Ms. Maria Leissner was elected Secretary General in April 2012, being the first Secretary General of the Community of Democracies. Prior to that, she led the Community's Working Group on Governance.
Ms. Leissner has been Member of Parliament in Sweden (1985 – 1991), where she served on the Foreign Affairs Committee and was party spokesperson for refuge and immigration issues. She chaired the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan and the Swedish women’s organisation ”Kvinnor Kan” (1991 – 1994). In 1995, she was elected leader of the Liberal Party, being the first woman leader of her party.
Joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2000), she was Ambassador to Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize and Costa Rica in (2000 - 2004). Later served as Director for NDI’s Governance program in Iraq (2004 – 2005), as Senior Adviser for Human Rights at AMM (EU/ASEAN peace monitoring mission) in Aceh, Indonesia (2005 – 2006), and in a large number of election monitoring and other short term democracy related missions with SIDA, The Scandinavian Institute for African Studies, NDI, and more. From 2006 she has served as Sweden’s Ambassador-at-large for democracy, and led a governmental delegation for Roma issues, including the production of a state investigation of the situation of the Roma minority in Sweden (2006 – 2010).
Ms. Leissner was chair of the board of the University College of Borås (2007 – 2010), and is currently chair of the advisory board of the Institute for Contemporary History at the University of Södertörn. She speaks Swedish, English, Spanish and French.
Contact Ms. Maria Leissner