Luke Waggoner is the Director of Governance for DT Global based in the U.S. Luke brings more than fifteen years of experience in democracy and governance work both in the U.S. and abroad. His regional areas of focus have been primarily the Middle East and North Africa as well as Eastern Europe. Before joining DT Global, Luke was the Resident Program Director for a USAID political party and democratic governance strengthening project in Serbia. He has additional experience leading research initiatives and development projects focused on understanding and responding to vulnerabilities to violent extremism. Luke has also led work to curb forced migration in the Northern Triangle and address the influx of Syrian migrants in Jordan. With research and analysis published in the Washington Post, Journal of Democracy and elsewhere, Luke has worked to stabilize societies and support their sustainable growth through bolstering democratic governance and expanding access to rights and services for all members of society. Luke holds an MA in International Development from the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Development and a BA in Political Science from the University of Northern Colorado.
What’s your favorite place of all the places you’ve travelled?
Travelling to Damascus just before the Arab Spring and subsequent civil war was a truly awe-inspiring experience. The depth of history and richness of culture stoked in me a true love of the city and its people. Having met so many wonderful Syrians, I am all the more saddened by the years of tragic violence and injustice that continue to mar such a remarkable place.
What was the last really great book you read? Why?
I recently read And There Was Light, by Jon Meacham, which is one of the more recent biographies of Abraham Lincoln. This book was especially poignant not just because of the depth of insight into the fabled president’s life that only a biographer at Meacham’s caliber can elucidate. This book also provides an indirect warning about the dangers of intense polarization and warring identities that should sober the modern American reader. In telling of Lincoln’s imperfect mending of a broken country, I was struck by the importance of de-moralizing politics and returning to an age where ‘compromise’ is not a bad word.