Thomas O. Melia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Thomas O. Melia (born 28 May 1957 in Frankfurt, Germany) is Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, at the United States Department of State. Melia's portfolio includes Europe, South and Central Asia, the Middle East, and international labor rights.

Previously, Melia was Deputy Executive Director of Freedom House, the centrist bipartisan human rights organization launched in 1941 by Eleanor Roosevelt and others.

Background[edit]

Over a twenty-five-year career, Thomas O. Melia has been a key actor in the development of policies to strengthen democratic governance around the world as an NGO leader, writer, university professor, and activist. He is recognized by the mainstream media as an expert in foreign policy matters and is credited with coining several resonant phrases to describe the state of democracy and democracy promotion. The Washington Post recently published an interview with Melia noting that he "promotes democracy in the most unlikely places." [1][2]

He has held senior positions at Freedom House, the National Democratic Institute, and the Free Trade Union Institute of the AFL-CIO (now the Solidarity Center) and has taught at Master's programs at Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

As Deputy Assistant Secretary, Melia has testified multiple times before Congress. Melia regularly meets with civil society groups and conducts interviews with journalists, including an interview with Hungary’s Magyar Nemzet Newspaper in May 2012.

His most recent publications include a chapter entitled "Supporting Democracy Abroad: Transatlantic Cooperation at the Crossroads" appearing in the book Shoulder to Shoulder: Forging a Strategic US EU Partnership,[3] and a review of the Handbook of National Legislatures: A Global Survey, by M. Steven Fish and Matthew Kroenig entitled "What Makes Legislatures Strong" appearing in the Journal of Democracy in April 2010.[4]

Professional career[edit]

As Deputy Executive Director of Freedom House, Thomas O. Melia oversaw a wide range of advocacy efforts, analysis, and programs to assist human rights defenders and civic activists in non-democratic countries. During his tenure at Freedom House, from 2005 - 2010, he testified before the United States Congress,[5] advised the Swedish government, and testified before two committees in the National Assembly of Hungary (2008).[6]

He has spoken at major conferences in Europe, Africa, and the US, published several articles, co-edited a major report on rights and freedoms in the U.S. entitled Today’s American: How Free and managed a variety of assistance programs in partnership with reform advocates in twenty-five countries. He was also principal author of the Freedom House guide to assisting human rights defenders.[7] He has traveled extensively to countries throughout Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Prior to joining Freedom House, Melia worked in the field of academic and professional research for five years, as a Senior Associate at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, Inc. from 2001–2002, Research Associate and Director of Research from 2002–2005 at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, and Adjunct Professor in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, where he taught graduate courses about democracy promotion (1999 - 2000). He taught multiple graduate-level courses in Georgetown’s Department of Democracy and Governance Studies and in the International Development program at Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies.

He supervised research projects conducted by diplomats and military officers from the US and abroad. At Georgetown, he was the principal investigator for reports on Congressional attitudes toward the State Department[8] and terrorism’s impact on diplomacy; he directed the first public opinion research conducted in post-Taliban Afghanistan (2002) and in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq (2003).[9]

Earlier, Melia served as NDI’s Vice President for Programs from 1998 to 2001, designing and overseeing programs in over forty countries in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, the Near East, and South Asia. During his twelve-year tenure at NDI he traveled extensively, building partnerships with democratic activists and guiding multinational training and election monitoring teams. From 1988–1993, he directed the Central and Eastern Europe Programs], bringing the Institute to the region before the fall of the Berlin Wall and through a period of significant democratic transition. From 1993–1996, he directed NDI’s Middle East Programs as well as the Institute’s Democratic Governance program.

Melia began his career as a research assistant to U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-New York) in 1980 and eventually became Senior Legislative Assistant for foreign and defense policy. He left in 1986 to become Associate Director of the Free Trade Union Institute of the AFL-CIO (now the Solidarity Center). As Associate Director, he represented the AFL-CIO regional institutes with the private and public sector and helped increase congressional support for the Institute’s advocacy of workers’ rights.

