Maria Barsallo Lynch Named Executive Director of Defending Digital Democracy Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center

| Sep. 17, 2019

Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center has named Maria Barsallo Lynch Executive Director of the Center’s Defending Digital Democracy Project (D3P). Barsallo Lynch brings to D3P a background in the cross-section of politics, cybersecurity, and technology that will help grow the project’s work and impact in providing solutions and tools to keep democratic processes safe.  

The Defending Digital Democracy Project brings together a unique combination of bipartisan experts in the political, cyber, technology, and national security fields to identify and recommend strategies and tools to protect democratic processes and systems from cyber and information attacks. 

Barsallo Lynch is a former Deputy Finance Director for Colorado’s U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and was Director of Development at the Knowledge is Power Program for Colorado Schools. She served as a Legislative Fellow with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and, while a Master in Public Administration student at Harvard Kennedy School, conducted research on legislative efforts in data privacy and regulation of technology companies. 

“We are very pleased to have Maria join us as Executive Director of D3P and lead our efforts to help ensure the integrity of elections,” said Eric Rosenbach, Co-Director of the Belfer Center and former “cyber czar” for the Department of Defense. “This is a vitally important time for the U.S. and other democracies to build solid defenses against attacks on the electoral process. Maria has the expertise and experience to guide D3P in our efforts to help protect elections in 2020 and beyond,” Rosenbach said.  

“I am grateful to join such a talented and passionate team at the Belfer Center,” said Barsallo Lynch. “I’m humbled to be part of the D3P team in addressing pressing and evolving challenges to securing and protecting our electoral system, which is the bedrock of our most cherished democratic values. I look forward to leading D3P's continuing efforts to develop meaningful strategies and tools to safeguard democratic processes in the U.S. and around the world."  

Inspired by her family’s humble roots and her experiences as a Panamanian immigrant to the United States, Barsallo Lynch’s earlier work included founding DESDE, a social enterprise that seeks to empower marginalized Panamanian artisans by providing them tools to navigate market access, using technology to make connections and spur opportunities for economic mobility.

Barsallo Lynch holds a B.A. from The Colorado College and serves on its Alumni Association Committee. She is also an alumna of the International DO School Fellowship. She lives between Boston and Washington, D.C. with her husband, Dermot. 

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:Maria Barsallo Lynch Named Executive Director of Defending Digital Democracy Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center.” Announcement, , September 17, 2019.