Dean's Coffee Talks

Join Dean Hellman and Dean Byman for a series of Dean’s Coffee Talks, where the Dean and a special guest will discuss their areas of expertise with a handful of SFS students. Dean’s Coffee Talks offers students the unique opportunity to learn about special guests’ career paths and current work in an intimate setting. Conversations will range across a variety of subjects including international business, development, economics, security, and additional subject areas.


 Fall 2016 Dean’s Coffee Talks 

prince-turki-al-faisalHis Royal Highness Prince Turki Al-Faisal – Former Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States
October 25, 2016 – 3-4 pm
His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al-Faisal, SFS’68, was appointed as an Adviser at the Royal Court in 1973. In 1977, HRH was appointed Director General (with a rank of Minister) of the General Intelligence Directorate (GID), Saudi Arabia’s main foreign intelligence service. HRH served as the head of the GID until August 2001. In October 2002, HRH was appointed as the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland where he served until his appointment in July 2005 as Ambassador to the United States. He retired in February 2007. His Royal Highness is a founder and trustee of the King Faisal Foundation as well as the Chairman of the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies.


wittes_tamara_2015Tamara Kofman Wittes – Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings
October 24, 2016
Tamara Cofman Wittes is a senior fellow and the director of the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. Wittes served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from November of 2009 to January 2012, coordinating U.S. policy on democracy and human rights in the Middle East for the State Department. Wittes also oversaw the Middle East Partnership Initiative and served as deputy special coordinator for Middle East transitions. She was central to organizing the U.S. government’s response to the Arab awakening.


ambwittigportraitjul14Ambassador Peter Wittig – German Ambassador to the United States
October 19, 2016  – 3-4 pm
Peter Wittig has served as German Ambassador to the United States since April 2014. Prior to this, he was German Ambassador to the United Nations in New York and represented Germany during its tenure as a member of the UN Security Council in 2011 and 2012. There, he drew on his wide expertise in United Nations matters, having previously served as Director-General for United Nations and Global Issues at the German Foreign Office in Berlin.


Jeffrey-GoldbergJeffrey Goldberg – National Correspondent for The Atlantic
November 1, 2016 – 1-2 pm
Jeffrey Goldberg is the national correspondent for The Atlantic. He who began his career in journalism as a police reporter for The Washington Post and later worked for The New Yorker as a Washington correspondent and Middle East correspondent. His reporting has taken him to Gaza, the West Bank, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan – where he spent a month living in a Taliban madrasa. At The Atlantic, Mr. Goldberg authored a series of in-depth reports on the people and forces shaping American foreign policy, including “The Obama Doctrine” (April 2016), a seminal article based on his interviews with the President.


amb-dobbinsAmbassador James Dobbins – Senior Fellow, Distinguished Chair in Diplomacy and Security
September 20, 2016
Ambassador James Dobbins is a senior fellow and Distinguished Chair in Diplomacy and Security at the RAND Corporation. From 2002 to 2013 he served as director of the RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center. He has held State Department and White House posts including Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Special Assistant to the President, Special Adviser to the President and Secretary of State for the Balkans, and Ambassador to the European Community. Dobbins has served on numerous crisis management and diplomatic troubleshooting assignments as special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti, and Somalia for the administrations of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. In 2013 he returned to the State Department to become the Obama administration’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, returning to RAND in 2014.


Spring 2016 Dean’s Coffee Talks

andrew-steer-wriphotoAndrew Steer – President of the World Resources Institute
April 7th, 2016 | 12:15 pm-1:15 pm
Dr. Andrew Steer is the President and CEO of the World Resources Institute, a global research organization that works in more than 50 countries, with offices in the United States, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and Europe. World Resources Institute’s 450 experts work closely with leaders to address six urgent global challenges at the intersection of economic development and the natural environment: food, forests, water, climate, energy and cities.


HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan – Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates
March 30th, 2016 | 3:00 pm-4:00 pm
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates and son of the founder of UAE, the First President, Emir of Abu Dhabi, Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. During his tenure as Minister of Foreign Affairs, the UAE has witnessed a rapid expansion of its diplomatic relations with countries in Latin America, the South Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia as well as a consolidation and strengthening of its relations with Western countries.



Michael Williams – Partner Kirkland & Ellis LLP

March 17th, 2016
Mike Williams (SFS’98, L’01) is a trial lawyer and appellate advocate in the Kirkland & Ellis’ Washington office. He has extensive experience leading trials and appeals on behalf of the firm’s clients in state and federal courts throughout the country. Mike received his Juris Doctor, summa cum laude and first in class, from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law & Economics. He received his Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.


shanta devarajanShanta Devarajan – Chief Economist for Middle East and Africa, The World Bank
March 3rd, 2016 
Shantayanan Devarajan is the Chief Economist of the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa Region. Since joining the World Bank in 1991, he has been a Principal Economist and Research Manager for Public Economics in the Development Research Group, and the Chief Economist of the Human Development Network, South Asia, and Africa Region. He was the director of the World Development Report 2004, Making Services Work for Poor People. Before 1991, he was on the faculty of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.


trae stephensTrae Stephens – Principal at Founders Fund
March 3rd, 2016
Trae Stephens (SFS ’06) is a Principal at Founders Fund, where he focuses on startups operating in the government space. Previously, Trae was an early employee at Palantir Technologies, where he led teams focused on growth in the intelligence/defense space as well as international expansion, helping large organizations solve their hardest data analysis problems. While at Palantir, Trae also served as an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University.