Dean's Coffee Talks

Spring 2018 Dean’s Coffee Talks

Ambassador Dr. Hamdullah Mohib
April 17, 2018
Dr. Hamdullah Mohib has served as Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States since September 2015. He also serves as non-resident Ambassador to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, and Columbia. During his tenure, Ambassador Mohib has focused on redefining Afghanistan’s narrative in the United States to reflect the new realities of the country as a young democracy moving steadily on a path to prosperity and peace as a result of the social change and institutional development that has taken place over the past 16 years.

As Ambassador, he has focused on highlighting the critical yet under-credited role of cultural and peace initiatives, women, and youth in re-creating Afghanistan. To this end, his priorities have included engaging with the Afghan diaspora across the United States; elevating the efforts of Afghan women toward social, political, and economic development; engaging with active US military and veterans who have served in Afghanistan; and implementing a comprehensive cultural and public diplomacy initiative within US schools, universities, and local organizations.


Ellen Goldstein
April 16, 2018
Ellen Goldstein is the World Bank’s Country Director for Myanmar, Cambodia and Lao PDR, based at the World Bank Office in Yangon, Myanmar. Prior to this position, she was  the World Bank’s Country Director for the Western Balkans, which includes Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, based in the World Bank Office in Vienna, Austria. Other previous roles included World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Nepal, in which she led the policy dialogue with government and stakeholders, and collaborated with development partners to promote greater aid effectiveness. In these two countries she managed a portfolio of more than 50 operations totaling nearly US$ 6 billion in soft IDA Credits.

Goldstein joined the World Bank in 1985 as a macroeconomist. Through her career she has worked in West and Southern Africa, South Asia, and Central Europe as a macroeconomist, human development specialist, and as Country Manager in both Burkina Faso and FYR Macedonia. She also was the founding manager of the World Bank’s Results Secretariat.

Prior to becoming the Country Director for Bangladesh and Nepal, Goldstein spent three years on special assignment at the African Development Bank in Tunisia, where she established and led the Quality Assurance and Results Department.

Goldstein earned Master’s degrees in public health from the John Hopkins University and in public affairs from Princeton University.


Mark Landler (SFS’87)
April 10, 2018

Mark Landler is a White House correspondent at The New York Times. In 24 years at The Times, he has been diplomatic correspondent, bureau chief in Hong Kong and Frankfurt, European economic correspondent, and a business reporter in New York. He is the author of “Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the Twilight Struggle over American Power” (Random House).


Ben RowswellBen Rowswell (SFS’93)
April 6, 2018

Ben Rowswell, a pioneer in the practice of digital diplomacy, served until recently as Canada’s Ambassador to Venezuela (2014-17). Currently on leave from Global Affairs Canada, he is exploring the future of citizen diplomacy through Perennial Software, a tech startup venture he recently established with Farhaan Ladhani to build phone apps for citizen engagement and change. He also founded Cloud to Street, to connect democracy activists with Silicon Valley technologists.

At Global Affairs Canada he was director of innovation and director of Iran/Iraq/Arabian Peninsula from 2012-13. A veteran of ‘hotspot diplomacy’, he was part of the United Nations operation in Somalia in 1993, and also served in Egypt (1996-8), as chargé d’affaires in Iraq (2003-5), in Afghanistan (2008-10) as deputy head of mission in Kabul, and as Canadian representative in Kandahar.

He is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service (1989-93), holds a Masters of Phil International Relations from Oxford (1998-2000), and spent a sabbatical at Stanford University from 2010-11 as a visiting scholar in liberation technology at the Center for Democracy Development and the Rule of Law.


