Speaker BIO

Laura Thornton is director and senior fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD) at the German Marshall Fund. With offices in D.C. and Brussels, ASD’s mission is to deter, defend against, and raise the costs of autocratic interference in democracy by building expertise across the pillars of information operations, cyber, elections, malign finance, civil society subversion, and emerging technology.

Prior to joining ASD, Thornton was director of global programmes 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 processes, 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 served 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 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 earned her BA from Northwestern University.