Foreign Policy Expertise[edit]

Melia has coined several resonant phrases about democracy support efforts and the parlous state of human rights in the world. In an article published Monday, 5 July 2010, Washington Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hyatt quoted Melia as characterizing the diminishing freedom in many countries worldwide as a “global political recession.”[10] According to author Eric Bjornlund in his 2004 book about election monitoring, Melia coined the phrase “democracy bureaucracy” in the mid-1990s to describe the proliferating community of agencies and NGOs inside and outside government involved in democracy promotion efforts.[11] Melia has subsequently published “The Democracy Bureaucracy” in The American Interest in 2006.[12]

In July 2009, following the arrest of then-genocide suspect Radovan Karadžić, in an interview on CNN Melia attributed this to the democratic transition in Serbia; stating, "The arrest of Karadzic shows that elections do matter. It’s no coincidence."[13] News outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post also turn to Melia to address issues, including President Barack Obama’s policy toward Russia[14] and the global downturn in political freedom.[15][16]

Academic career[edit]

Melia earned a BA from Johns Hopkins University in International Relations and an M.A. with a concentration in Africa Studies from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in 1979. While in graduate school, Melia worked as an intern at the National Security Council at The White House, on Africa issues, and during the summer of 1978 at the U.S. embassy in Nouakchott, Mauritania.

Bibliography[edit]

Select Recent Publications, Remarks, and Research[edit]

  • Interview with Deputy Assistant Secretary Melia with Magyar Nemzet Newspaper: "Hungarian Democracy is an American Interest," 5 June 2012.
  • Remarks, Thomas O. Melia, Deputy Assistant Secretary, “2012: A Decision Year for Ukraine,” US Embassy, Kyiv, 16 March 2012
  • Testimony of Thomas O. Melia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee “U.S. Policy on Supporting Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Russia” 14 December 2011
  • Testimony of Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas O. Melia, House Foreign Affairs Europe and Eurasia Subcommittee, “Eastern Europe: The State of Democracy and Freedom,” 26 July 2011
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary Remarks in Minsk, Belarus, on 24 January 2011 as covered by the Telegraf.
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary Remarks at the OSCE Session on Fundamental Freedoms, Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State, available here.
  • Testimony of Thomas O. Melia, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Before the Subcommittee on European Affairs, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, "Crackdown in Belarus: Responding to the Lukashenka Regime," 27 January 2010.
  • Melia, Thomas O. “Supporting Democracy Abroad: Transatlantic Cooperation at the Crossroads,” in Shoulder to Shoulder: Forging a Strategic US EU Partnership, Edited by Hamilton, Daniel S. (The Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins Center for Transatlantic Relations, 2010) 293 – 303.
  • Melia, Thomas O. “Back to the Future of Human Rights: Mobilize the democratic faction” Remarks Prepared for Delivery at a Symposium organized by the Democracy and Governance Program, Georgetown University. “Globalizing Autocracy, US Foreign Policy and Democracy Assistance,” National Press Club, Washington, D.C., 10 December 2008.
  • Melia, Thomas O. “The Democracy Bureaucracy: The Infrastructure of the American Democracy Promotion” A discussion paper prepared for the Princeton Project on National Security Working Group on Global Institutions and Foreign Policy Infrastructure, 2006.
  • Melia, Thomas O. (Winter/Spring 2003) “What Muslims Want: In Afghanistan, and Elsewhere—Democracy,” Georgetown Journal of International Affairs IV (1): 155-162.
  • Melia, Thomas O. Congressional Staff Attitudes Toward the Department of State and Foreign Service Officers. A report based on 25 One-on-One Interviews With Key Congressional Staff. Prepared for the Una Chapman Cox Foundation, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University, October 2002.

Book reviews[edit]

  • Melia, Thomas O. “What Makes Legislatures Strong?” Review of The Handbook of National Legislatures: A Global Survey by M. Steven Fish and Matthew Kroenig, and Legislative Power in Emerging African Democracies edited by Joel D. Barkan. Journal of Democracy, April 2010, Volume 21, Number 2.
  • Melia, Thomas O. "Ousting the "Final 45" Review of Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World's Dictators by 2025 By Mark Palmer (Rowman & Littlefield 2003) Journal of Democracy, 15.2 (2004): 170-173.
  • Melia, Thomas O. "Serious Thinking About Democratization." A Review of Democratic Institution Performance; Research and Policty Perspectives Edward R. McMahon and Thomas A.P. Sinclair, editors, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, 5.1 (2004): 131-137.
  • Melia, Thomas O. "Measuring Democratic Commitment." A Review of Defending Democracy: A Global Survey of Foreign Policy Trends 1992-2002. By Robert G. Herman and Theodore J. Piccone, eds. Democracy Coalition Project, 2002. Journal of Democracy 14.3 (2003): 171-174.

