While in graduate school for international development, Carmen Lane Conley was surprised to learn there was an emerging field of international democracy assistance, where she could apply her practical U.S. political experience in campaigns to her development studies. Thus began her five-year career with the National Democratic Institute where she played a supporting role in historic democratic transitions in South Africa, Malawi, and Mozambique, and in the peace process in Angola.

“Of the many great things about working for DAI is the great sense of team work, the ability to work across technical areas, and the opportunity to work long-term in the field and bring that knowledge and expertise back to the home office.” — Carmen Conley

After working on elections, on political party training, and with parliament, she focused on legislative strengthening and continued related research on cross-donor best practices for the United Nations Development Programme in New York. She carried that expertise to DAI in 2003, and has since helped build a premier practice in the area. In addition to legislative strengthening, Carmen helped build new business and manage projects in areas as diverse as local governance, anticorruption, public administration, and civil society, particularly in post-conflict environments. While her first love is Africa, she has travelled to four continents with DAI and particularly enjoyed her time in Pakistan as the Chief of Party for the Pakistan Legislative Strengthening Project. In early 2012, Carmen was named the Managing Director of Governance, where she is able to draw upon her multiple areas of technical expertise and geographic experience.



Joe Abah

As Country Director for Nigeria, Joe Abah provides technical and strategic inputs to DAI’s existing portfolio of projects, in addition to supporting business development initiatives.

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