Stephanie Palen is IRI’s deputy director for Eurasia. As the deputy director, she oversees the implementation of a diverse range of projects across Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia supporting political parties, elections and electoral processes, good governance at all levels of government, youth leadership and women’s political participation as well as civil society strengthening and civic participation.    

Palen joined IRI in 2015 managing the Institute’s programming in Moldova and Belarus supporting political parties and movements, voter education, get-out-the-vote efforts and political engagement of diaspora communities. She also managed the Eurasia Division’s Baltic-Eurasia Interparliamentary Training Institute parliamentary exchange program—working with delegations from Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia. An expert in grant management and implementation, Palen later served as Senior Program Manager for the Eurasia Division—providing oversight and guidance for programming throughout the Eurasia region. She has observed elections in Georgia and Ukraine.       

Recognized as a leader in political party programming at IRI, Palen serves as the co-chair for the Political Parties Community of Practice where she leads in the development of an institutional approach to political party assistance programming and shares information, lessons learned and best practices for supporting inclusive, participatory multi-party political systems.    

Prior to joining IRI, Palen worked at the Atlantic Council as Special Assistant to the Executive Vice President, where she provided support for Eastern European programming with a focus on the EU’s Eastern Partnership countries as well as support for high-level visiting delegations. Palen is a proud Chicago native and a graduate of Northwestern University. She holds a Master of Arts in Democracy and Governance from Georgetown University. Palen is also a graduate of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale.

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