Opinions[edit]

  • Middle Eastern Freedom Lags as Washington Turns Away” Daily Star (Beirut), 8 February 2007[17]
  • (Co-Authored with Jennifer Windsor) ""U.S. Must Continue to do the right thing"." Daily Star (Beirut), 9 July 2004[18]
  • (Co-Authored with Jennifer Windsor) “A Democrat Against Democracy?” Daily Mail 10 June 2004.[19]
  • (Co-Authored with Brian Katulis) "To Win Over Iraqis." Washington Post 10 August 2003[20]

Awards and Board Affiliations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/04/AR2010070403849.html
  2. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/08/world/europe/08prexy.html
  3. ^ Melia, Thomas O. “Supporting Democracy Abroad: Transatlantic Cooperation at the Crossroads,” in Shoulder to Shoulder: Forging a Strategic US EU Partnership, Edited by Hamilton, Daniel S. (The Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins Center for Transatlantic Relations, 2010) 293 – 303.
  4. ^ Melia, Thomas O. “What Makes Legislatures Strong?” Review of The Handbook of National Legislatures: A Global Survey by M. Steven Fish and Matthew Kroenig, and Legislative Power in Emerging African Democracies edited by Joel D. Barkan. Journal of Democracy, April 2010, Volume 21, Number 2.
  5. ^ Melia, Thomas (26 July 2007) Testimony Prepared for Delivery to the Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Democracy and Human Rights U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations at a hearing on “The UN Human Rights Council: Shortcomings and Prospects for Reform.” http://www.freedomhouse.org/uploads/press_release/UN_melia_test_26jul07.pdf
  6. ^ On 29 April 2008 Freedom House Deputy Executive Director Thomas O'Melia, Nations in Transit Editor Jeannette Goehring, and Freedom House Europe Deputy Director Balint Molnar presented Freedom House's findings to the joint session of the Human Rights and European Affairs Committees of the Hungarian Parliament. http://www.freedomhouse.hu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=137&Itemid=110
  7. ^ Supporting Human Rights Defenders: A Guide to Conducting Assessment Missions 26 March 2010 http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=137
  8. ^ Melia, Thomas O. Congressional Staff Attitudes Toward the Department of State and Foreign Service Officers. A report based on 25 One-on-One Interviews With Key Congressional Staff. Prepared for the Una Chapman Cox Foundation, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University, October 2002.
  9. ^ Melia, Thomas O. (Winter/Spring 2003) “What Muslims Want: In Afghanistan, and Elsewhere—Democracy,” Georgetown Journal of International Affairs IV (1): 155-162.
  10. ^ Hyatt, Fred. Around the world, freedom is in peril, Washington Post, 5 July 2010. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/04/AR2010070403849.html
  11. ^ Bjornlund, Eric. Beyond Free and Fair; monitoring elections and building democracy, Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, and Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.
  12. ^ Melia, Thomas O. “The Democracy Bureaucracy: The Infrastructure of the American Democracy Promotion” A discussion paper prepared for the Princeton Project on National Security Working Group on Global Institutions and Foreign Policy Infrastructure, 2006.
  13. ^ Kole, William J., Associated Press, Karadzic’s capture signals big shift for Serbia 23 July 2008 http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Karadzic%27s+capture+signals+big+shift+for+Serbia-a01611703341
  14. ^ Baker, Peter “Obama Resets Ties to Russia, but Work Remains” New York Times, 8 July 2009; http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/08/world/europe/08prexy.html
  15. ^ Kurlantzick, Joshua. A Nobel winner who went wrong on rights Sunday, 13 December 2009 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/11/AR2009121102593.html
  16. ^ Fred Hyatt, Around the world, freedom is in peril, Washington Post, 5 July 2010 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/04/AR2010070403849.html
  17. ^ http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_ID=10&article_ID=79346&categ_id=5#axzz0trkAqgBC
  18. ^ http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_ID=10&article_ID=6040&categ_id=5#axzz0trjpBFlw
  19. ^ http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=72&release=207
  20. ^ http://ics.leeds.ac.uk/papers/vp01.cfm?outfit=pmt&requesttimeout=500&folder=1259&paper=1625