John G. Tomaszewski (“JT”) is currently regional director for Africa at IRI where he leads and provides overall strategic guidance for IRI democracy and governance programs throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
A political parties and democratic governance specialist, Tomaszewski has worked on a range of programs focusing on political party and legislative strengthening, youth and gender inclusion, civil society development, civic education and local governance. He leads IRI’s current programming in Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Somalia/Somaliland, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Tomaszewski previously served as IRI’s Resident Program Director for East Africa (to include IRI’s program in Kenya and regional governance program covering the East African Community) from 2012 to 2015; Deputy Resident Country Director for Egypt from 2011 to 2012 and for Sudan/South Sudan from 2010 to 2011. As Resident Program Officer for Sudan/South Sudan from 2009 to 2010, he personally conducted hundreds of trainings and technical workshops for IRI’s political party, legislative and civil society partners.
Tomaszewski has supported the growth of and specific initiatives for the Women’s Democracy Network and Generation Democracy, IRI’s respective global women and youth initiatives, on the African continent. In his time with IRI, he participated in numerous election observation missions and program assessments including in Burundi, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somaliland, Tanzania, and Uganda. Tomaszewski has guest lectured for IRI at American University’s Campaign Management Institute and for the U.S. Foreign Service Institute’s Political/Economic Tradecraft course. He has also has testified before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations on “Democracy Support Strategies in Africa” in May 2016.
Prior to joining IRI, Tomaszewski solidified his position as a proven communications practitioner in the Crisis and Litigation Practice at LEVICK Strategic Communications in Washington, D.C. While there, he managed a range of crisis communications, reputation management, and grassroots and public affairs projects for LEVICK’s domestic and international clients. Tomaszewski built the foundation for his communications and political experience on Capitol Hill, where he worked for nearly five years as a public affairs and legislative policy professional for two Members of Congress – U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) and U.S. Rep. Gus M. Bilirakis (R-FL). He served as a Legislative Assistant and Communications Director for both Congressmen. Tomaszewski also acted as a key communications advisor for their individual congressional campaigns. Tomaszewski holds a master’s degree in Central and Eastern European studies from Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland and a bachelor’s degree from Ramapo College in New Jersey.