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 2017 Dean’s Coffee Talks

Claudia Escobar – Former Magistrate, Court of Appeals of Guatemala
November 28, 2017

Claudia Escobar

Dr. Claudia Escobar is a former magistrate of the Court of Appeals of Guatemala. Reelected in 2014 to a second term, she resigned due to executive and legislative interference in the judiciary and relocated to the United States owing to intimidation back home. Escobar, was born when the internal armed conflict started in Guatemala. The civil war lasted more than 36 years. Having grown up in a region mark by impunity, corruption and violence, she has dedicated her life to work for the respect of law and justice. She is also a respected legal scholar, who has taught at Guatemalan universities. In addition, she is founder of the Judiciary Institute and the Association for the Development of Democratic Institutionality and Comprehensive Development for Central America – Asociación FIDDI-, two organizations dedicated to promoting the rule of law in Guatemala. Dr. Escobar obtained her Phd at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, her law degree at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala and did college in Louisiana State University. During 2015 – 2016 she was a fellow at Harvard University, becoming the first Central American to be awarded a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.


Kimberly Nelson (SFS’84) – Senior Vice President, External Relations; President, General Mills Foundation
November 16, 2017

Kim Nelson is senior vice president of External Relations, and president of the General Mills Foundation. She assumed her senior vice president role in September 2010, and leadership of the Foundation in June 2011. Nelson previously was president of the General Mills Snacks Unlimited division, where she was responsible for the profitable growth of some of America’s favorite snack brands, including Nature Valley granola bars, Betty Crocker fruit snacks and Chex Mix.  She has been a corporate officer of General Mills since 2000.  Her career spans leadership roles for brands including Hamburger Helper, Old El Paso, Cheerios, Wheaties, Yoplait, Nature Valley and Chex Mix.  Nelson is an active member of the General Mills community and was a founding member of both the Black Champions Network and the Women in Marketing Network. Those organizations focus on enhancing the experiences of African-Americans and women within General Mills.  Nelson is also a member of the Executive Leadership Council and the National Executive Women’s Network.


Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins – Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs, U.S. Department of State
November 9, 2017

Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins was nominated by President Barack Obama in April 2009 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in June 2009 as the Department of State’s Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation. Ambassador Jenkins promotes the coordination of Department of State Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) and U.S. government programs in chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological security (CBRN). She also works closely with international partners in coordinating global CBRN security programs and funding to help ensure a coordinated approach when governments implement these programs internationally. She is the U.S. Representative to the Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (Global Partnership) and Chaired the Global Partnership in 2012. She is the Department of State lead on the Nuclear Security Summit, and she coordinates the Department of State’s activities related to the four-year effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material. Ambassador Jenkins is also engaged in the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), a multi-sectoral initiative dedicated to reducing infectious disease threats around the world. She works closely on this initiative with domestic and international partners in the security (with a focus on biosecurity), animal and human health, development, and law enforcement sectors and leads U.S. government outreach to domestic and international non-governmental organizations. Ambassador Jenkins also works closely with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S chemical industry in strengthening global security and safety of chemical weapons precursors.


The Honorable Nasser S. Judeh (SFS’83, P’18) – Former Foreign Minister of Jordan
October 25, 2017

Nasser Judeh

Senator Nasser S. Judeh was appointed to the Senate of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on July 9th, 2017. He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2009 to 2017 as well as Deputy Prime Minister from 2015 to 2017. Upon leaving office on January 15th, 2017, Minister Judeh was the longest serving Foreign Minister in Jordan’s history. Nasser Judeh had previously held cabinet positions serving as Minister of Information (1998 to 1999), Minister of State for Media and Communications (2007 to 2009) and official spokesman for the government of Jordan (1998-1999, 2005 to 2007 and 2007-2009). During his time in office as Foreign Minister, Judeh helped promote Jordan’s bilateral relations with many countries and participated in numerous regional and international conferences. He presided over the United Nations Security Council several times during Jordan’s two year membership on the Council in 2015 and 2016 Jordan also held the presidency of the 143rd Arab League ministerial council for six months in 2015. Nasser Judeh worked, and continues to work tirelessly and passionately to address the key challenges facing the Middle East today and the world; the pursuit of peace between Palestinians and Israelis; finding a political solution in war-ravaged Syria and dealing with the danger and threat of radicalisation, extremism and global terrorism. In office, he advocated His Majesty King Abdullah’s vision of peace and dialogue on regional and international issues, and in explaining the true message of Islam as a religion of peace and acceptance. Earlier in his career, Judeh was the Director General of the Jordan Radio and Television Corporation (the national broadcaster) (1994–1998) and served in the Royal Hashemite Court (1985–1992), with His Majesty the late King Hussein’s, and Crown Prince Hassan. He established and directed the Jordan Information Bureau in London 1992-1994. On September 13, 2017 he was invited by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres to join the High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation comprising 18 “internationally-recognized personalities who will bring experience and skills, deep knowledge and extensive contacts to this extremely important task”. The new board will contribute to the new initiative proposed by the Secretary General in this regard. Judeh graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Nasser Judeh has four children;  Tariq and Zein el Sharaf (twins born in 1994), Ali (born in 1996) and Sukayna (born in 1998).


