President, National Democratic Institute
The appointment of Derek Mitchell as the National Democratic Institute's third president is a homecoming. Beginning in September 2018, he returned to NDI just over two decades after he departed the Institute in 1997, at the conclusion of nearly four years as Senior Program Officer for Asia and the former Soviet Union.
Since that time, Mitchell has had a distinguished career in and out of the U.S. government, in which he has witnessed the connection between democracy and international security.
From 2012–16, Mitchell served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma). He was America’s first ambassador to the country in 22 years. From 2011–12, he served as the U.S. Department of State’s first Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma, with the rank of ambassador.
Prior to this appointment, Mitchell served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Asian and Pacific Security Affairs (APSA), in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In that capacity, he spent six months as acting APSA Assistant Secretary of Defense, and was responsible for overseeing the Defense Department’s security policy in Northeast, Southeast, South, and Central Asia. For his service, he received the Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Distinguished Public Service in August 2011.