Chris Holzen has worked in politics and advocacy for more than three decades. He currently serves as Senior Advisor for IRI, providing strategic guidance to the Europe, Eurasia, and Transatlantic Divisions. Holzen has worked for IRI in more than two dozen countries assisting political party activists, grassroots campaign organizers, and civil society organizations to increase their ability to participate in democratic processes effectively. 

Beginning in 1994 in Kyrgyzstan, he has extensive experience managing large-scale programs in new and transitioning democracies, including more than a decade as IRI’s country director in Ukraine. He also served as the deputy director for the Asia & Middle East division, resident country director in Iraq, and IRI’s Special Representative to the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade during that country’s presidency of the Community of Democracies. From 2013-2018, Holzen directed the IRI office in Warsaw, overseeing the Institute’s Russia program. He has observed elections in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Croatia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Russian, Taiwan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Before joining IRI, he served as the director for the office of public affairs for the county government in Knoxville, Tennessee. He managed multiple political campaigns at the state and regional levels and served as a field operations manager in New Hampshire for the 2008 presidential campaign of U.S. Senator John McCain. Holzen attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  

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