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Laura Thornton is director and senior fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund. Prior to joining ASD, Thornton was director of global programs at International IDEA, a Stockholm-based intergovernmental think and do tank with the mission to advance democracy. She managed multiple teams across Europe focused on constitution-building, parliamentary process, elections, gender and inclusion, political parties, and democracy assessment and analysis. In this role she managed the Institute’s Global State of Democracy products, including a COVID-19 monitor tracking the impact of pandemic responses on democracy and human rights.

Thornton also worked at the National Democratic Institute for more than 20 years, serving in leadership positions across Asia (Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka) and in the country Georgia. She has written extensively about political party development, political finance and corruption, elections, and disinformation and has led multiple election observation missions across the globe. Thornton did her graduate work at Princeton University and Oxford University, and she earned her BA from Northwestern University.

Media Mentions

Why are people so surprised that this kind of widespread disinformation can be so effective in Russia when it was so effective here?
That is exactly why the Summit for Democracy is so important. We need to keep in mind that autocrats are having their own summits. They're exchanging lessons learned along with surveillance technology and other methods of coercion. So we really have a job ahead of us to defend our democracies.
If this occurred in any of the countries where the United States provides aid, it would immediately be called out as a threat to democracy. U.S. diplomats would be writing furious cables, and decision makers would be threatening to cut off the flow of assistance.