The Permanent Secretariat of the Community of Democracies started operating in January 2009. It provides organizational and conceptual support to the Presidency of the Community of Democracies and the Convening Group. It initiates programmatic and intellectual efforts, and undertakes administrative, operational and technical tasks and maintains contacts with nongovernmental organizations and other partners. As per the Annex to the Bamako declaration the headquarters of the Secretariat are in Warsaw. A Secretary General, ambassador Maria Leissner, was elected in April 2012 and took office as head of the PSCD in July 2012, replacing earlier Executive Director professor Bronislaw Misztal who had lead the PSCD since its start in 2009.