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Marjan H. Ehsassi

Marjan H. Ehsassi is the Executive Director of the Federation for Innovation in Democracy North America. She is also a Future of Democracy Fellow (non-resident) at the Berggruen Institute and a Senior Innovations Fellow at the Institute for Democratic Engagement and Accountability (IDEA at OSU). She is a skilled advocate, strategic policy advisor, and movement builder. She is a fierce believer in the integrity of citizens’ voices: the potential of citizen engagement, inclusiveness, and impactful government-led deliberative innovations to promote democratic renewal.

A lawyer, Marjan has worked to enhance space for civil society in some of the most complex environments, including Cuba, Iran, and North Korea. She completed her Doctorate in International Affairs (DIA) at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) with a concentration on democratic innovations, deliberative democracy and citizens’ assemblies.

She has been a researcher on several citizens’ assemblies in France, Belgium, Canada, and the US, and recently served as one of four guarantors of the French Citizens’ Convention on the End of Life and on the Oversight Committee of the G1000 We Need to Talk Citizens’ Panels. She sits on several boards, including Healthy Democracy, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), IPEC (AFSC’s International Programs Executive Council), the Meridian Council, and is an active member of Democracy R&D and the OECD’s Innovative Citizen Participation Network.

Marjan is working on her first book, Activated Citizenship, about the transformative potential of Citizens’ Assemblies (to be published in the summer of 2024).