Ambassador Kristie Kenney – Career Ambassador, U.S. Department of State
October 25, 2017

Ambassador Kristie KenneyAmbassador Kristie Kenney is one of the nation’s most experienced diplomats and holds the State Department’s highest rank of Career Ambassador. Over her 30-year career, she has represented the United States abroad as Ambassador three times and served in senior positions at the State Department and the White House. She served as the 32nd Counselor of the State Department, the Department’s fifth ranking official position. In that capacity, she provided strategic guidance to the Secretary of State on foreign policy. She co-headed the State Department transition from the Obama Administration to the Trump Administration. On behalf of President Obama and Secretary Kerry, she led delegations to Latin America and Asia. She is a frequent public speaker on leadership and foreign policy with a special focus on women’s groups. She launched the State Department’s first-ever leadership podcast series.


Colin Kahl – Associate Professor, Security Studies Program
October 19, 2017

(Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Colin H. Kahl is an associate professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service. From October 2014 to January 2017, he was Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President. In that position, he served as a senior advisor to President Obama and Vice President Biden on all matters related to U.S. foreign policy and national security affairs, and represented the Office of the Vice President as a standing member of the National Security Council Deputies’ Committee. From February 2009 to December 2011, Prof. Kahl was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East at the Pentagon. In this capacity, he served as the senior policy advisor to the Secretary of Defense for Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, and six other countries in the Levant and Persian Gulf region. In 2007-2009 and 2012-2014, he was a Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a nonpartisan Washington, DC-based think tank. Current research projects include a book analyzing American grand strategy in the Middle East in the post-9/11 era. A second research project focuses on the challenges to nuclear strategic stability posed by technological developments in non-nuclear domains.


Dr. Joachim von Amsberg – Vice President for Policy and Strategy at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
October 11, 2017

Dr. Joachim von Amsberg is currently the Vice President for Policy and Strategy at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Previously he served as Vice President of Development Finance at the World Bank where he was responsible for the replenishment and stewardship of the International Development Association. As Vice President for Operations Policy and Country Services, Dr. von Amsberg oversaw the World Bank’s results agenda with its increased focus on achieving, measuring and communicating operational results and introduced the Program-for-Results lending product. During his 25 years at the World Bank he served as Country Director for Indonesia and the Philippines. He also managed the World Bank operational portfolios and analytical work programs. Dr. von Amsberg has authored a number of World Bank research reports and other publications.


Ambassador Peter Wittig – German Ambassador to the United States
September 26, 2017

Amb. Peter Wittig

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.



Nancy McEldowney – Director, Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) and Distinguished Professor of the Practice
September 7, 2017

Ambassador McEldowney began her position as Director of the MSFS program on July 1, 2017. She comes from a distinguished career in the U.S. Foreign Service, including her most recent role ass Director of FSI, where she led the foreign affairs training facility for the U.S. government. Ambassador McEldowney also served as Interim President and Senior Vice President of the National Defense University, the U.S. Department of Defense’s national security university. Ambassador McEldowney served President Clinton as Director of European Affairs on the White House National Security Council Staff. She also served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, where she led the U.S. government engagement with NATO, the European Union, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Ambassador McEldowney’s distinguished career as a foreign service officer included positions as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Bulgaria and as Chargé d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission in Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Spring 2017 Dean’s Coffee Talks 

Sarah McAvoy – Managing Director in Corporate Treasury at Bank of America
April 12, 2017
Sarah McAvoy is a Managing Director in Corporate Treasury at Bank of America responsible for global funding and for liability management, a role she assumed in 2012. Sarah joined Corporate Treasury in 2010 to oversee domestic funding and liability management for the company. Sarah joined Bank of America in 1993 as a Vice President in Commodity Derivatives. She was promoted to Managing Director, Head of Commodity Sales in 1998. In 2003, Sarah joined the company’s Corporate Investments group as a fixed income portfolio manager. From 2005 to 2008, she was Head of Equity and Credit Research for Corporate Investments and managed various fixed income and equity portfolios. From 2008 to 2010, Sarah was responsible for managing all non-mortgage portfolios for the group. Before joining the bank, Sarah was a Vice President with J.P. Morgan & Company in New York from 1988 to 1993 in the Corporate Finance and Derivatives units. Sarah graduated summa cum laude with a BSFS from the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University where she majored in International Finance and was a Landegger Scholar.


Dexter Goei (SFS’93) – Chairman and CEO of Altice USA and President of the Board of Altice NV
April 4, 2017
Dexter Goei is the Chairman and CEO of Altice USA and President of the Board of Altice NV. Altice USA is now the fourth-largest operator in the United States, having acquired Cablevision (the largest cable provider in the Northeast) for $17.7B  in 2016. It had previously acquired Suddenlink (St. Louis-based provider that covers much of the middle of the US) for $9.1B. As a result of these acquisitions, Altice USA has operations in 20 states, including Cablevision’s stronghold on the lucrative Long Island market, putting it behind Comcast, Charter Communications (which just acquired Time Warner Cable) and Atlanta-based Cox Communications. Dexter runs these businesses, as well as future acquisitions in the market.


