Board of Directors
Dedication. Expertise. Passion.
The Democracy Council operates with a collaborative, people-centered approach to the highest level of standards, ethics and accountability. Our team is made up of leading specialists from a broad range of backgrounds and practical experience from law, accounting, and government to humanitarian relief and civil society activists.
Meet The Team
Jim Prince has been president since co-founding the Democracy Council in 2000, except for 2019-2021. A frequent speaker, Jim’s work on reform and stabilization projects has been widely covered in the national and international press, including a feature on CBS’s 60 Minutes, and served as the genesis for a series of international mystery novels. His articles have appeared in: the Christian Science Monitor, Conflict Studies, Journal of Current Affairs, Daily Star, Forbes, Forward, The Hill, Houston Chronicle, Jerusalem Post, LA Daily News, Newsday, SF Chronicle, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Times. Prior to starting the Democracy Council, Jim was a Director with PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Financial Advisory Services, where he developed engagements in the US and the Middle East. Jim’s governmental experience includes serving as a professional staff member for the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere and participated in multi-national electoral missions in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Iraq, Palestinian Authority, and South Africa. He was a New Generation Fellow with the American Assembly, and testified as an expert witness in front of the House U.S. Foreign Relations Committee. Jim Prince received a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA, a M.A. from George Washington University, and studied at the American University in Cairo, Egypt.
Joshua Gordon is the senior vice president of the Democracy Council and CEO of Global Direct Telecom, an international carrier and consulting firm. Josh was previously Vice President and Managing Director for Verestar, Inc., an American Tower company (NYSE: AMT), and Director of Strategic Networks for Justice Telecom. Besides his work in the field of international telecommunications, Josh was a Degree Fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii where he specialized in tracking democracy, freedom of information and media censorship in East and Southeast Asia. Prior to his tenure at the East-West Center, Josh was Programs Manager and Press Officer at Freedom House in New York and in Washington, D.C., where he administered projects aimed at monitoring and promoting democratization in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, Iraq, Cuba and elsewhere. Josh’s commentary on democracy and telecommunication issues has appeared in various publications including The Asian Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, and The International Herald-Tribune. Josh graduated Magna Cum Laude from Williams College, earned a M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii-Manoa and received a JD from Harvard Law School.
Angela Hawken, Ph.D., is a Professor of Public Policy and Director of the NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management. She is the founding director of NYU’s BetaGov, which supports innovation-and-testing for social good. Her team of research and practice scholars, along with a growing cadre of NYU graduate students, works closely with state and local agencies, schools, and nonprofits across 32 states and six countries in developing and testing practices, policies, and new technologies. She directs a community-supervision resource center for the US Department of Justice and the NYU Opioid Collaborative, which works with justice agencies in six states on designing, implementing, and testing responses to the opioid crisis. Most recently, her team is helping prosecutors to harness their own data for equitable decisionmaking, through analysis and decision-support tools. Prior to joining NYU, she was a Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University, a Research Economist at UCLA, and an Associate Policy Analyst at the RAND Corporation. For the US Department of State, she trained mid-career civil servants in Georgia on policy analysis, and for UNDP, she developed cross-country measurement instruments on corruption and gender inequality for Human Development Reports. In Afghanistan, she had a central role in developing a corruption-monitoring system, also for UNDP. She has a B.S. and an Honours degree in Economics from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Ph.D. in Policy Analysis from the RAND Graduate School.
A Professor of Law at the Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America, Marshall Breger has served as a Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, Solicitor of Labor, the chief lawyer of the Labor Department, and Acting Assistant Secretary for Labor Management Standards. Additionally, Marshall has acted as the Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States, an independent federal agency, the Alternate Delegate of the U.S. to the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva, and Special Assistant to President Reagan and his liaison to the Jewish Community. Marshall is a contributing columnist to Moment magazine. He also has published work in periodicals such as the Middle East Quarterly, The National Interest, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. Dr. Breger is the editor of The Vatican-Israel Accord: Legal, Political, and Theological Issues (Notre Dame University Press, 2004); Public Policy and Social Issues: Jewish Sources and Perspectives (Praeger, 2003); and Jerusalem: A City and Its Future (with Ora Ahimeir) (Syracuse University Press, 2002). Marshall along with Thomas A. Idinopulos are the co-authors of Jerusalem’s Holy Places and the Peace Process (Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1998); and co-editor with David M. Gordis, of Vouchers for School Choice: Challenge or Opportunity? An American Jewish Reappraisal, (Wilstein Institute of Jewish Policy Studies, 1998). Marshall holds a B.A. and an M.A from the University of Pennsylvania, a B.Phil. from Oriel College, Oxford University; and a J.D., magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Marshall J. Breger
Michael Mahdesian is Chairman of the Board of Servicon, the leading facilities maintenance contractor servicing the aerospace, industrial, hi-tech, and commercial sectors in the American south-west. Prior to rejoining Servicon, Michael worked for seven years as a Presidential Appointee in Washington, D.C., where he served as Deputy for the Bureau of Humanitarian Response at the State Department. During this period, he was integrally involved in the U.S. response to crises in Haiti, Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, Indonesia and other trouble spots around the world. Michael led the first assessment team to the Democratic Republic of Congo after the fall of Mobutu, and helped shape the U.S. assistance program there. He also served on USAID’s Bosnia Task Force as coordinator of the Humanitarian and transition programs for Bosnia. Michael received a B.A. from the University of Southern California, and a M.A. from UCLA’s School of Urban Planning. He is now on the Los Angeles Planning Commission, Board of Advisors of UCLA’s School of Public Policy, and is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy.