Lagon has served as chair of global politics and security at Georgetown’s Master of Science in Foreign Service Program for the past four years and is a former U.S. ambassador at-large and deputy assistant secretary at the State Department, where he headed the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. He was also executive director and CEO of the leading anti-human trafficking nonprofit, Polaris Project, and he is the author of numerous articles on international affairs and co-editor of the recently released book “Human Dignity and the Future of Global Institutions.” At Freedom House, Lagon will succeed David J. Kramer, who has served as president since 2010.
“Democracy promotion has become associated with the Iraq intervention,” he lamented. “I think it’s essential for the United States to choose the middle option…. Sometimes we’re going to need to assist armed opposition or even use military force, but there is a moral duty — and even more of an interest for the United States — among those who wish to fight nonviolently with civil resistance to open their countries and try to get their governments to reform.”
“We need to try and help civil society actors try to help themselves,” he said. “We shouldn’t be depressed by the disinformation put out by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin or the stalling of the Arab Spring,” he said. “There is a great opportunity for the United States and international associations like Freedom House to help those who want to help themselves.”
About the Author
Michael Coleman is a contributing writer for The Washington Diplomat.