Name: James Chizungu
External links: Website
Candidate: International Treasurer
Member since: 2015
Country/Countries: UK (2015-2017) / Mexico (2017-2019)/ Belgium (2019-2020) /Denmark (2020-present)
Originally born in Kinshasa, Congo (Zaire), my family eventually settled in the Washington, D.C. area: the US’s most ethnically and nationally diverse city. This experience helped fuel my never-ending desire to learn about various cultures/languages/people and continues to impact my general decision making.
Describe your volunteer work with DA and cite your greatest DA accomplishment.
I have been an active member of DA since 2015 when I moved to the UK to start my Masters. Looking for an effective way to continue to support progressive candidates, I attended my first meet up with Bernie Sander’s brother in attendance and have since gone on to be an active member in Mexico, Belgium and Denmark. I would have to say that my proudest DA achievement is one that is ongoing: spending the last year working towards building up the Black Caucus here in Denmark. Within a relatively short timeframe, we’ve been able to start up Denmark’s first caucus group and build a loyal following. Our vibrant, dynamic and efficient approach to programming during corona seems to have inspired a few others because, since our establishment, Denmark now has a Youth caucus and plans are laid for the start of both a Women’s and an AAPI caucus.
Why are you running for this office?
I have a strong need to see the things I care about run effectively and efficiently, and this drive is what originally propelled me into politics in the first place. I was first brought into the fold in 2006 as a high schooler volunteering on Doug Gansler’s campaign for Maryland Attorney General. This sparked an interest that resulted in me spending the first semester of my high school senior year interning in the Office of Maryland State Delegate Herman L. Taylor, Jr and the second semester as a Senate Page for the Maryland General Assembly. I was an active member of College Democrats and went on many multi-state campaigning trips. In the Fall of 2014, I was selected for a White House Internship in the Office of Presidential Correspondence. Throughout all of these experiences, I have supplemented my general contributions by serving in additional leadership roles (most recently as Co-Lead for the White House LGBT Intern Policy Interest Working Group and as part of the group of individuals working to set up a dynamic and engaging DA Black Caucus in the Nordics). I now wish to elevate my contribution to the work we do DA through this International Treasurer role.
How will your skill sets and experience contribute to DA's success?
My current role in Denmark as an Assistant Financial Controller is very similar to that of the DA International Treasurer in that I support the preparation of our global headquarters’ quarterly and annual reports, reconcile a monthly average of 10 million EUR in intercompany transactions + 100 million EUR in internal trade, and compile transfer pricing documentation (international tax) for 20 legal entities in APAC, EMEA & NA. Additionally, in a previous role as an International Tax Consultant in Mexico where I calculated and filed Mexican monthly and annual tax returns for senior executives of multinational corporations operating in Mexico (as well as inflation adjustments and tax equalization of foreign sourced investment income).
Are there any DA organizational or practical issues (not political goals) that you would like to address should you be elected?
One issue I’ve noticed is that, often times, accumulated DA funds simply sit in the various bank accounts. I would like to find ways to make sure that Democrats Abroad is either effectively utilizing its resources to further its goals or finding ways to make it grow (both at the same time would be even more preferable).
How can Democrats Abroad best raise our profile among American voters abroad and better work to elect Democrats?
One idea that I recently heard, and need to give credit to someone else for (Chesney McKinley Severance, DA Denmark’s newly elected chairwoman), relates to the old “Phone-a-Swede” system where those who called the number were connected a random pre-screened Swede that was willing to answer any questions they had about living in Sweden. Given the prevalence of the Danish social security system in contemporary American politics, the proposal would be to set up a similar “Phone-an American-living-in-Denmark” where callers could get first-hand experience that compares what it’s like to actually live under the two often juxtaposed governmental systems. If deemed a success, this could easily be scaled up, and back down, to other countries depending on demand and the current hot-topic issues at hand.
Endorsement from Rochelle Golliday
Legislative Aide for State Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh (Nebraska State Legislature)
April 6, 2021
To Whom It May Concern:
It is with much enthusiasm that I am writing this personal recommendation for my former colleague and friend James Chizungu to be considered for International Treasurer of Democrats Abroad.
I had the pleasure of working with James during our time serving as interns at The White House under President Obama in 2014. Shaped by his nomadic background, James is one of the most adaptable, conscientious and dependable people I know and it is these soft skills that cultivated a life friendship. Aside from James’ character, by virtue of his professional accomplishments
James possesses the lateral thinking needed to analyze scenarios and draw suitable conclusions along with the ability to effectively communicate them.
James is the type of person you can count on to keep a level head in a stressful situation and his positive attitude is contagious. He is organized, responsible, has a meticulous work ethic and presents himself in a professional manner.
For these reasons, I recommend James for the International Treasurer of Democrats Abroad and believe he would be a valuable asset to any organization fortunate enough to have him on their team.
Endorsement from Pauline Manos, Former Chair of Democrats Abroad Belgium
Endorsement from Carolina Maia de Biagio, Senior Manager, Financial Controlling at SimCorp
To whom it may concern:
I am writing this reference at the request of James Coleman Chizungu, who is running
for the position of International Treasurer for Democrats Abroad. James has reported to
me for one year at SimCorp supporting the financial controlling function.
James is very motivated, shows a lot of initiative and is a fast learner. In addition, he
works well independently and is a very good team member.
In conclusion, I would recommend James. If his performance at SimCorp is any
indication of how he would perform in the available position, James will be a positive
addition to your organization. If you need any additional information, feel free to contact
me at [email protected] at anytime.
Carolina Maia de Biagio
Senior Manager, Financial Controlling
Group Accounting and Fin. Reporting