Advisory Board

Legends in the fields of democracy and governance, our advisors are a wealth of wisdom.

faculty & fellows            administration           current students


Shari K. Bryan, Vice President, National Democratic Institute

Shari Bryan is NDI’s vice president. She joined NDI in 1998 and served as senior associate and regional director of the Institute’s democratic programs in Southern and East Africa from 2001 through early 2008. Ms. Bryan has been actively involved in law, international development, and foreign affairs since 1998 and has travelled extensively throughout the world. She has conducted assessments or mission to more than 30 countries during her tenure at NDI, and played a key role promoting democratic assistance programs in Africa; conceptualizing and organizing projects on political party finance; governance and HIV/AIDS; and increasing the role of legislatures in overseeing the extractive industries. Ms. Bryan is a guest and commentator for many major news outlets including CNN and the BBC, has testified before the U.S. Congress, and has presented papers before a variety of organizations. Before joining NDI, Ms. Bryan served as an attorney in the former UN Trust Territory of Palau, where she worked on negotiating the Compact for Free Association in 2004. She also worked as an attorney for the United States government and served with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

She has co-authored Money in Politics – A Study of Party Financing Practices in 22 Countries, published in 2005, and Transparency and Accountability in Africa’s Extractive Industries: The Role of the Legislature, published in 2007.


Thomas Carothers, Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Carothers is a leading authority on international support for democracy, rights, and governance and on comparative democratization as well as an expert on U.S. foreign policy. He has worked on democracy-assistance projects for many public and private organizations and carried out extensive field research on international aid efforts around the world. In addition, he has broad experience in matters dealing with human rights, the rule of law, civil society building, and think tank development in transitional and developing countries. He is the founder and director of the Democracy and Rule of Law Program and overseas Carnegie Europe in Brussels.

He is the author of six critically acclaimed books as well as many articles in prominent journals and newspapers. Carothers is the co-author (with Diane de Gramont) of Development Aid Confronts Politics: The Almost Revolution (Carnegie, 2013) and author of Confronting the Weakest Link: Aiding Political Parties in New Democracies (Carnegie, 2006); Promoting the Rule of Law Abroad: In Search of Knowledge (Carnegie, 2006); Uncharted Journey: Promoting Democracy in the Middle East, co-edited with Marina Ottaway (Carnegie, 2005); Critical Mission: Essays on Democracy Promotion (Carnegie, 2004); Funding Virtue: Civil Society Aid and Democracy Promotion, co-edited with Marina Ottaway (Carnegie, 2000); Aiding Democracy Abroad: The Learning Curve (Carnegie, 1999); and Assessing Democracy Assistance: The Case of Romania (Carnegie, 1996).


Beatriz C. Casals, Former CEO, Casals & Associates

Beatriz “Bea” C. Casals is founder and former CEO of Casals & Associates, a woman/minority owned international development and strategic communications firm. In 1986 it grew into a profitable mid-sized enterprise with more than 300 employees and a U.S. federal government contract portfolio with a maximum value exceeding $3 billion, In 2010, she sold the firm to a premier publicly traded company with more than 20,000 employees. Among her specialties are corporate governance, strategy development, international management, monitoring and evaluation, international health, and nonprofit leadership. She is currently a Senior Advisor at the International Resources Group.

The ultimate problem solver, strategic thinker, innovator, and communicator, Bea is respected internationally for her integrity and well documented results. Her passion is accountability at all levels. She believes ongoing performance monitoring and program evaluation not only prevent crises, they also ensure organizations are able to routinely exceed expectations. Bea’s previous clients include the Brookings Institute, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, Inter-American Development Bank, Pan American Health Organization, Transparency International, UNDP, VISA, and the World Bank. She has worked with over a dozen U.S. federal government agencies including the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


Larry Cooley, President, Management Systems International

Mr. Cooley founded MSI, now a part of Coffey International Development, in 1981. He is a specialist in strategic management, public sector performance and organizational development. He has served as an advisor to cabinet officials in federal agencies and in more than a dozen countries. For 15 years, he was the Chairperson of the American Society of Public Administration’s Development Management Network and received its National Award for Training Excellence. He directed USAID’s Implementing Policy Change program that assisted governments worldwide and, beginning in 2006, oversaw a 7-year effort to rebuild Iraqi public administration. He previously worked at the World Bank, UNDP and as a Peace Corps volunteer.

He was elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration in 2008 and, in 2011, was elected to serve as the North American representative on the Governing Council of the Society for International Development (SID). He serves on the Executive Committee of the Professional Services Council, on the Advisory Board of Elma Philanthropies, and as a Trustee of World Learning. Mr. Cooley holds a master’s in Economics from Columbia University, MPA in Public Policy from Princeton, and an M. Phil. in Management from the UK’s Cranfield School of Management.


Ambassador Donald J. Planty, President, Planty & Associates

Ambassador Planty is former U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala and has nearly 40 years of experience in the public and private sectors. He is an expert on Latin American affairs and European security issues, drawing on his experience living and working in Panama, Chile, Mexico, Norway, Italy and Spain. As Ambassador to Guatemala, he was instrumental in facilitating the historic 1996 Peace Accords, which ended four decades of internal conflict in that country. He is currently President of Planty & Associates LLC, a consulting firm, and was a co-founder of Port Security International, a homeland security solutions firm. Previously, he was Senior Managing Director at ManattJones Global Strategies, an international consulting firm in Washington, DC.

Prior to that, he was Chairman of the Board of the Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production and served as the Executive Director of Caribbean/Latin American Action (C/LAA), a non-profit organization promoting U.S. trade and investment in Latin America and the Caribbean. Mr. Planty’s previous diplomatic roles included: Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Oslo, Norway; Counselor for Political-Military Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain; Minister-Counselor of the U.S. Embassy in Norway; and Deputy Personal Representative of the President and then Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See. Mr. Planty is considered one of the foremost experts on Spain and one of the most experienced base rights negotiators, and was awarded the U.S. State Department’s Superior Honor Award for his work on the Treaty of Friendship, Defense and Cooperation between the U.S. and Spain.

Prior to his diplomatic service overseas, Mr. Planty served as legislative management officer in the Bureau of Congressional Relations at the U.S. Department of State, staff assistant for operations in the Executive Office of the State Department, and legislative assistant to Senator John Chafee of Rhode Island. Mr. Planty earned his A.B. at Fordham University, his M.A. in Political Science from the University of New Mexico and studied at the Catholic University of Chile. He speaks Spanish and Italian.