Ambassador Richard VermaAmbassador Richard Verma (L’98)
April 5, 2018
Richard Verma is Vice Chairman and Partner at The Asia Group and co-chairs the Center for American Progress’ U.S.-India Task Force. He previously served as the U.S. Ambassador to India (2014-2017), where he led one of the largest U.S. diplomatic missions and championed historic progress in bilateral cooperation on defense, trade, and clean energy. Ambassador Verma also oversaw an unprecedented nine meetings between President Obama and Prime Minister Modi – leading to over 100 new initiatives and more than 40 government-to-government dialogues. Ambassador Verma was previously the Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs and served for many years as the Senior National Security Advisor to the Senate Majority Leader. He was a member of the WMD and Terrorism Commission and a co-author of their landmark report, “World at Risk.” He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and his military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal. Ambassador Verma is the recipient of the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award, the Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship, and was ranked by India Abroad as one of the 50 most influential Indian Americans. He holds degrees from the Georgetown University Law Center (LLM), American University’s Washington College of Law (JD), and Lehigh University (BS).


Benjamin WittesBenjamin Wittes
April 4, 2018
Benjamin Wittes is a senior fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution. He co-founded and is the editor-in-chief of the Lawfare blog, which is devoted to sober and serious discussion of “Hard National Security Choices,” and is a member of the Hoover Institution’s Task Force on National Security and Law. He is the author of Detention and Denial: The Case for Candor After Guantanamo, published in November 2011, co-editor of Constitution 3.0: Freedom and Technological Change, published in December 2011, and editor of Campaign 2012: Twelve Independent Ideas for Improving American Public Policy (Brookings Institution Press, May 2012). He is also writing a book on data and technology proliferation and their implications for security. He is the author of Law and the Long War: The Future of Justice in the Age of Terror, published in June 2008 by The Penguin Press, and the editor of the 2009 Brookings book, Legislating the War on Terror: An Agenda for Reform.
His previous books include Starr: A Reassessment, published in 2002 by Yale University Press, and Confirmation Wars: Preserving Independent Courts in Angry Times, published in 2006 by Rowman & Littlefield and the Hoover Institution.
Between 1997 and 2006, he served as an editorial writer for The Washington Post specializing in legal affairs. Before joining the editorial page staff of The Washington Post, Wittes covered the Justice Department and federal regulatory agencies as a reporter and news editor at Legal Times. His writing has also appeared in a wide range of journals and magazines including The Atlantic, Slate, The New Republic, The Wilson Quarterly, The Weekly Standard,Policy Review, and First Things.
Benjamin Wittes was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He graduated from Oberlin College in 1990, and he has a black belt in taekwondo.


Anne RichardsAnne C. Richard
 Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration in the Obama Administration

March 26, 2018
Anne Richard served as the Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration in the Obama Administration (2012-2017). Previously, she was Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy for the International Rescue Committee. In addition to the State Department, she served at Peace Corps Headquarters and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget earlier in her career. She has enjoyed fellowships from the Council on Foreign Relations and the Robert Bosch Stiftung. Ms. Richard is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and has a Master’s degree in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago. Since leaving office in January, 2017, she has taught at Georgetown University and been a visiting fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House.


Ambassador Dana Smith
Former U.S. Ambassador to Qatar

February 21, 2018
Ambassador Dana Smith is a former American diplomat and career foreign service officer who served as U.S. Ambassador to Qatar from July 2014 to June 2017. Smith joined the State Department at age 21, right after graduating from University of California San Diego with a degree in political science and Middle East studies in 1992. She served in numerous diplomatic roles at U.S. embassies in Cairo, Tel Aviv, Amman and Dubai.
Smith also held positions in Washington, D.C., including Senior Adviser to the Director General of the Foreign Service and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs in the Bureau of Public Affairs. While serving in the latter role, she established an office of international social media engagement, pioneering the State Department’s use of Twitter in Arabic. On July 2014, the Senate confirmed her as U.S. Ambassador to Qatar, the last role she held served in until her retirement on June 2017.


Shéhérazade Semsar-de Boisséson (SFS’89, MSFS’90)
Managing Director at Politico Europe

February 14, 2018

Shéhérazade Semsar-de Boisséson is managing director of POLITICO’s European operation, a joint venture between POLITICO and Axel Springer. Shéhérazade was previously owner and publisher of European Voice, the leading media in Brussels covering EU policy, which she acquired from the Economist Group in 2013. In December 2014, POLITICO and Axel Springer jointly acquired European Voice and Paris-based Development Institute International (Dii), France’s leading event promoter in the public affairs space, a business Shéhérazade co-founded in 1993.

