Aaron Azelton serves as the National Democratic Institute’s director of citizen participation, inclusion and security programs. He is a civic engagement specialist who has helped to manage, design and implement inclusive political participation programs at NDI since 1992. In his current position, Mr. Azelton supports NDI initiatives by providing guidance on all aspects of community organizing, advocacy, government monitoring and nonprofit organizational development. He also guides the Institute's work to increase the political inclusion of marginalized communities and efforts to promote the peaceful resolution of conflict and citizen security. He frequently serves as a facilitator for civil society programs throughout the world. In this capacity, he has helped local organizations develop strategic outlooks, plan political actions, structure partnerships, and carry out internal reforms in more than 30 countries.
Mr. Azelton helped design NDI's Civic Forum, a unique approach to promoting civic action in developing societies. Civic Forum provides a foundation for informed citizen involvement in the public policymaking process through the organization of moderated discussions in conjunction with local civil society organizations. From 1997 to 1998, Mr. Azelton directed NDI's Civic Forum program in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He also developed and implemented the first NDI Civic Forum program in West Bank/Gaza in 1996. Additionally, he has provided technical leadership to aid agencies through research and written reports, and has taken part in numerous roundtables and work groups on civic education and civil society development topics.
Mr. Azelton has two children and enjoys outdoor activities and training pointing dogs.