Kristina Wilfore has worked as an agent of change in 30 countries throughout Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East and Africa — in hotspots such as Ukraine, Turkey, Russia, Syria, Afghanistan and Kenya. As an advocate for democracy, she has designed and implemented large-scale election integrity, political party, and civil society programs funded by USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy and countries around the globe active in the international development field. Kristina strongly believes that grassroots movements coupled with strong strategic communication are at the heart of social and political transformations, and utilizes her expertise in fighting disinformation, public opinion research and people-to-people organizing to foment change.
Kristina recently joined the faculty of George Washington University’s Elliott School of Public Affairs to teach the Capstone course, where graduate students conduct in-depth policy analysis, often involving field-research trips to foreign countries, and present policy recommendations to some of the most prestigious institutions in Washington, DC.
When serving as Resident Director of Ukraine for the National Democratic Institute, the Kyiv Post awarded her ‘Expat of the Year’ for her work to defend democracy in Ukraine in the lead up to the Revolution for Dignity. Until 2018 she was Chief of Party for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems in Kenya, overseeing a $20 million election integrity program where she has the opportunity to design behavioral-based campaigns against disinformation and to interrupt election-triggered violence.
During this period, Kristina supported campaign innovations in Western Europe throughout Sweden, Spain, Finland and the Netherlands to improve direct voter contact strategies for the European Parliament campaign – and has built a broad international network of global experts and decisionmakers for cross country learning and collaboration.
In 2018 she helped found the Transatlantic Progressive Campaign Committee, an exchange and networking group for center-left campaign strategists and elected officials in North America and Europe. For several years she served as the Conference Chair for the European Association of Political Consultants where she brought political consultants and politicians from over 30 countries together each year to address the latest trends in the polarization of politics and the rise of populism across the globe. In 2015 she was elected to the board of the International Association of Political Consultants where she co-chaired the annual Democracy Medal, the longest standing democracy award in the world with the first award given to Lech Walesa, a Polish Solidarity leader in 1982.
Kristina is also a fellow with the Truman Project for National Security, which is committed to shaping and advocating for tough, smart national security solutions and is part of the Transatlantic Democracy Working Group, a bipartisan and transatlantic platform for discourse and coordination to address democratic backsliding in Europe. Given her commitment to supporting women’s political leadership, she is also a founding board member of Global Gain, a new 501 c3 formed to build a global network of women change-makers.
With roots in US activism, Kristina was the first Executive Director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center (BISC), which was awarded “The Most Valuable Think Tank” by The Nation magazine in 2009. Starting with just $20,000 in the bank she built BISC into a powerhouse of direct democracy, with a massive expansion of budget and influence. She was a strategist on hundreds of referendum campaigns covering the most controversial issues in American politics with budgets ranging from $250,000 to $25 million.
Kristina holds a Master in Public Administration with honors from the University of Washington and degrees in journalism and political science from Washington State University. She is originally from Montana where at age 14 she started began her activist career by organizing a letter to the editor campaign to support Planned Parenthood after a clinic in the state was bombed by anti-choice extremists.
After 10 years living in five different countries, traveling and working out of a suitcase, Kristina returned to the United States to help defend American democracy against internal attacks. She and her husband recently started PeraEats in Washington, DC to bring the food and flavors of a southeast Kurdish kitchen to nation’s capital. where heated words and political debate are better had with a full stomach.
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