Linda Stern is the director of Global Design, Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning (G-DMEL), and leads the Institute’s efforts to build an evidence base for democracy assistance programs; and promote evidence-based learning at NDI. On behalf of the Institute, Linda also leads the Fundamental Freedoms Fund - Research, Evaluation & Learning (FFF-REL) initiative, a consortium of evaluators from seven leading democracy and human rights organizations.
An applied anthropologist by training, Linda is an expert in action research methods and participatory evaluation. She joined the Institute in 2007 with over 20 years of experience in the social justice sector, working in the U.S., Latin America, Central & Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. Before joining NDI, Linda worked as an advocate for the rights of immigrants and political asylum seekers; managed a US congressional demonstration project on community-based coalition building for the Centers for Disease Control; and served as Catholic Relief Services' regional advocacy advisor for children’s rights to education in the Balkans and Caucasus from 1999 to 2004.
Linda’s own research includes ethnographic fieldwork in an Afro-Caribbean fishing village undergoing socio-economic and ecological stress from Nicaraguan refugee flows; and the emergence of indigenous women’s leadership organizations in rural refugee camps preparing for collective return to Guatemala from Southern Mexico. Linda has held joint positions at Georgetown University's Center for Social Justice and the Center for New Directions in Learning and Scholarship. She has also taught at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs (2009-2019) where she developed the schools' first graduate course in monitoring and evaluation. She has served on the Science and Human Rights Coalition committee at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and is on the Board of Directors for Evidence in Governance & Politics (EGAP), a cross-disciplinary network of researchers and practitioner united by a focus on experimental research and dedicated to generating and disseminating rigorous evidence on topics of governance, politics, and institutions.