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Eight EPD members sit on the Board of Directors, elected at the Annual General Meeting. The European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA) currently holds the Presidency, with the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD) in the Vice-President position and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) holding the Treasurer role.
Antonella Valmorbida



Antonella Valmorbida is the Secretary General of ALDA since 1999, President of the European Partnership for Democracy (EPD) and Member of the Advisory Board of Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development, Armenia. She has a senior experience in promoting local democracy, empowerment and participation of civil society, and good governance in: Europe, the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean sea. She has been Chair of the EPAN working group of CONCORD until 2016, Chair of the Committee on Democracy and Civil Society of the Conference of the INGO of the Council of Europe from 2008 to 2011, and was the coordinator of the subgroup on local government and public administration reform of the Civil Society Forum for Eastern Partnership. Thanks to her work and her engagement in networks, she accompanied and supported the development of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the principle of their “localisation”. In fact, she has worked as a consultant and trainer for major programmes of UNPD and the European Commission on local governance, democracy, local authorities and civil society empowerment.

Thijs Berman

Vice President


Thijs Berman has been Executive Director of NIMD since January 2019. He has more than 30 years of experience in media, politics, and international development. Mr. Berman began his career as a journalist working as a radio correspondent in Paris and Moscow, working for several prominent Dutch radio stations, television channels and print publications. He then became a Member of the European Parliament for the Dutch Labour Party, as well as taking up the role of Chair of the Dutch social democratic delegation in Brussels. As an MEP he was a member of several committees, including on Development Cooperation and the Subcommittee on Human Rights. Mr. Berman has also headed several European election observation missions to Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Senegal, and worked as team leader of a European election support programme in the Central African Republic. In the two years before joining NIMD, Thijs worked as the Principal Advisor to the OSCE Representative of Freedom of the Media.

Anthony Smith



Anthony Smith has been Chief Executive of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy since August 2014.  He was previously International Relations Director in the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and Europe Director in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).  Anthony’s career began in 1986 as a diplomat in the FCO, where his roles focused on EU and wider European issues including trade policy, the Balkans, Common Foreign and Security Policy, Eastern Europe and Cyprus.  In 1996, Anthony moved to DFID where he worked on Environment Policy, EU development policy, Southern Africa, and multilateral affairs including the UN, OECD, G7/8 and the G20.  He was also Private Secretary to the Development Minister.  Anthony was born in Jamaica, studied law at Warwick University and speaks French and Spanish in addition to English.  Anthony is a member of the British Foreign Secretary’s Advisory Group on Human Rights.

María Elena Agüero

Club de Madrid

Ms. Agüero joined the Club de Madrid in 2003 and has since held the positions of Director of Special Projects, Director of Institutional Relations and of Deputy Secretary General until she was selected to become Secretary General of the Club de Madrid in 2016. Early in her career Ms. Agüero worked in the Rockefeller Commission on Critical Choices for Americans as research assistant at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. She was also trade policy officer at the U.S. Department of Treasury during the Tokyo Round of GATT negotiations. Ms. Agüero has over 35 years of international experience in economic development, social cohesion, governance, institutional strengthening and democracy support, particularly in Latin America. As project officer, sector specialist and senior advisor in the Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations Development Program, she worked in these organisations’ Washington, Uruguay, Brussels and Paris offices, leading projects and programmes implemented in partnership with other international organisations, governmental and non-governmental organisations, at both the national, regional and international levels. 

Alan Dreanic


Alan Dreanic is the Deputy General-Director of CFI since 2019. He has been active for more than 20 years in the field of development aid and the promotion of good governance and the media. He was Permanent Delegate to the European Union for the International Federation for Human Rights – FIDH- in Brussels (2002-2004). He then joined the European Commission/Europeaid for which he was Programme Manager for the ”European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights”, then Country Manager for Iran (2004-2008). Back in France, he held various management positions within the French international technical expertise agency ”Expertise France” (subsidiary of the French Development Agency) and its predecessor agencies. He was Deputy Head of the Financial Affairs and Project Management Department, Head of Multilateral Financing Research, Director of Operations and Development of ”France International Expertise” (2010-2014) and Director of the Democratic Governance and Human Rights Department of Expertise France (2015-2018). In parallel, he was an evaluator of funding proposals on human rights for the European Commission and he also worked for the UNHCR as an associate judge at the National Court of Asylum (2016-2018).

Gary Klaukka

Demo Finland

Gary Klaukka has been the Executive Director (Acting) of Demo Finland since May 2021. Gary has diverse previous experience from the democracy development sector: he has worked in the political parties unit at International IDEA in Stockholm, as the head of public outreach and interim head of programmes at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) in London and headed the political parties programme at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Myanmar. Prior to working in the democracy development sector, Gary worked in a range of political advisory roles in the United Kingdom. These included serving as a political adviser for the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords and as political adviser for the leader of Brighton and Hove city council. Gary also worked as chief of staff at a consultancy company working on market-based solutions for development in Mumbai, India. Gary was born in Finland, studied American Studies and Politics at the University of Sussex for his undergraduate degree and Politics, Security and Integration at University College London for his master’s degree. He speaks English, Finnish, Swedish, German, French and basic Russian.

Kirsten Meijer


Kirsten Meijer is the Executive Director of the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, joining the organisation per 15 February 2022. Kirsten brings with her more than 20 years of experience in non-profit management, political strategy and policy development, as well as communications and campaigning. She has a special connection to the region and the work of the NHC, having started her career at Foundation Max van der Stoel, where she coordinated projects on democratisation in Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans, the Southern Caucasus and MENA region. Prior to taking on this role at the NHC, Kirsten was Director of Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) International, an NGO that works towards a gender just and healthy environment in over 50 countries, and with more than 150 partners across the globe. Before WECF, she was the International Secretary for the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) for more than 6 years. 

Michael Meyer-Resende


Michael Meyer-Resende is and experienced democracy expert  and DRI’s Executive Director. He was one of DRI’s co-founders, . In this role, he is in charge of strategic leadership and overall management of the organisation with the Executive Team. Michael has been working in international relations, diplomacy, media and democracy support for more than 20 years, including at the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the European Union and the BBC. He worked in 50 countries, published numerous briefing papers and reports and regularly writes for media, such as The Guardian, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, EUObserver and for think tanks, such as Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, International Relations Democracy, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s), Civil Society and International Law.

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