assuming the position of Director of the Africa division. Fagan holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs.

Lilley was appointed Director of the Office of Monitoring and Evaluation in February 2009.  In that position he oversees the development and writing of case studies that assess IRI’s work in political party building, civil society development and governance.  He also assists IRI’s regional divisions on program monitoring and impact evaluation initiatives.  From 2004 to 2007, Lilley served as IRI’s Resident Country Director in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic.  Prior to joining IRI, Lilley was a journalist writing for the Far Eastern Economic Review and Sports Illustrated.  He also taught English, history and economics at the Maret School in Washington, DC.  Lilley was a correspondent for Voice of America in 2003.  He is co-author of “China Hands: Nine Decades of Adventure, Espionage and Diplomacy in Asia” (Public Affairs, 2004). Lilley has a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a master’s degree with a specialization in economics and Soviet studies from The Johns Hopkins University, Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

Mastic joined IRI in September 1998 and helped IRI’s Middle East and North Africa division to become the Institute’s largest, with programs in 10 countries.  As Director, Mastic oversees programs in Afghanistan, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Oman, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and West Bank/Gaza.  Prior to being named Director, Mastic served as the division’s Deputy Director.  Prior to joining IRI, Mastic worked in the Ohio legislature first as an aide to State Representative Pat Tiberi and later served the Chairmen of the Ohio Senate Finance and Economic Development committees.  Mastic holds a masters of arts from The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and a bachelor degree from The Ohio State University.  He attended the American University in Cairo and participated in Middlebury College’s intensive Arabic language program.

Mufford joined IRI in March 2007 as a Program Officer working on governance programs in Iraq.  Overseeing activities working with the Iraqi Council of Representatives, Mufford helped develop research and media offices within the Parliament.  As Deputy Director of Asia, she oversees programs in Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, North Korea and Timor-Leste.  Before joining IRI, Mufford spent eight years working in the U.S. House of Representatives, primarily for former Rep.  Tom Reynolds (NY-26).  Mufford spent nearly four years as Legislative Director developing policy expertise in the areas of international relations, health care, trade and financial services.  Mufford holds a master’s in science in comparative politics from the London School of Economics.

Shearer joined IRI in July 2005 as the Deputy Director for Asia, overseeing programs in Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, North Korea and Timor-Leste.  Prior to joining IRI, Shearer worked in the U.S. Department of State’s Office of European Union and Regional Affairs.  During her time at the State Department, Shearer also served on three short-term overseas tours with the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan, The Netherlands and Georgia.  As Deputy Director for Latin American and Caribbean Programs she will oversee IRI’s programs in Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Venezuela.  Shearer holds a bachelor’s in Political Science from LaSalle University and is a former Presidential Management Fellow and is a lawyer admitted to the Maryland Bar.

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