Samantha Vinograd – Director of Public Policy at Stripe
March 24, 2017
Samantha Vinograd is a seasoned public policy and strategic communications professional. She began her career in Baghdad working for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and subsequently served on President Obama’s National Security Council as the Director for Iraq, Director for International Economics, and Senior Advisor to the National Security Advisor.  She joined Goldman Sachs in 2013 where her work focused on building public – private sector partnerships across a broad range of policy and business issues. She recently began a new role leading Global Public Policy at Stripe. Samantha received her B.A. in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University


Anastasia Norton – Intelligence Analyst
February 21, 2017
Anastasia Norton has spent most of her career in government service. Her 15 years of government service spans counterterrorism, community development, socio-cultural analysis, and strategic communications efforts. Anastasia is currently an intelligence analyst and has spent the last 10 years working CT issues. She also served as the first intelligence community liaison to the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, an interagency center headquartered at the US State Department and tasked with countering terrorism using strategic communications tools. She also worked as an analyst at FBIs Washington Field Office for two years. Prior to her work in DC, she was a peace Corps volunteer I Suriname, South America.  Anastasia is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University where she teaches a course on terrorist propaganda and government response.


Kaya Henderson (SFS’92) – Former Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools
February 1, 2017
Kaya Henderson served as the Chancellor of DC Public Schools from 2010-2016. Under her leadership the embattled district become the fastest improving urban school system in the country. Her tenure was marked by consecutive years of enrollment growth, the highest graduation rates in the history of the district, improvements in student satisfaction and teacher retention, increases in AP participation and pass rates, and the greatest growth of any urban district on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) over multiple years. A native of Mt. Vernon, NY, Kaya Henderson is a graduate of Mt. Vernon Public Schools. Kaya received her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and her Master of Arts in Leadership, also from Georgetown, where she also served as an adjunct professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy. She is the honored recipient of two honorary doctorate degrees from Georgetown University and Trinity Washington University.


Luke Murry – Staff Director of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee for the House Foreign Affairs Committee

January 27, 2017
Luke Murry serves as the Staff Director of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee for the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He previously worked for Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) and Congressman Ander Crenshaw (FL-04), where he focused on reforming foreign assistance, protecting sexual assault victims, and increasing access to water, sanitation, and hygiene programs. He holds a M.A. degree with honors in Security Studies from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA with a B.A. degree in Political Science and minor in East Asian Languages and Cultures.


Jamie Geller – Professional Staff Member and Deputy Communications Director for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
January 27, 2017
Jamie Geller is a Professional Staff Member and Deputy Communications Director for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs under Ranking Member Eliot L. Engel.  In this role, Jamie works on global anti-Semitism, Jewish affairs, national security and communications for the Committee. Prior to Capitol Hill, Jamie worked for Dr. Daniel Byman as his research assistant, focusing on terrorism and insurgency worldwide. Jamie also built and ran Dr. Byman’s first-generation Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on terrorism and counterterrorism through edX. She previously worked as the Associate Editor-Middle East at the Georgetown Security Studies Review, as well as in other various capacities at Omnis, Inc., Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy, the Investigative Project on Terrorism, the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, and the Jerusalem Post. She received an M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University, and a B.A. in International Studies and a minor in Middle East studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Susan Hennessey – Fellow in National Security in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and Managing Editor of Lawfare blog
January 23, 2017
Susan Hennessey is a graduate from Harvard Law School who works as a Fellow in National Security in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. She is also a managing editor of the Lawfare blog and focuses on national security issues surrounding cybersecurity, surveillance, federal terrorism prosecutions, and congressional oversight of the intelligence community. Prior to working at Brookings, Susan worked as an attorney for NSA.


 Fall 2016 Dean’s Coffee Talks 

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis (SFS’76) -Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba
December 5, 2016
Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service. Prior to taking up the position of Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Havana in August 2014, Ambassador DeLaurentis served for three years as the Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Prior to that posting, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. He is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and Columbia University Graduate School of International and Public Affairs. He is married to Jennifer Lee DeLaurentis, who holds a senior position in the United Nations Secretariat.


Alexis Early – Associate at Steptoe and Johnson
November 11, 2016
Alexis Early is an associate for Steptoe and Johnson where she is a member of the International Relations and Compliance Group. Prior to joining Steptoe, Alexis advised corporations and foreign sovereigns on international trade, defense cooperation, and rule of law issues, and advocated on their behalf before Congress.


Lauren Gaffney – Assistant General Counsel for TerraForm Power
November 11, 2016
Lauren Gaffney works as an assistant general counsel for TerraForm Power. Before working at TerraPower, Lauren was an associate for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom. She earned her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law center where her focus was International Law.


Ludmilla Savelieff – Associate at Squire Patton Boggs
November 11, 2016
Ludmilla Savelieff is an associate at Squire Patton Boggs. She graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 2013 where she was the winner of the Dean’s Certificate and served as Symposium Director for the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy. Prior to law school, Ludmilla was the Special Assistant to the Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.


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.