headshot
Ilir Zherka
Executive Director of the Alliance for International Exchange

Ilir Zherka joined the Alliance for International Exchange as Executive Director in early 2016. Ilir is a life-long human and civil rights leader. He has served as the Executive Director of three other organizations, where he worked on a bipartisan basis to help end ethnic cleansing in Kosova, advance DC representation in Congress, and increase civic engagement. Ilir gained policy and political experience working on Capitol Hill, serving as an advisor to four presidential campaigns, and as an appointee in the Executive Branch. Ilir is the author of Winning the Inside Game: the Handbook of Advocacy Strategies. He has testified before Congress and has appeared on a wide-range of television and radio news programs. As a recognized community leader, Ilir has received numerous awards including the Whitney M. Young Jr. Leadership Award and the John F. Kennedy Public Service Award. Ilir has personal experience with exchange programs. He was an IREX fellow in Albania and helped to create the Hope Fellowship program. Ilir is a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Virginia School of Law.