January 30, 2006 | Press Release

FDD Congratulates Staff Member Tanya Gilly on Election to Iraqi National Assembly

“Tanya has long believed that Iraq can be a free, democratic, pluralistic society,” said FDD President Clifford May.  “She has worked hard for that goal here at FDD for the past several years. Now she will have the opportunity to help shape Iraq's future from the inside.  We are proud to have worked with her in the past. We look forward to working with her in the future. This is not a farewell. It is a send-off and the beginning of a new chapter.”

“While we are sad to see her leave, we recognize that this is an historic opportunity for Tanya to serve her country and help guide it forward,” added Eleana Gordon, Senior Vice President of FDD.  “She has been an asset to FDD, and will be a passionate and effective defender of democracy in Iraq.”

Ms. Gilly, who served s as FDD's Director of Democracy programs, was a member of the  Kurdish Alliance list in the December 15, 2005 vote.  The election results were made official on Friday, January 20, 2006.  She will represent Kirkuk.

Tanya joined FDD in 2004 to help lead democracy training programs, organize and participate in conferences and events, and promote democratic values and women's issues.  Prior to her position with FDD, Ms. Gilly worked with the Iraqi opposition to Saddam's regime as a Special Assistant for Public Diplomacy and Congressional Affairs to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan's U.S. representative.  She was active member of the Women for a Free Iraq campaign, an effort by Iraqi-American women to educate the American public about Saddam Hussein's tyranny and brutality and to present the human rights case for intervention in Iraq.

Shortly after the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime, Tanya traveled to Iraq with FDD as a co-organizer of the Hilla Women's Conference (Oct. 4-7, 2003), which brought together women from across Iraq to learn about democracy.  In April of 2005, Ms. Gilly helped organize the Iraq Women's Leadership Conference which took place in Jordan .  The aim of the conference was to help Iraqi women activists build strong leadership skills.   Ms. Gilly was also an editor for the Iraq Democracy Papers, a series of collected writings on the principles and practice of democracy published in Iraq by the Iraq Democracy Information Center (www.iraqdemocracyinfo.org).   She returned to Iraq in October 2005 to advise Iraq's first national non-partisan issue-based campaign, the Pledge for Iraq (www.ahadaliraq.net), which enlisted more than 125 candidates for the National Assembly and political leaders in support of legislation to guarantee human rights, women's rights, and political freedoms.

A frequent commentator in American and international media, Tanya has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, FOX News Channel, BBC, Alhurra, Voice of America and numerous radio programs.