DEMOCRACY GALA 2023 SPEAKERS
NDI Board Chair
Senator Daschle is the Founder and CEO of The Daschle Group, A Public Policy Advisory of Baker Donelson. Senator Daschle served his home state, South Dakota, in the Senate from 1987 to 2005. He is the only senator to have served twice as both Majority and Minority Leader. In addition, Senator Daschle is Chair of the Board of Directors at the Center for American Progress, Vice-Chair for the National Democratic Institute and a co-founder of the Bipartisan Policy Center. He is the author of Like No Other Time: The 107th Congress and the Two Years That Changed America Forever, Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis; Getting It Done: How Obama and Congress Finally Broke the Stalemate to Make Way for Health Care Reform and U.S. Senate: Fundamentals of American Government.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen
Presenting the Madeleine K. Albright Democracy Award
The first woman in U.S. history to be elected both a Governor and a United States Senator, New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen is a trailblazer with a reputation for working across the aisle to get things done. She has served in the Senate since 2009 and is a member of the Senate Committees on Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Appropriations, Small Business and Entrepreneurship and the Select Committee on Ethics.
NDI Board Member
Democracy Gala Emcee & Moderator
Stacey Abrams is a bestselling author, an entrepreneur, and a political leader. A tax attorney by training, she served eleven years in the Georgia House of Representatives, seven as Minority Leader. She has launched multiple organizations devoted to voting rights, training and hiring young people of color, and tackling social issues at the state, national, and international levels. She is the founder of Fair Fight, Fair Count, and the Southern Economic Advancement Project. A small business owner, she co-founded the financial services firm NOW Corp. and Sage Works Productions, Inc., a media company. She has received degrees from Spelman College, the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, and Yale Law School.
Presenting the Madeleine K. Albright Democracy Award
Alice P. Albright is the Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation where she provides strategic leadership and vision to the agency helping deliver on programmatic priorities. Ms. Albright has more than 30 years of international experience in the private, non-profit and public sectors.
Prior to MCC, Ms. Albright served as the CEO of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). As a political appointee of the Obama Administration, between 2009 and 2013, she was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank). Beforehand, she was the Chief Financial and Investment Officer for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI). Prior to working in international development and government, Ms. Albright was a banker focusing on emerging markets, working principally at J.P. Morgan.
Ms. Albright has served on two G7 Gender Equality Advisory Councils, appointed first by the President of France for the 2019 G7 and subsequently by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for the 2021 G7. Additionally, she has served on the Boards of Williams College and Mercersburg Academy.
Ms. Albright received her MIA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and her BA from Williams College. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Receiving the Madeleine K. Albright Democracy Award
on behalf of Vladimir Kara-Murza
Natalia Arno is a prominent fighter for the advancement of democracy, human rights and freedom. From 2004 to 2014, Natalia worked for the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Russia office. For her work in support of human rights and civil society in Russia, in 2012, she was given an ultimatum by Putin’s security services— to leave her homeland in 48 hours or face 20 years in prison on treason charges. In 2014, she created Free Russia Foundation (FRF) to serve as a platform for pro-democracy Russians. FRF provides support to civil societies of Russia and Belarus and has programs to assist Ukraine. FRF is a powerful global movement with centers in Washington, DC and Brussels; Kyiv, Ukraine; Tbilisi, Georgia; Warsaw, Poland; Berlin, Germany; Vilnius, Lithuania; Tallinn, Estonia, and Budva, Montenegro.
Executive Director, Chicago DNC Host Committee
Christy George is a dedicated public servant and problem solver. She joined Governor JB Pritzker’s Office in 2021 as First Assistant Deputy Governor for Budget and economy, leading the Governor’s business attraction and engagement efforts, workforce development priorities, crafting the Reimagining Energy & Vehicles (REV) Act, and overseeing the operations of multiple state agencies, boards, and commissions. Before joining the Governor’s Office, George served as the Executive Director of the Illinois Commerce Commission where she managed 200+ employees, the agency’s budget and operations, and the implementation of COVID-19 relief for utility ratepayers. Before that, George served in several roles at the City of Chicago, including Deputy Budget Director for Public Safety, Assistant Commissioner at the Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection, and Assistant Corporation Counsel in the Department of Law. George obtained her J.D. at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and her undergraduate degree from Ohio Wesleyan University. She currently lives in the Beverly-Morgan Park neighborhood of Chicago with her husband and daughters.
Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi
Dr. Gyimah-Boadi is co-founder and board chair of Afrobarometer (a pan-African, survey research network that provides reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life). He is also co-founder and former executive director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, a leading independent democracy and good governance think tank in Accra, Ghana.
A former professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Ghana, he has held faculty positions at universities in the United States, including the American University School of International Service, and fellowships at the Center for Democracy, Rule of Law and Development (Stanford University); the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; and the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy.
A graduate of the University of California (Davis) and University of Ghana (Legon), Gyimah-Boadi is a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) and the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. For his contributions to research and policy advocacy on democracy, accountable governance and human rights in Africa, he has won a myriad of awards, including the Distinguished Africanist of the Year of the African Studies Association of US and Canada (2018); the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Peace and Social Justice (2017); and the Republic of Ghana’s highest national award, Order of Volta (2008).
Patricia Orantes is co-founder and two-time member of the National Executive
Committee of Movimiento Semilla, a social-democratic political party recently conformed
in Guatemala. This year, she was elected to Congress and will take office in January
2024. Her party won the presidential election this year, and president-elect Bernardo
Arévalo will also take office next January.
From 2004 to 2006 she served as Technical Secretary of the Social Cabinet, and was
then appointed as Secretary General of Planning, a cabinet level position she held from
2006 to 2008. For her government service she was awarded the Order of the Civil Merit
by King Juan Carlos of Spain.
Her extensive professional journey includes serving as the Director of the Climate,
Nature, and Communities Program at Rainforest Alliance, where she implemented a
$25 million climate initiative funded by USAID. Patricia Orantes is a biologist and holds
an M.A. in Development and Environmental Policy from Duke University.