Leonard Benardo serves as a vice president of the Open Society Foundations. He was formerly regional director for Eurasia and director of the Open Society Fellowship. He began his work with the Open Society Foundations at the Soros Foundation Moscow, before going on to oversee the Russia Program’s full range of grant-making activities, as well as those in the Baltics, Poland, and Hungary. He was the founding director of the Open Society Fellowship program, which expanded in 2016 to include four initiatives focused on individuals’ potential to advance open society. Benardo sits on the boards of Central European University, Hungary, the American University of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, and the European Humanities University, Lithuania.
Benardo holds a BA in history from the University of Michigan and a graduate degree in political science from Columbia University. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, the International Herald Tribune, and Bookforum. He is the co-author of Brooklyn by Name: How the Neighborhoods, Streets, Parks, Bridges, and More Got Their Names, and Citizen-in-Chief: The Second Lives of the American Presidents.