David Holdridge has over 30 years of experience initiating and providing executive leadership in nongovernmental, humanitarian organizations in various countries in the Middle East, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and the United States.
From 2005 to 2009, he was Regional Director for Mercy Corps' Middle East programs, responsible for Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Syria. During those years, Holdridge and his team were among the few American civilians in Iraq to live outside the Green Zone. He managed hundreds of millions of dollars of development funds from various bilateral donors, including the US Agency for International Development, the US State Department, the European Union, the United Kingdom's DFID, and a range of foundations and private donors.
Prior to his term with Mercy Corps, Holdridge held a series of leadership positions with Catholic Relief Services and the Vietnam Veterans for America Foundation. Holdridge served in Vietnam in 1969 as a Platoon leader.
Since his return to the US in 2009, he has been a constant advocate before federal officials, business leaders, community groups and development practitioners on American engagement with Iraq and the greater Middle East, and has received particular renown for his first-hand knowledge of how foreign assistance has impacted local civilians.
As the former President of Bridging the Divide, he dedicated himself to the system-level reform of American foreign assistance, leading the development of a new model of "citizen-owned" foreign assistance that uses communications technology to cut wasteful spending, increase local ownership, and enhance public awareness of global issues.
He has been featured on national television news outlets and print publications for his work, most notably CNN, POLITICO, Charlie Rose, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Christian Science Monitor.
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