Brian Mefford is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. He is a business and political consultant who is based in Kyiv, Ukraine. Named by the Kyiv Post as one of the twenty “Most Influential Expats in Ukraine,” Mefford has lived and worked in Eastern Europe continuously for more than fifteen years.
In the spring of 1999, Mefford joined the International Republican Institute (IRI) as a resident program officer in Kyiv, Ukraine. Mefford trained, advised, and consulted thousands of political activists and governmental officials in Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, Croatia, Serbia, and Macedonia on topics including political party development, grassroots organizing, membership recruitment, fundraising, communications, public relations, and public opinion research. He also conducted in-depth political assessments in numerous countries, including Iraq, Macedonia, and Bangladesh. Mefford served as the Ukraine country director and opened IRI’s Odessa, Ukraine, regional office in 2008.
In 2009, Mefford managed an international consulting team working for Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko. After Yushchenko’s term as president was completed, Mefford established the Committee for Open Democracy, a nonprofit organization that monitors international elections for their adherence to democratic norms. As a veteran international election monitor, Mefford has officially observed more than twenty-five foreign elections in seven countries, including Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Macedonia, Slovenia, Albania, and Mongolia. Mefford currently serves as the Executive Director of the organization.
Mefford also runs a successful business consulting firm that helps Western business gain entry into Eastern European markets as well as provides governmental relations services.
Born in Barstow, California, he is a graduate of Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Arkansas, with a BA in business administration. After university, Mefford worked in the banking and financial sector while building a political career. Mefford began his political work at the age of sixteen and won his first elective office as a city alderman at the age of eighteen. He won his second office the following year to serve as a school board member. In 1997, he was appointed by then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee as a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council for Gifted and Talented Education.