A native of Tehran, Iran and a French national, Shéhérazade graduated from the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University in 1990 with a B.A. and a M.S. in International Finance. Shéhérazade serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Georgetown University, Washington D.C. She also serves on the Advisory Board of Georgetown’s Master of Science in Foreign Service. In addition, Shéhérazade serves on the Board of Directors of the French-American Foundation. From 2008 to 2010, Shéhérazade served on the Board of Directors of Femmes Forums, a leading women’s club in Paris, France. She represents Dii at two French think tanks: the Institut Français des Relations Internationales and Institut Montaigne.


Tim Hughes (SFS’94)
Senior Vice President and General Counsel at SpaceX

February 9, 2018

As Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Tim Hughes leads SpaceX’s legal, regulatory, and government affairs efforts. Joining SpaceX in 2005 as its first in-house counsel, Hughes has defined the legal and government affairs functions from the ground up. Based in SpaceX’s Washington, D.C. office, his responsibilities span the company’s corporate, contracting, export control, insurance, litigation and launch licensing portfolios, as well as SpaceX’s federal and state government affairs agenda. Prior to joining SpaceX, Hughes served as Majority Counsel to the Committee on Science and Technology in the United States House of Representatives. In this capacity, he provided counsel to the Science Committee, with a particular focus on the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee.

Hughes was the principal attorney responsible for drafting and shepherding the passage of commercial human spaceflight legislation, H.R. 3752 and H.R. 5382, and the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004 (enacted into law as P.L. 108-492), which established the legal and regulatory framework for commercial human spaceflight in the United States. A graduate of William and Mary Law School and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Hughes previously worked as a senior associate with the Communications and Litigation groups of Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP, as well as the Office of the Chief Counsel for the United States Secret Service.


Dr. Mara Karlin
Associate Professor of the Practice of Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins-SAIS and Nonresident Senior Fellow for Security and Strategy at Brookings

January 31, 2018

Dr. Mara Karlin is Associate Professor of the Practice of Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins-SAIS, Associate Director of the school’s Strategic Studies Program, and nonresident senior fellow at Brookings. Karlin has served in national security roles for five U.S. Secretaries of Defense, advising on policies spanning strategic planning, defense budgeting, future wars and the evolving security environment, and regional affairs involving the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.

As Levant director, she formulated U.S. policy on Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel-Palestinian affairs. As South Asia country director, she formulated U.S. policy on India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh, focusing on terrorism, governability, security sector reform, and nonproliferation. Most recently, she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development. In that role, her office crafted strategies for navigating the future of international security as a means to guiding the development of a prepared, capable, and effective U.S. military.


Ambassador AraudAmbassador Gérard Araud
French Ambassador to the United States

January 25, 2018

Gérard Araud, 64, a career diplomat, was appointed Ambassador of France to the United States in September 2014. He previously held numerous positions within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, notably including that of Director for Strategic Affairs, Security and Disarmament (2000-2003), Ambassador of France to Israel (2003-2006), Director General for Political Affairs and Security (2006-2009), and, most recently, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations in New York (2009-2014).

Over the course of his career, Mr. Araud has developed specialized knowledge in two key areas: the Middle East and strategic & security issues. As regards the latter, he was the French negotiator on the Iranian nuclear issue from 2006 to 2009. In New York, at the Security Council, he notably contributed to the adoption of resolutions on Libya (#1970 and #1973), Côte d’Ivoire (#1975), the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and the Central African Republic, and participated in debates on the Syrian and Ukrainian crises.


Fall 2017 Dean’s Coffee Talks

Claudia EscobarClaudia Escobar
Former Magistrate, Court of Appeals of Guatemala

November 28, 2017

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.


Nasser JudehThe Honorable Nasser S. Judeh (SFS’83, P’18)
Former Foreign Minister of Jordan

October 25, 2017

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 KenneyAmbassador Kristie Kenney
Career Ambassador, U.S. Department of State

October 25, 2017

Ambassador 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

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.

Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy


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.


Amb. Peter WittigAmbassador Peter Wittig
German Ambassador to the United States

September 26, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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.


wpYcWELzMichael 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.