Erika Veberyte is senior advisor to the President of the International Republican Institute (IRI) specifically focusing on international and women’s organizations. She returned to IRI in February of 2010, after a successful career as Lithuania’s diplomat to the United States. From February 2010 to February 2014, Veberyte served as deputy director and from February 2014 to May 2015 as director of the Women’s Democracy Network (WDN). During the five years, the program has reached women in more than 90 countries around the world assisting them to increase their political participation, leadership and representation in public office. From July 2007 to February 2010, Veberyte served as political council at the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Washington, DC. As a diplomat, Veberyte’s major achievement was overseeing Lithuania’s successfully acquiring a Visa Waiver Agreement with the United States. In addition, Veberyte was responsible for reaching out to the United States’ Congress, developing relations between the members of Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania and the members of Congress and conducting outreach to Washington’s think tank community. Prior to her posting in Washington, Veberyte served in the office of the president of the Republic of Lithuania as diplomatic advisor. In the capacity, Veberyte advised the president on international relations, formulated and implemented Lithuania’s foreign policy strategy during the country’s first months in the European Union and NATO, and participated in the drafting of Lithuania’s revised foreign policy guidelines. While serving as chief foreign policy advisor to the Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania in 2001-2006, Veberyte directed all aspects of the speaker’s foreign policy including the formulation and implementation of a parliament-wide strategy; managed in-country meetings with numerous foreign leaders, heads of state and parliamentary delegations and oversaw foreign visits to more than 32 countries; coordinated foreign policy issues among parliament, the government and the president’s office; and administered the passage of European Union related legislation and referendums. Veberyte has also served at the World Bank in Washington DC, the U.S. Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania, and in IRI’s office in Vilnius, Lithuania. Born and raised in Kaunas, Lithuania, Veberyte has a master’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University, a master’s degree from Vilnius University in philology and has studied at Aalborg University (Denmark) and the University of Colorado. Veberyte believes in giving back to the society and institutions she has benefited from. She has served on 15 member Expert Review panel for Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights’ (ODIHR) Handbook on Promoting Women’s Participation in Political Parties. Veberyte also has served as part of the Community of Democracies (CD) Working Group on Women and Democracy. In 2014 and 2013 she was examiner for Georgetown University Master of Science in Foreign Service graduate students’ final exam. In addition, Veberyte served as an election observer for OSCE/ODIHR during Belarus’ parliamentary elections and constitutional referendum in 2004. Veberyte is recipient of a number of awards and honors including the Diplomatic Currier’s 2014 Top Global Women, Cross of Officer of the Order (2004), the Seimas’ Recognition Award for Meritorious Contributions to Lithuania’s Entry into NATO (2004), the Honorable Order of Merit from the government of Portugal (2003), the Order Of Leopold II from the Kingdom of Belgium (2006), and the Badge of Honor of the President of the Republic of Lithuania (2002).